Not only was St Paul not encumbered by the modern bifurcated mentality that followed Descartes, but his encounter with the Risen Christ further proved to him that the reality of the Incarnation changes everything.
The encounter that St Paul had with Christ changed him. He could no longer go back to life as it was before. More than this though, Paul’s experience of Christ was such that he could not shed the knowledge of the fact that He (Jesus) is the very ground of reality – the logos of love which is the very ground of being as such. This fact has implications that extend far beyond the modern propensity to compartmentalise ‘religion’ to the private sphere.
English cultural historian Christopher Dawson adequately pointed out that any attempt for Christians to live a life of faith in a secular age must first overcome a mindset that is enslaved to the materialism and nominalism of our day. In the introduction to a collection of his masterful essays, Enquiries into Religion and Culture, Dawson points out that:
“The desecularisation of modern civilisation is no easy matter; at first sight it may seem a hopeless task. But we can at least prepare the way for it by desecularising our intellectual outlook and opening our eyes to the existence of the spiritual forces that create and transform civilisation.”
– Christopher Dawson, Enquiries into Religion and Culture: The Works of Christopher Dawson. (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011), xxi-xxii.
In advocating the adoption of a desecularised intellect Dawson preempts the work of American theologian David L. Schindler, who advocaties that the intelligence not only be open to spiritual realities, but that the spiritual realities both of creation by the Triune God, and the Redemption affected by the Incarnate Second Person of the Trinity become foundational to any conception of reality per se.
This is what Schindler refers to as thinking with a ‘sanctified mind’.
This is the launching off point for my PhD thesis, which I am currently writing (at a snail’s pace) at the University of Notre Dame Australia under Prof. Tracey Rowland (UNDA) and Associate Prof. Michael Hanby (JPII, Washington, D.C.)
If you’re interested in this, and would like to contribute to my thinking here, or would simply like to get a glimpse at the project so far, please check out my thesis proposal, which I had accepted earlier this year. I hope to be able to engage some of that thinking here on this blog – not merely as a way of procrastinating, but hopefully as a way of thinking through some of these ideas.
Check out my proposal here