‘Valid’ knowledge depends upon community?


If I said, “I disagree with Marxism,” and neither you (most readers of this blog) nor I have read much Marx, then you would not argue with me. Somehow, we know enough to disagree with Marxism.

If I said, “I disagree with Freudian thought,” and neither you nor I have read much Freud, then you would not argue with me. Somehow, we know enough to disagree with Freudian thought.

If I said I disagreed with some orthodox Christian thinker, writer, or preacher, you might be inclined to argue with me. Neither my experience nor my intuition would suffice. Merely emotional reactions — perhaps similar to our reactions against Marx or Freud — expressed against the orthodox Christian in question would be considered flimsy. You would want reasons.

Reasonable enough, but I don’t have time to read everything and work out all the reasons I need (actually, today, I’ll likely grade, not merely read, 40 student papers). When my experience, my intuition, or my emotions cause me to doubt someone within my community or some point of view widely accepted within my community, and yet I don’t have the time to prepare for a Firing Line debate on that someone or something, what can I do? Move to the edge of the community? Politely decline some activities? Walk away?

Not if the community is really community, marked by friendships and fellowship. The more that’s in doubt, the greater the test of true community. C.S. Lewis and one of his best friends, Owen Barfield, never agreed on some important matters, yet they carried on together. Meanwhile, today, some people cut-off others when fundamental disagreements surface.


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2 responses to “‘Valid’ knowledge depends upon community?

  1. Thank you! I feel better knowing someone has heard me on this post, which is an intellectualized frustration.

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