Historical perspectives on Christianity and the future of our societies: philosophical considerations
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Organizing a conference on "Christianity and the Future of our Societies" jointly sponsored by "The Association of Reformational Philosophy" (ARP) and "The Evangelical Theological Faculty" (ETF - Leuven), certainly invites philosophical and theological concerns in relation to the theme of this conference regarding the future of our societies. Yet our analysis aims at contributing "to the deepening of philosophical insight in created reality" made "fruitful for academic studies and for society". The scope of this paper is largely directed at the difference between undifferentiated societies and differentiated societies because only from this perspective does it become meaningful to contemplate the future of our societies. Such an approach requires that our account of the past contemplates the structural conditions underlying both the past and the future of our societies. Embarking on this path will therefore call for an acknowledgement of the modal and structural (typical) principles guiding societal development in all its dimensions.2 It will be argued that these principles are ontic in nature and therefore should be distinguished from their misrepresentation in traditional theories of natural law as well as in the more recent uprooting effects of historicism and legal positivism. This argument, in turn, will have to give an account of the complex nature of (modal and typical) principles with a view to the connection between a principle and its application. A brief assessment will be given of the contribution of these insights for a deepened philosophical understanding of the encompassing nature of creation making possible modern differentiated human societies. Relating these considerations to the influence of Christianity on the differentiation of societies will underscore the importance of the creational principle of sphere-sovereignty for differentiated societies and their future.
- Faculty of Humanities