Negative Epistemology is a Spiritual Crisis
It's an error for the church to resist, not a tool for it to use.
In September, I wrote this:
“Negative epistemology” is a term I’ve begun using to describe what people’s habits of thinking and value-formation look like when they are informed primarily by cultural hatreds rather than positive convictions. I am convinced that this describes how a huge number of people on all sides of the aisle now operate.
Yesterday, I watched in real-time as person after person online expressed an opinion about Russia and Ukraine that was clearly and obviously informed primarily by the desire to take the opposite position of those they dislike and distrust. Journalists who never talk about the US-Russia relationship (but do talk about the evils of ‘Big Eva’) were suddenly very sensitive toward criticisms of Vladmir Putin. Why? Is it because they’re secretly foreign policy doves? Or could it be because they really dislike Russell Moore?
Some folks were helpfully transparent about the whole thing:
Let’s consider the possibility that this is not just a tongue-in-cheek troll, but actually a genuine expression of how a belief might be formed. In fact, like I said in the September post, I think there’s very good reason to believe that a strong and growing number of people rely on their ideological gag reflex in order to form beliefs quickly and efficiently in an impossibly fast news habitat. Let me explain how I think we got here, and then reflect on the challenges that negative epistemology presents from a spiritual formation angle.