Monday, January 24, 2011
* Raymond P. Morris
Yale University Divinity School
The library of Professor Douglas Clyde Macintosh, was a specialized collection containing about 2,400 volumes, reflecting in a peculiar way, his professional interests and point of view. It was free of extraneous, minor, irrelevant material. Its subject foci were Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy and the philosophical implications of the Natural Sciences, from Kant to early 20th century philosophers.
Macintosh contended that religion not only is consonant with, but can be supported by Philosophy and the Natural Sciences. In this there was no uncertainty --- he was not a liberal relativist. He did not deny the contributions of historicism, of Bible and Biblical theology. He affirmed that the "Christian" view of God and goodness and immortality are true apart from historical or theological evidence, including the historical Jesus, or the Christ of faith. Consequently, his library contained relatively little classical Christian Theology, Scripture, Biblical theology, creeds, or Symbolism, Patrology, Scholasticism, the reformers ---Luther, Calvin or the latter divines.
His point of view posed the question: How do we know? The Problem of Knowledge and The Problem of Religious Knowledge constitute what many consider to be his most formidable efforts --- the validation of epistemological realism. It is possible to define Truth with a sufficient identity for practical purposes as to assure belief in a personal God, the Christian law of love and self-sacrifice, and immortality. His position also presented a persistent conflict between the tradition of the the "Enlightenment" and Pietism, a clue to his strong interest in the deputation evangelism. In effect, he held a mediating position between pure rationalism and subjective rationalism.
In retrospect, Macintosh's theology proved to be of a mediating nature. He spoke out of the end of an age which had already gone by. His theology stimulated, but it was not appropriated by his students and others. It was Macintosh the man --- what he was and stood for, his sincerity and convictions ---that attracted an impressive group of students who, in turn, proved so effective in the past generation.
Editor's note: Mr. James Dittes, Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University, has noted that D.C. Macintosh's library contains nearly 100 volumes on the subject of spiritualism and psychic research.