In Christianity, reductionism means to oversimplify the issues of life as a means of escaping or avoiding dealing with difficult or controversial issues, or even as a way of avoiding certain truths of Scripture of which a person knows would reveal their error or their sin. Reductionism is usually a means of self justification and also a denial of reality, a sweeping under the rug.

The danger of it is that the statements the reductionist makes are usually true. The problem is that they are used in a censorial way, to censure any viewpoint which may clash with theirs.

The realistic approach to the Bible is to know that God authored it and therefore every single truth presented there is there for a very good reason. Reductionism, therefore, challenges God’s wisdom by implying that God would have been wiser not to go into so much detail.

3 Responses to “Reductionism”

  1. milind Says:

    One of the example could be – God is so good that he will not look at small mistakes, since to err is human, it is not so important, so carry on, don’t worry…..It appears no need for repentance and leaving sinful life since sin has become so diluted and mild.
    One friend challenged me to prove that to receive forgiveness, repentance was necessary. People feel that just because Jesus said – “forgive them father for they know not what they are doing”, it is unconditional, i.e no repentance required.

  2. ian vincent Says:

    Good points brother.

    A true revelation of God’s grace always produces the fruit of repentance from sin in the same way that an apple tree bears apples.

    We are going to see more and more reductionism in the coming days, especially over the “gay marriage” issue.

  3. ian vincent Says:

    From an old post:

    If God was into Reduction-ism then the NT might have been only about fifty pages long. Reductionism is quite a subtle error. We all want to condense the truth into as few words as possible – we would rather speak with quality and power more than sheer volume of words – and most of us like people to get to the point and not waffle.

    But Reductionism is different because the motive behind it is wrong. As I’ve noted already, the NT has a lot to say on many things, but what happens if a Christian leader or teacher doesn’t like a lot of what is written there, or rather wants to avoid dealing with some of the hard issues there? That there are certain NT truths which would not help him get what he wants? How can he avoid those hard issues and yet still appear wise and knowledgeable and as a man of integrity? What he can do is go for Reductionism: he can condense and reduce the truth down to snappy one-liner statements which appear to encapsulate and summarize the NT, and he is using this as a technique to avoid dealing with certain truths which he refuses to come to terms with. He is oversimplifying the message in order to achieve an agenda which if believers got the whole counsel of God they would never follow. It means to over specialize in one truth concerning God and ignore the other truths.

    Reductionism always tends toward Abstractionism – toward abstract, generic and ambiguous terms which could mean anything and be interpreted many ways. When people are deliberately ambiguous it means they are hiding something and that is dishonest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: