Lapin, Daniel. The Morality of the Marketplace [An audiotape.](Seattle, WA.: Cascadia Business Institute, 1996). A Jewish rabbi, president of Toward Tradition, and a talk-show host in Seattle, Lapin contends that science and technology were born and developed in precisely those countries which embraced the Judeo-Christian worldview, driven by the "incredible incentive" provided uniquely in Gen. 1:1- "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Similarly, Lapin argues that a healthy "ethical capitalism" was born and developed in the same countries, based upon the "faith" at the heart of the Judeo-Christian worldview: "Americans of faith generally raise their children with a sense of joy and wonderment at being alive, with a sense of thrill at God's benevolence in providing for our needs. People without faith raise their children to be filled with a sense of hopelessness, a sense of shortage, a sense of ultimate emptiness and doom."
Lasch, Christopher. The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (NY: W.W. Norton, 1978).
Lewis, C.S. The Abolition of Man (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1947);The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949); Mere Christianity (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1943,1945,1952); Christian Reflections ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967).
Lichter, S. Robert; Stanley Rothman; Linda S. Lichter. The Media Elite (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 1986); Watching America (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991). The Lichters direct the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a nonprofit media watchdog group in Washington, DC; Robert was formerly a research prof. in pol. Science at George Washington U. Rothman is a prof. of government at Smith College in Northampton, MA, where he directs the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change. Both of these studies reveal an overwhelming bias against religion in the media. In their first volume, The Media Elite, the authors report on their research of leading American newscasters: "A distinctive characteristic of the media elite is its secular outlook. Exactly half eschew any religious affiliation. Another 14% are Jewish, and almost one in four (23%) was raised in a Jewish household. Only one in five identify as Protestant, and one in eight as Catholic. Very few are regular churchgoers. Only 8% go to church or synagogue weekly, and 86% seldom or never attend religious services" (p. 22); "Most have moved away from any religious heritage…The dominant perspective of this group is…politically liberal and alienated from traditional norms and institutions" (p. 294); "They differ most from the general public, however, on the divisive social issues that have emerged since the 1960s—abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, et cetera" (p. 294).
In their second volume, Watching America, the authors report their study of leading television writers, producers, and executives: "By and large, they represent an urban and cosmopolitan sector of society…they are well educated, extraordinarily well paid, have adapted secular outlooks, and are politically very liberal…Television's creative leaders have moved toward a markedly secular orientation" (p. 13); "93% say they seldom or never attend religious services" (p. 14); "On issues such as abortion, homosexual rights, and extramarital sex, they overwhelmingly reject traditional restrictions" (p. 16); "scripts are increasingly likely to attack religious intolerance or corruption in the criminal justice system" (p. 291).
Lindbeck, George. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1989). A prof. of theology at Yale, Lindbeck's publication of this volume caused considerable interest and some offense, both among conservatives and liberals, either because he emphasized 'truth' too much, or too little. In The Nature of Doctrine Lindbeck articulates three theories of doctrine: (1) the cognitive-propositional, in which doctrine is equated with truth claims—associated with conservatism; (2) the experiential-expressive, in which doctrine is equated with "culturally conditioned…attitudes and feelings"—associated with liberalism; and (3) the cultural-linguistic, in which doctrine is equated with a community of faith and functions to regulate practice—which Lindbeck favors, and considers a mediating approach. Lindbeck asserts that: "the viability of a unified world of the future may well depend on counteracting the acids of modernity. It may depend on communal enclaves that socialize their members into highly particular outlooks supportive of concern for others rather than for individual rights and entitlements, and of a sense of responsibility for the wider society rather than for personal fulfillment… [and] at some point mak[ing] the claim that it [e.g. the church] is significantly true and unsurpassingly true" (p. 127; cited in Roof and McKinney, American Mainline Religion, p. 241).
Carl F.H. Henry has criticized Lindbeck for denying "revelatory truths" and for "rul[ing] out objective truth about religious reality" (Twilight, pp. 115-116). However, Clark Pinnock believes that Lindbeck: "is not denying that doctrines may also make first-order [objective] truth claims," but rather "emphasizing Christianity as a way of life in a specific framework" (Tracking, p. 59). Pinnock proposes that, for Lindbeck: "To be a theologian is to be engaged in the task of assessing the coherence of contemporary [religious] claims… [i.e.] alternative interpretive schemes that function pragmatically to bring order and give meaning to life" (p. 58). Pinnock thus interprets Lindbeck as a 'moderate' who attempting to find a "middle channel" between both liberal and conservative extremes which overemphasize either experience or cognition, and fail to do justice to both (pp. 57-59).
In A Passion for Truth A. McGrath accepts Pinnock's assessment of Lindbeck's intention, but still has reservations about the approach. Lindbeck emphasizes the "internal consistency" of the Christian narrative, McGrath concedes, thus avoiding the issues of "epistemological realism and a correspondence theory of truth." However, McGrath warns, Lindbeck thereby allows the conclusion that Christian faith represents: "an entirely coherent system which has no meaningful relation to the real world" (p. 153).
Lundin, Roger. The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993).
Luther, Martin. "Treatise on Good Works," in Luther's Works, vol. 44, pp. 21-114; "Temporal Authority: To What Extent it Should Be Obeyed," in Luther's Works, vol. 45, pp. 81-129.
Lyons, Eugene. Workers' Paradise Lost: Fifty Years of Soviet Communism: A Balance Sheet (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1967). A former senior editor for Reader's Digest and editor of the American Mercury, Lyons began his career as a journalist sympathetic to the Bolshevik Revolution and spent six years as Moscow correspondent for the United Press. His book Assignment in Utopia, published in 1937, and a series of sequels, reflected his growing disenchantment. In Workers' Paradise Lost he estimates that Soviet communism was directly responsible for "more than forty-five million deaths… in Soviet Russia proper, through civil war, famines, 'liquidation of the kulaks,' purge executions, the high mortality rates in concentration camps, and so on" (p. 329). He notes that "the first 'death camps' were not founded by the Germans, but by the Soviets," beginning in 1921: "The Soviet killings of individuals and of groups 'as a class' were not committed in a frenzy of anger or panic. For the most part they were carried out in cold blood, deliberately: calculated destruction not only of enemies but of potential enemies, or simply to be rid of the superfluous and unwanted" (pp. 330-331).
Lyons reflects on the dangers inherent in naïve political idealism and millennialism: "His aim, Lenin assured H.G. Wells and others, was 'a regime of justice.' There would be no more classes, no more 'exploitation of man by man'… Without doubt the founding fathers of the Soviet state… were sincere in projecting the dream of their utopian future… Human motivation is complex. The individual himself rarely knows where 'idealism' ends and the lust for authority begins. The most self-centered among revolutionists rationalize the appetite for power in terms of noble goals and shining visions… Promises of the millennium, or course, are typical for all revolutions and for the most part believed in by those who make them. At the height of the French Terror, Robespierre was saying things like: 'Our destiny, most sublime, is to found an empire of wisdom, justice and virtue'" (p. 14).
Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi, in Theory and History of Literature, vol. 10 (Minneapolis, MN: U. Minnesota Press, 1984). A post-structuralist prof. of philosophy at the U. Paris at Vincennes, Lyotard is a leading proponent of postmodernism. He defines postmodernism as a rejection of universal worldviews or "metanarratives," as "incredulity toward metanarratives" (p. xxiv). He explains: "The narrative function is losing its great functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being disbursed in clouds of narrative language elements—narrative, but also denotative, prescriptive, and so on. Conveyed within each kind are pragmatic valencies specific to each kind. Each of us lives at the intersection of many of these. However, we do not necessarily establish stable language combinations, and the properties of the ones we do establish are not necessarily communicable" (p. xxiv). R.A. Mohler, Jr., writing in The Challenge of Postmodernism, ed. D.S. Dockery, identifies this passage as "a classic defining statement of postmodernism," and comments: "According to this worldview, universal truth claims are impossible. All discourse is particular, limited, insular, and it inevitably breaks down into the competing language games operating among different communities of meaning" (p. 71).
Alister McGrath, writing in A Passion for Truth, points out what he calls: "a fatal inconsistency within the postmodern outlook of Michel Foucault [and] Jean-Francois Lyotard," namely, a lack of self-criticism regarding their own worldview (p. 24). How can one deny the validity of universal truth claims, without at the same time making a universal truth claim? McGrath summarizes Lyotard's position: "Lyotard argued that all universal narratives [and truth claims], such as Marxism, were totalitarian in their outlook, and hence potentially capable of generating mindsets which were conducive to 'crimes against humanity.' If people are convinced of the rightness of their own position, there is inevitably a temptation to control or destroy those who disagree with them" (p. 187). But what about Lyotard's own truth claims? McGrath concludes: "Even the casual question, 'Is postmodernism true?,' innocently raises fundamental criteriological questions which postmodernism finds embarrassingly difficult to handle" (p. 195; cf. pp. 189-200).