Responses when Confronted with the Sacred and Secular Thought System

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The popular author Chaim Potok struggled throughout his life with the sacred (Jewish religion and tradition) and the secular world. Potok suggested four possible responses for a person who faces confrontation with the sacred thought system and the secular thought system. First, the lockout response: a person escapes the conflict by erecting impenetrable barriers between the sacred and the secular and then remains in just one system. Second, compartmentalization: a person creates separate categories of thought that coexist in what he called a “tenuous peace.” Third, complete fusion: a person takes down all walls and allows the sacred and secular cultures to freely mix with each other, perhaps leading to a “radically new seminal culture.”…show more content…
The popular author Chaim Potok struggled throughout his life with the sacred (Jewish religion and tradition) and the secular world. Potok suggested four possible responses for a person who faces confrontation with the sacred thought system and the secular thought system. First, the lockout response: a person escapes the conflict by erecting impenetrable barriers between the sacred and the secular and then remains in just one system. Second, compartmentalization: a person creates separate categories of thought that coexist in what he called a “tenuous peace.” Third, complete fusion: a person takes down all walls and allows the sacred and secular cultures to freely mix with each other, perhaps leading to a “radically new seminal culture.” Fourth, ambiguity: in this approach a person will take down most if not all walls and accepts a multitude of questions with no intension to resolve them. None of these possible responses seems very satisfying to me. My professional field of study and the Gospel of Jesus Christ teach us to continue to seek for truth and knowledge. So how do we, as Latter-day Saint academic professionals and university students handle with what Bruce Hafen (a long time administrator for BYU-Provo) calls “the natural confrontations between the sacred and our deep commitment to being part of serious university pursuits?” He continued, “We reject the lockout approach that would shut our eyes to life's conflicts and realities. We are in--even though not

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