Faith and modernity

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Fri May 02, 2014 9:54 am

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sat May 03, 2014 1:33 am

Looks like an interesting series. Thanks. Hopefully I will look at a couple this weekend, statring with Hauerwas.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Tue May 06, 2014 1:35 am

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Tue May 06, 2014 3:43 pm

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue May 06, 2014 8:52 pm

I like the first one. The one by Watts is sophistry; rather like saying it doesn't matter what one eats because it always comes out as poo regardless.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby kmich » Wed May 07, 2014 1:59 pm

THE SPACE BETWEEN PASTORAL CARE AND GLOBAL TERRORISM

Ann Belford Ulanov

Your work as chaplains in this twenty-first century takes place in the space between pastoral care and global terrorism. In the gap, that you make into a space for meeting and growth is where your work is located. It is extraordinary to be situating your profession within a background of global violence. In New York City we still feel it, even though the attacks of 9/11 are six years ago. I listen in my psychoanalytic practice to a mother of a second-grader describe how she has purchased gas masks, iodine pills and other items the Red Cross recommends along with planning an escape route. I listen to my doctoral student describe her thesis project of a new interpretation of the Trinity in relation to what sustained the chaplains at Ground Zero. She herself worked as chaplain to the morgue staff where the bits and pieces of bodies were brought for identification. In front of the Fire Station next to my analyst’s office, on every 9/11 since 2001 appear heaps of flowers, candles, poems brought by neighbours to commemorate the shift of men killed when the Towers fell down on them. In Scotland you know this mourning first hand and were among the frontline respondents when a plane exploded from the sky onto a local neighbourhood, and when a man deranged and homicidal broke into a primary school.

In our present decade the background of terrorism suddenly erupts into the foreground, pitching us onto the borders of life and death. These eruptions of violence break out randomly, like an autoimmune disease that can attack anywhere at any time. The borders of good and bad that we defined in the cold war as an iron curtain no longer obtain. We experience good and evil infiltrating one another.

There was astonishing goodness showing up in the horror of 9/11 as there always is in the midst of suffering. In your work as chaplains, you bring goodness to the patient in the hospital, you bring presence to the person in Hospice, to persons in detox centres, to those struggling to find the roots of health in the midst of mental pain. I would suggest that one way to describe the goodness you bring is that in the face of loss, you make links.

You link up the present amputation to the whole person alive in hospital who cannot be reduced to one part. You link up the present incarceration in the prison of alcoholism or addiction to pills with the buried impulse toward remorse, toward gratitude for the gift of life that persists even now and must find a new form. You link up the present story of an elderly person with their original story at the beginning of their life, to aid in making the arc of their whole life complete before they die. You link the person caught in psychological complexes with a story trying to emerge that is bigger, more flexible, and no longer caught in earlier trauma. You link up the resource of religion, that great bottomless ground of God whom the thirteenth century mystic Marguerite Porete calls the Source without source, to the particular person’s present misery and fragile hope.

When loss strikes us, the great question is how to go on being alive, real, grateful, glad. How to keep loving alive in the face of this wounding hurt, and now in the face of collective trauma? The psychological and spiritual danger in the face of great loss is that we cease to make links to receive connections to our deeper selves, to our neighbours, and to God. Then all these spaces in which we live collapse into a horrifying gap where we fear we will plunge endlessly without any ground to hold us in being. This is to go dead while still alive. The threat of terrorism with its seeming randomness dislocates all our spaces into gaps, making us fear that nothing holds.

For example, the Taliban blowing up the huge ancient Buddha statues, despite many countries offering symbolic concessions and financial payment to preserve this extraordinary art, destroyed not only the statues, but also the world’s habit of cherishing and conserving such symbols. My late husband, Barry Ulanov, said, the only thing that lasts of previous civilizations is their art, and it is through the art we reach again to the spiritual pulse that animated a whole society, and perceive how they lived in the spaces between here and the beyond, between the daily self and the soul, between their sense of their identity and the other. The Taliban sought to destroy the notion of leaving a mark with art, to wreck not only the magnificent statues but also the world’s symbol system. They asserted their conviction that symbols of the transcendent were blasphemous, declaring that their story about the borders of life and death was the only story.

This incident, like all terrorist incidents, alerts us that in this new century and new millennium, the basic question has changed. The question of the twentieth century, I suggest, was being versus non-being. How to secure being in the face of world wars, gulags, holocausts, forced marches and famines, the discrimination against different races, creeds, genders, and toward parts of ourselves caught in the prison of obsessions, anxiety attacks, paranoid delusions. We sought being against non-being, strove to strengthen it, enlarge its precincts with laws, justice and charity.

To the degree we succeeded in enlarging room for otherness, we now have a new basic question: how to live with many others of different cultures, political systems, theological visions, ethnic roots, and devote wholehearted commitment to our own perceptions of what truly matters. How to find the many in the One, and the One in the many is our question of this twenty first century. There are many stories, many routes to God. How to live with all our heart, mind, strength our own story in the face of and in cooperation with the many other stories?

A shift for your work as chaplains into a freestanding profession, differentiated from yet related to the Church that heretofore was your employer, is a striking example of one story now becoming two. Your location in General and in Psychiatric Hospitals, Learning Disability Units, Care of Elderly Units, Mental Health Clinics, distinguishes you from the clergy serving parishes. You are the remnant in the community, in the front line of emergencies of illness physical, mental and spiritual. Your story will be a different narrative, now to be recognised as distinct.

Babel and Pentecost

Pastoral Care as Chaplains in the face of global terrorism requires looking directly into the space that can collapse into a gap. What is the story that terrorism displays? And what is the chaplaincy story? If it is true that our new century is faced with many, indeed, multi stories, terrorists can be described as insisting on their story as the only one; it must dominate all others as the only sacred truth; indeed, others who do not also identify with it should be killed. The one and only story does not permit any alternate narratives, considers them as dust, whereas your story as chaplains always recognises the irreducible value of individual experience that expands into many kinds of narratives woven with neighbour and cherished by God.

When the space collapses and links between us and with God and with ourselves are destroyed, we can fall into the grip of unconscious archaic energies. Because our psychic energy no longer finds channels through which to fuel our relationships, the energy regresses to less mature forms and manifests in more primitive ways. Instead of housing and directing our psychic energy, it has us in its grip, by-passing consciousness and eschewing consideration, communication, contemplation with others. So we find ourselves, or our neighbour, caught up; the energy burgeons forth in a fit of rage, a panic of anxiety, and a self-righteous edict.

Religious images of the Holy are the deepest images in our psyche because they try to picture what matters ultimately, the alpha and the omega that dwells at the centre of reality. To fall into the grip of that energy is to feel identified with it, so that my story about the place of my group, my theology, my humiliation, my justice, now feels as if it is not only everyone’s story but even God’s story. For the terrorist insists that everyone must hold his conviction, as if saying: I speak now for all of us in Islam or Judaism or Christianity, and even more, I speak for God. Hence it is my duty to blow up planes, invade schools, to fly jets into office buildings, plant bombs in markets or restaurants or subways to wreak destruction as service to a living God.

The fantasy of spiritual globalism, that there can be only one spiritual truth for our entire globe, is a major expression of this unconscious identification with archaic energies. It is a postmodern version of the tower of Babel. You remember Genesis 11, the generations of Noah journeying east to the plain of Shinar build a city and a tower with its top in the heavens to “make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered.” (RSV Gen 11:4b) Babel comes from the Assyrian babilu, meaning the Gate of God. The Lord sees they are one people with one language and as the text says, “this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” (RSV Gen 11:6b) The Lord goes down and confuses their language so that they cannot understand each other’s speech and scatters them from there “over the face of the earth.” (RSV Gen 11:8) Babel reigns—confusion, hullaballou, pandemonium, very much our exclamations after terrorist attacks.

What are we to make of this story? This Lord is not our hoped for one of unity, binding us all up inside ourselves into a whole person with no parts split off clamouring like strangers at the gate. This is not our desired Lord who knits up the hostilities in our communities to make a whole heart and soul together with love circulating among us. This Lord is not our prayed for one around whom we all join in a song of praise.

This Lord divides, separates, confounds, and restricts our building what we call unity, what we call making a name for ourselves. This Lord sets limits and makes us experience our limitations. This Lord scatters us into many stories, where no one story dominates. This Lord confuses; thus no human made clarity will prevail as the one and only clarity, the one and only way to say it, the one and only narrative to be acceptable.

We cannot craft this unity; we cannot author this oneness. Instead we are given many stories, from many places, scattered over the earth. We are forced to recognise that our finite perceptions and plans do not capture the truth of God, who transcends them and is undefineable, unknowable from our side. This God sets limits; before this God we must experience our limitations.

This yearning for one story, for one truth, one unified source of bread, of government, of faith, forges the power of Satan’s temptations to Christ in the desert. Unity and oneness are not ours to make. The other side of globalisation is annihilation. The one-ness that we would construct always goes into abstractions, away from our specific, different locations in culture, history, political styles, gender identifications, race and creed. The one of us who is different gets pushed out of the group. The abstract one universal truth for all abandons the ground, the earth, and soon becomes totalism which violates the particular which is where we live. The unanimity we would invent tyrannises over our many differences.

Your ministry links up the particularities of a person’s life and suffering with the infinite God reaching toward them in and through those very personal details. The marvel of God is that each of us is cherished in particular; none of us is an exchangeable object where God will take Harry if Joe does not respond. God wants each one, Harry and Joe in the particulars of their lives. God will make up the wholeness out of each of us as the parts, the different parts brought together in God’s vision, not ours, not the terrorists’.

If my sense of the question for the twenty-first century is accurate, it includes how we give all heart, mind, soul, and strength to commitment to truth, to God as we see it. We give in particular with who we are toward God as we have heard God revealing Godself to us in community and history. We respect that others seek the same. So unity, then, is not sameness, nor is faith exclusive. It is particular. I love this One, knowing that I know God only in God’s unknowableness.

Moments of unity happen, but we do not produce them, we strive toward them if we allow many stories to be told. But there are moments of oneness. Acts 2 of the New Testament describes the moment of Pentecost when suddenly a rush of wind fills the house where Jesus’ followers assemble and tongues of fire rest on each one and they all speak in other tongues as the “Spirit gave them utterance.” (RSV Acts 2:4b) At this sound the multitude from every nation come together and everyone hears their own language being spoken.

What stands out is not only a unity created by the Holy Spirit, but people of different languages notice, hear, are amazed that their language, different from all others, is now being spoken by their neighbors who have their own different language. There is room for all differences in this unity. Particularity and unity happen at once. Particularity is not blotted out nor blurred. Parthians and Medes, Elamites and those from Cappadocia remain particular from concrete locales, but they hear each other speak in their own native tongues. Particularity persists and is transcended simultaneously. What we share in common is our differences.

This is God’s unity, the unity God’s Spirit creates that includes all differences among us, that graces us for a moment. In the Babel story, God is the author of diversity; in the Pentecost story God includes all the differences into flowing communication. God’s unity does not abstract but permeates difference. In such a moment we all experience the power of the same origin point, the same mysterious source. This is what you chaplains do when your work succeeds. You link up details of different lives, different stories, the personal story and Christ’s story and a mighty wind rushes in and fills the house, a tongue of fire appears and for a moment the same language, the primary speech, is spoken between you and the one suffering, between the two of you and the long line of fellow and sister sufferers, between all of us and the gracious God who steps into our suffering and brings the balm.

The Remnant

In the space between pastoral care and global terrorism where we find ourselves in this first decade of our new century, chaplaincy partakes of the remnant. Aware of the horrors of destruction that terrorism manifests, the remnant remains as scraps, fragments, yearning to respond with heart, mind and soul to God as commanded. The remnant does not survive destruction out of its own merit, nor because of its own resources. You who see struggle and sorrow in your work as chaplains, who witness the fragility and strength of people reaching for new life in the midst of their old life crumbling around them, know in your bones that to see this remnant in others and link up to it and draw strength yourselves from it, is to draw on the unfathomable God in that moment who links to us in Christ stepping into our suffering embodying the remnant in his person.

The remnant has certain tasks in this moment. What stands out as foremost is to witness what is happening. What is happening is that our version of unity where we ascend to the heavens gets destroyed. We get caught in the grip of our images of what should be, our versions of the God who should preside over all humanity. Hubris, inflation, seeking to dominate with our interpretation are not allowed, the text tells us; God’s wrath levels them, this other side of God that protects against one story tyranizing as the only story. The judgement that levels us tells us always to open, look, hear, link toward the God who cannot be defined or confined in human designations. We are to take what God offers, the diversity of many stories that together make up the whole, the unity that God bestows in moments of linking, connecting, feeling God’s love flowing, communicating between us in our own languages.

The remnant feels simultaneously God’s judgement and grace. We continue to yearn for the unity that underlies all diversity, the infinite that surpasses but fulfils all our finite plans and hopes. We long for the single principle that harmonizes justice and strife into a durable Absolute beyond all change. But deep down in the places of the human soul, we glimpse that this is our image, not the God our image links us to. Diversity is God-given. In Hindu mythology God is all the different stories folding into one another.

God’s judgement moves us to offer our image of justice, our image of love, our picture of health or what this relationship should be, into the hands of the living God. This sacrifice of our vision of the good is a wrenching, deep suffering. You feel it when pastoring those in your care, wishing for them a release, a happiness, a breaking through, and witnessing that it does not happen. Only by giving that up, letting our version go, can we turn to see what is happening, what is there breaking in, bringing a whole new picture. The remnant’s witnessing includes sacrifice, and receiving the new.

In the space between pastoral care and global terrorism, a remnant consciousness brings with it a necessary vulnerability because all the evil spirits are loose; even Red Cross helpers or peace-keeping U.N. workers are not safe from attack. We feel fear, and we hope that it is the beginning of wisdom. We are aware of being wounded, that we can be wounded, that we are in danger of being wounded. A remnant consciousness means extending our awareness to these ominous forces, to the bad, to imagine about evil in the sense of “serpent thoughts”, the wiseness of the serpent that Jesus counsels. At the heart of Christianity is the wounded God, the God who takes our worst destructiveness into himself and rises from the death it inflicts. We witness that destructiveness does not totally destroy.

Serpent thoughts mean carrying the tension that our story conflicts with the stories of others, and that part of the other’s story is to destroy mine. We imagine the harm we can do to others, and we accept that the other also is quite capable, even willing, to do harm to us. We thus sacrifice our wish to believe in total goodness, ours or the other’s. Jung calls this facing our shadow, those affects and behaviours, attitudes and wishes that we would disown as bad, and usually project onto our neighbour in exact proportion to how unconscious we remain of them existing in ourselves. A remnant consciousness means taking serious note not only of shadowy aspects of ourselves but also in our neighbour, because the one we project onto usually has a hook, a something analogous to our shadow stuff that attracts our hurling the bad into them. Bad is also there and the serpent in us spies it.

This serpent perception applies to religion as well, and to our actual work as chaplains, teachers, counselors. These are activities for the good, but they can, we see again clearly now, also be used for the bad. Religion to shame, humiliate, to coerce, to divide up groups into warring enemies all in the name of God is a human construction. The source of religion in the “Source without source” pulls us to transcend even the faith constructions we so carefully build.

The new departure point comes with Mary who bears into the world the revolutionary One who brings the end to all religions. Her cooperating spirit, her corresponding spirit, her sturdy, daring willingness to house the new and bring it into the world, not unlike Abraham’s willingness to leave the known country to journey into the unknown, these two show the remnant consciousness. In it we are aware of life being created right now, ongoing moments of making present, what the thirteenth century Buddhist Dogen calls the “logic of presencing."

In our scraps of faith in the Holy, from these remnants we find the new shoots spring. We witness the new not destroyed but enduring and breaking in, in resurrected forms; we suffer sacrifice of our old and treasured visions of the good as we have built it; we bear the tension of serpent thoughts about the ominous forces in ourselves and in others that can blunt our hearts and minds; we correspond to the generous outpouring of the unknowable God making known the depths of the human linked to the depths of the divine.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Thu May 08, 2014 12:09 am

Life is differences, ever changing differences. An overdose of differences can result in violence, panic, terrorism, war. We also need some similarities in our lives, it makes life a bit more predictable. But similarities are still differences that are small.. Differences can be big but cohere in enough frequencies and still feel good.

Differences that exist in undivided wholeness, the one and the many. It is tempting to poetically believe that divine love is what binds together all those differences, linking it all up into oneness. But nothing was really separated to begin with.. so there is no real need to link or stitch anything.

I think it's more something like noise versus music (or harmonics) that applies here. Happiness sometimes is described as your heart that starts singing. That could very close to the truth. Making music together with others is a special and strong form of happiness.

A Chaplain could thusly also see his work as listening very carefully to the noises, the tones.. and gaps of silence.. of another person.. and find a way to start making music together. With perfect imperfections.

Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby kmich » Thu May 08, 2014 3:11 pm

I really like the music and the singing analogies, Parodite. Like the John Legend song too. Thank you.

Differences are our reality and provide richness to our world, while the unity at the ground of our being is ours to experience but not to construct. If we try to, we end up creating conceptual idols that disassociate us from ourselves and from God. I believe that is Ann Ulanov’s point in the article above.

During my work in Ethiopia, I took a brief break over Easter and traveled with a Christian Ethiopian colleague to Axum. Christianity is very ancient and very strong in the northern part of the country. At the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, where they claim to hold the Arc of the Covenant, I attended the Easter Vigil. People from all over the region come to this, often walking for days over many miles singing, chanting, praying while subsisting on one meal a day of cereal and assorted vegetables. These poor people really live their faith. No Bob Evans pancakes and sausage before driving to church for them.

In the vigil procession, people wear white, sing hymns, and carry lit candles. My friend and I participated, but we were separated in the crowd. I was tired and dehydrated and I have had this vasovagal syncope problem for years, so I predictably passed out and fell to the ground. When I came to, I was surrounded by people kneeling around me holding candles and singing. One older man who was right over me chanted something in Ge'ez and repeatedly made the sign of the cross on my forehead and chest. I cannot describe adequately how profoundly the whole experience affected me. I felt a flash of blue spaciousness in the dawn twilight, as if my world radically grew and rested in an unspeakably immense, ancient soil I could not comprehend. All I could do was get up with some help and join the procession. I could only respond to the experience I had with praise, so this time, I was singing along. I barely understood the language in my mind, but my heart embraced it completely.

Faith is not about deciding to believe in something. Faith is something that makes the walls collapse, the bottom drop out, and then grabs me completely at the core of my being. It is a grace that is offered, that I can accept or reject. I have chosen to accept.

You are right about music. Music, particularly sacred music for me, opens the heart to what cannot be known. The song of the soul.

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby kmich » Mon May 12, 2014 12:36 am

Abraham Joshua Heschel remembered. Interviewed by Carl Stern in 1972, a broadcast that was made after his death. Interview starts at 16:45 after the introductory dialogue between Ismar Schorsch, the Chancellor of Jewish Theological Seminary at the time, and Cornel West.

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Mon May 12, 2014 11:20 am

kmich wrote:I really like the music and the singing analogies, Parodite. Like the John Legend song too. Thank you.


You are welcome.

Differences are our reality and provide richness to our world, while the unity at the ground of our being is ours to experience but not to construct. If we try to, we end up creating conceptual idols that disassociate us from ourselves and from God. I believe that is Ann Ulanov’s point in the article above.


Yes, I think that is what she is saying too. The invisible glue, the unknown, the whatever we choose to call it. I never know what to do with or think of people who believe that some (holy) book, other persons in past or present, or maybe they themselves...spoke in the name of the unknown, invisible glue or ground of being. Would not be such a problem.. if not in many traditions of faith the faith just means to believe what is said in Its/His name according to those others. Of course here speaks the skeptical Deist in me: I accept nothing but on my own terms, verified by my own observations, thoughts, evaluations and experiences in life. Is something true in general, and if not in general.. is it true for me?

General truths, experiences we share that concern realities in a common environment.. are usually not stumbling blocks; when we poor a glass of wine in our glasses from the same bottle.. we may differ about the taste of it.. but not disagree that the wine is from the same bottle that stands on the same table we sit around. We can share those general truths, like a bottle of wine and the table in stands on. We may have different tastes and call it a bad or very good wine.. but those subjective differences are not something to start a world war over either.

The problem starts when things that do not exist in a shared environment.. are treated as if they are. For instance.. I may have had a dream.. a vision.. an NDE...and it was very strong. It changed me.. my thoughts and feelings, my outlook on existence. I can now decide to write it all down... call it "a divine revelation"... and put it on that same table too.. next to that bottle of wine. And tell the people: "Drink it! Read it! And if you don't believe it.... don't experience it 1st hand.. believe it! God showed it too me! Trust me!"

This is perhaps when usually all hell breaks loose :shock: ;)

Faith is not about deciding to believe in something. Faith is something that makes the walls collapse, the bottom drop out, and then grabs me completely at the core of my being. It is a grace that is offered, that I can accept or reject. I have chosen to accept.


For me it could work similar.. but the other way round: if by some event or condition.. life goes up side down.. the walls collapse... then as a result something could grab me at the core of my being. The only thing that comes close are three "NDEs", one where I nearly fell off a mountain free fall in Spain by just doing very stupid.. a motor cycle accident where I was lucky to just miss a concrete pillar, and hearing I had a prostate cancer that however turned out benign but it took some weeks before I knew for sure. These things shake off a lot and make something hard-core surface very strongly.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Miss_Faucie_Fishtits » Tue May 13, 2014 5:06 am

The Faith of modernity is faith in the individual man himself, more so and more militantly so, than before...... or since......'>.....:

oldfatslow wrote:Out of the ashes of the French Revolutionary Wars and the era of Napolean, the world reemerged better and stronger than it had ever been. Johnson's history centers on England (probably rightly so), but it seems to touch everywhere else. This is a quirky little book with lots of interesting/fascinating stories. Yet, they are stories that center around a powerful theme. For the first time in history, the ordinary guy could rise to the top based on nothing more than his own guts and initiative. I was continually struck by how many men from Faraday to Dalton to the Stephensons were self-educated. Knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge, was the sports and the entertainment of the day. People flocked to hear lectures and read books that would bore most to tears today. I wish I could instill that drive in my children. Read this, it is a thousand pages of enjoyment.


http://www.amazon.com/The-Birth-Modern- ... 1455158127
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Wed May 14, 2014 10:26 am

kmich wrote:Abraham Joshua Heschel remembered. Interviewed by Carl Stern in 1972, a broadcast that was made after his death. Interview starts at 16:45 after the introductory dialogue between Ismar Schorsch, the Chancellor of Jewish Theological Seminary at the time, and Cornel West.


I like the things he says in the end.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby kmich » Wed May 14, 2014 1:27 pm

Miss_Faucie_Fishtits wrote:The Faith of modernity is faith in the individual man himself, more so and more militantly so, than before...... or since......'>.....:

oldfatslow wrote:Out of the ashes of the French Revolutionary Wars and the era of Napolean, the world reemerged better and stronger than it had ever been. Johnson's history centers on England (probably rightly so), but it seems to touch everywhere else. This is a quirky little book with lots of interesting/fascinating stories. Yet, they are stories that center around a powerful theme. For the first time in history, the ordinary guy could rise to the top based on nothing more than his own guts and initiative. I was continually struck by how many men from Faraday to Dalton to the Stephensons were self-educated. Knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge, was the sports and the entertainment of the day. People flocked to hear lectures and read books that would bore most to tears today. I wish I could instill that drive in my children. Read this, it is a thousand pages of enjoyment.


http://www.amazon.com/The-Birth-Modern- ... 1455158127

I don’t know about this. What does "faith in the individual" actually mean?

Modernity values the functions of individuals as social units: as producers and consumers of ideas, politics, dreams. and stuff. If they cease to serve functions they become anonymous throwaways in our prisons, nursing and foster homes, hospitals, and streets. Does modernity really have faith in each individual as having intrinsic value, a divine light? Or does modernity simply value what individuals give to the rest of us and throw away those who don't?
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Miss_Faucie_Fishtits » Thu May 15, 2014 3:33 am

kmich wrote:Does modernity really have faith in each individual as having intrinsic value, a divine light? Or does modernity simply value what individuals give to the rest of us and throw away those who don't?


The individual...... considered outside of class, cast or clan. The individual as determined by personality, education and the principles of moderate and rational society, and not by ethnicity, race and religion. IDEALLY of course.....'>>.......
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Thu May 15, 2014 10:09 am

Miss_Faucie_Fishtits wrote:
kmich wrote:Does modernity really have faith in each individual as having intrinsic value, a divine light? Or does modernity simply value what individuals give to the rest of us and throw away those who don't?


The individual...... considered outside of class, cast or clan. The individual as determined by personality, education and the principles of moderate and rational society, and not by ethnicity, race and religion. IDEALLY of course.....'>>.......


Maybe when differences among groups are perceived as very big and important, as for instance in a territorial tribe-versus-tribe (tribe here can be any strong self-identifying group) situation... the differences among individuals that belong to a group are perceived as smaller and primarily important in as far as the individual represents and serves the interest of the group.

If differences among groups are perceived as less relevant where similarities among those groups come more to the foreground.. then individual differences come more easily to the foreground as well. Then the intrinsic value of the individual goes up, while that of groups goes down.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Sat May 17, 2014 11:26 pm

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sun May 18, 2014 1:15 am

I like Chapman's Five Love Languages, but trying to force marital self-help into an ordinal analogy is lame. I think his editor put him up to this one.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Mon May 19, 2014 9:06 am

Nonc Hilaire wrote:I like Chapman's Five Love Languages,


My sister recommended the book... that's how I got his name. Thought that down to earth self-help mixed with religion is something modern.

but trying to force marital self-help into an ordinal analogy is lame. I think his editor put him up to this one.


What you mean with that?
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Mon May 19, 2014 1:05 pm

What I mean is that seasons are regular, sequential events which are caused by unalterable external forces. You adjust to them - you don't try to change them. When Chapman started talking about a marriage being in "winter" as a stimulus to do something designed to force the marriage back to summer again I had to stop listening.

It's a terrible analogy. The sycophant interviewer with the Phyllis Diller hairdo didn't help either.

The only season I can think of that has a profound effect on marriage is football season.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Thu May 22, 2014 2:48 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:What I mean is that seasons are regular, sequential events which are caused by unalterable external forces. You adjust to them - you don't try to change them. When Chapman started talking about a marriage being in "winter" as a stimulus to do something designed to force the marriage back to summer again I had to stop listening.

It's a terrible analogy. The sycophant interviewer with the Phyllis Diller hairdo didn't help either.

The only season I can think of that has a profound effect on marriage is football season.


Ha :D

Yea the seasons analogy is a bit... On the other hand, it's a nice romantic vision... something reassuring.. comforting.. that nothing is forever. :?
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Thu May 29, 2014 9:54 am

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Fri May 30, 2014 11:58 am

Parodite wrote:


+1 for Reza Aslan. An accurate and delightful presentation.

For those who would like to hear him read out loud his own book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, the audiobook is available here.
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Fri May 30, 2014 1:22 pm

Reza Aslan is universally discredited as a historian and faux NT scholar who has inflated his credentials and claimed university faculty positions he never held. His work is not simply not accurate.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Parodite » Fri May 30, 2014 1:55 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:Reza Aslan is universally discredited as a historian and faux NT scholar who has inflated his credentials and claimed university faculty positions he never held. His work is not simply not accurate.


Sources? It would be a good joke if a half-cooked conman comes closest to the truth re Jesus the resurrected Christ versus the historical Jesus. On the other hand...

Joking aside.. what he says is nothing new. Did you read his book(s)? What research did you yourself do on the historical Jesus, what are your sources, which books did you digest? Anything of Geza Vermes? From what position of authority does thou speak?
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Re: Faith and modernity

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Fri May 30, 2014 4:02 pm

Parodite wrote:
Nonc Hilaire wrote:Reza Aslan is [url][/url]universally discredited as a historian and faux NT scholar who has inflated his credentials and claimed university faculty positions he never held. His work is not simply not accurate.


Sources? It would be a good joke if a half-cooked conman comes closest to the truth re Jesus the resurrected Christ versus the historical Jesus. On the other hand...

Joking aside.. what he says is nothing new. Did you read his book(s)? What research did you yourself do on the historical Jesus, what are your sources, which books did you digest? Anything of Geza Vermes? From what position of authority does thou speak?


I have a BA in Biblical Studies and a M.Div., which are better qualifications than Aslan's MFA in fiction and Ph.D in Sociology with a thesis on Jihadism. Aslan does not even read Greek. Qualifications are not everything, but biblical literature is exceptionally nuanced with centuries of academic commentary. Koine Greek is peculiar. Its genitive case and the ease of confusing prepositions have caused numerous errors and disputes.

Aslan is like a mathematician writing about physics. Writing out of one's field can be treacherous, even if there are some similarities.

When an author cannot read the original sources, has no professional training in the field and does not even cite/consider previous academic work his output is going to be limited at best. I can't waste time on Aslan's amateur attempt just because Aslan finagled his book into a NYT best seller. N.T. Wright has 1700 pages on Paul and the Faithfulness of God on my desk. Wright gets my time when it comes to Jesus, not the Muslim sociologist.

I'm sure Aslan put together a believable story. He is a trained fiction writer; that is what they do.

Google reviews of Aslan's book and you will not find a qualified historian who takes him seriously. The search for a historical Jesus essentially ended with Schweitzer. There are a few token efforts, but the quality of ancient literature simply does not allow for it to be generally used as a modern history.

Selectively editing out explicitly Christian reviews:

http://jewishreviewofbooks.com/articles/449/reza-aslan-what-jesus-wasnt/

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/07/zealot-life-jesus-aslan-review

But obviously most of the best New Testament scholars are Christian. Few non-Christians will devote a career to studying Christianity. You will find professional, academic, detailed and devastating criticism from Christian scholars on google.

Bart Ehrman, an outstanding biblical scholar and Christian apostate is a great source but most of his content is behind a paywall. However, Ehrman's free introductory remarks are enough to establish that Aslan is about as good as Dan Brown for accurate interpretation of Christian history.
http://ehrmanblog.org/aslans-zealot-start/
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