17 September 2005

Middle School Cheers and Sesame Street Chants

"Put it all together, and what do you get?"

Justin Martyr (whom we just studied in my History of Christianity class) supposedly came to Christianity by reason. Joseph Butler (whom we're reading in my Anglican Tradition and Life class) defends that Christianity does not propose anything contrary to reason, that revelation was reasonable. The Fundamentalists (whose theology we've outlined in my Old Testament class) swallow all the demands of modernity and attempt to prove Christian precepts backwards in proof-style (see contemporary fundamentalist claims on evolution/creation, homosexuality and psychology/sociology). Contemporary Evangelicals propose their faith to potential converts in a very reason-oriented way, as if to say, There is nothing contradictory between reason and revelation. Are they just countering what mainstream protestants are calling the church where “you check your brain at the door” ? What does all this historical clash between reason and revelation amount to today, for us? Where are there reasoners posing as revelationers, and vice versa?

2 Comments:

Blogger Preston said...

This question of how reason connects to the life of faith is very important, to my mind.

I think it's important because so often I hear folks defend a veiled anti-intellectualism in the form of spirituality. It is common to hear that "since we cannot know God in fullness, then what is the point of all this talk about God?" This view recognises the limitation of language and human reason, but uses that limitation in order to not use our minds as a way to come to know God.

Forgive this plug of my own, but I have written on this. If any readers are interested, check out my post St. Augistine on Truth, Reason, and Rest. The argument is that through reason we encounter the borders of reason, through which we break the boundaries of the mind into an experience of God.

As for revelation, Richard Hooker is best on this. Though RH is often understood to differentiate between Scripture, reason, and tradition, what he is doing is rather integrating them. Scripture and tradition are reasonable, to his mind. Though Scripture does take a pride of place, informing tradition and reason, as was true of most of the reformation.

3:38 PM  
Blogger APN said...

I look at your question(s) this way -- I've processed through many of those perspectives in the past 4-5 years of my life. I came of spiritual age in a Pentecostal church, left fundamentalism to enter modern (Western, reason/intellectually-driven) Christianity, and moved into something else entirely. It's not that you can't approach the beliefs of Christianity through reason -- you totally can. I could never deny that, but can't you come to it through other means?

Or from another perspective, what if I don't want to serve a God who makes sense? What if I want to love & serve a God who has to reveal things to me, things that I could never figure out on my own? If God made complete sense, God would cease to exist or would become just a god. I might want to understand everything about God, but that would leave me with religion; it would leave me with something that I had created. God is the Creator and I am the created. When I violate that, I'm not much of a follow of God; in fact, I'm trying to become God.

Revelation is most revelatory when it comes from a place that is above and beyond anything that I can imagine. If I could imagine it, there wouldn't be much revealing going on, now would there?

BTW -- lovely blog. It's good to find another "Zinn-head" out there.

3:32 PM  

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