Saturday, February 11, 2006

More Absolutist Garbage

I really don't have much to say... just was reading in some forums about some folks reactions to Serenity, and some discussion on religion specifically Book, and his approach to religion .

As always, somebody has to drop the all to common line "there are multiple interpretations of scripture", and "you don't have the only true interpretation", in other words -- religion changes over time. These are fighting words to most Christians... and yet they seem to be such a common, cliche, statement for our culture to make, usually about religion, specifically, Christianity.

I have three observations to make.

First, Every time somebody says something like this, its easy to assume that this is relitivistic crap, religious pluralism. I'm beginning to think that really, this is not necessarily the case. This can simply mean, it is important to recognize that other people approach this differently, and we need to interact with these different views. I think a few use this language in this sense, and it is very easy to assume they mean the next meaning: that all of those interpretations should not only be treated equally, but that they are equal (i.e. all are fair representatives of truth).

I think it is important to always make sure to actually listen to what somebody is saying, something I know I so often struggle with. Just because what they say sounds like it disagrees, greater humility is needed to make sure "what it sounds like" is what they really mean. While I believe communication happens in a reliable way, there still is the 10% or more that breaks down due to our human inperfections, and often limited viewpoints.

Second, what is interesting is that, I fear this latter of the 2 meanings is a bit deceptive. While for the consistent post-modernist this is an epistemological claim that extends beyond religion, I think for most people that spout this what they really mean is that, the supernatural isn't true in the sense that it represents reality. Instead, it is a meaning for finding significance, explaining the unexplainable, enlightenment, etc. In this sense, any "interpretation" of course is valid -- its not representing something about reality, but something "spiritual" (i.e., abstract, philosophical, mental, emotional).

Why? Because honestly "all interpreations are equally true" never works, and even those who argue it, naturally, are arguing that that proposition is always true. Of course this all depends on what "true" means, but really, I think that everybody /for the most part/ opperates with "true" meaning that which corresponds to reality, i.e. Objectively true. To argue anything else would be a contradiction. "True for me" = I think this is truth.

Finally, what I'm getting at is I have been trying to reconcile why so much of our media is so thoroughly anti-supernatural still (i.e. naturalistic), yet it seems our post-modern culture is very open to religion / spirituality. This seems so contrary, the media is always spouting how God can't exist (viz. Katrina, and the "recent blow to Intelligent design by the ruling of a Judge).. and I am just wondering that, either these two are in opposition, or maybe our culture isn't as open to God, so much as open to "spirituality", whatever that means.

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