A Thought

The death of metaphysics, the end of an objective “out-there-ness” that we could analyze the “right-here-ness” with, has left us with the realization that all we have are stories, ideologies, and myths.  And even that is its own story, ideology, and myth.  “The knife that Nietzsche slew God with is the same one that he slit his own wrist upon.”  But that’s not my thought…

My thought is this: if relativism is created in the wake of the death of certainty–isn’t fundamentalism also?  Could it be that fundamentalism is the shadow side of relativism?  Doesn’t a person simply feel even more entitled to live into their own story knowing that no one can tell them otherwise?  And isn’t communitarian-ism (the idea of particular communities deciding what is right for them) the democratic form of fundamentalism?

I’m just realizing that there are always consequences for what we buy into…or don’t…

We do not live in a vacuum, as it were.

And I’m still wrestling with Sartre’s “I cannot simply go on a moral holiday.”

Everything effects everything…

complexity/ambiguity DO NOT equate relativism

Whenever people first learn basic concepts of post-modernism I imagine that they have the same type of reactions I’ve had…initial gut reaction against…desperately annoyed at the “relativistic” ooey gooey hippy all roads lead to right-ville sort of attitude…and then they go to the same extremes as I’ve done also–all roads really DO lead to right-ville…everything is equal–they’re all just perspectives and interpretations anyway etc…

But somewhere after the knee jerk reaction or the total and elementary embrace there comes a more nuanced understanding of post modern reality…

I can’t think of any better commentator on this than Pete Rollins–the author of an amazing book called “How (Not) To Speak of God”…he’s a philosopher, theologian, and emerging Christ follower from Ireland.

Anyhow…here’s a quote that was just recently on his blog…you can get the full article here.  But I think it brings a real degree of clarity for those of us who are wondering how to live in the tension of NOT wanting to pander to arrogant absolutism or decadent relativism:

…we must remember that the celebration of doubt, ambiguity and complexity in life (virtues I have spent a great deal of time defending) do not in any way lead to some kind of ‘all narratives are equally valid’ position. While we may wish to avoid the absolute claims of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with regards to different expressions of faith, that does not mean that we are unable use the best evidence available to ascertain whether a certain expression of faith is ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, ‘damaging’ or ‘healing’, ‘beneficial’ or ‘detrimental’. Take the example of the scientific method. By applying this scientists avoid the closed idea of a true description of phenomenon in favour of a theory that provides the best description. These theories can range from fragile (e.g. String theory) to almost irrefutable (e.g. gravity), but they are never totally closed. In the same way we can, for example, argue that the faith expressed in documentaries such as ‘Jesus Camp’ and ‘Audience of One’ are deeply unhealthy, not through reference to religious dogma, but through reference to critical reflection.

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