Saturday, July 21, 2012
Are you exactly like me? Do we exactly agree? There's a very unfortunate impulse in much of evangelicalism and in almost all of fundamentalism towards this kind of extreme exactitude. But ironically it's not only an impulse we see on the traditional right (of course I only use this term in its narrow modern American context). Every strain of belief has its outliers who are prone to this kind of dichotomous, either/or, us/them, Manichean, concrete thinking and behavior. We see it in the various nationalisms which pop up with disturbing regularity. We see it in the close relative of ethnic allegiances which can, and often do, turn into outright racism. We see it in religious discourse, both between starkly different claims of religious truth, but also, and sometime much more viciously, in internecine battles among folks who largely agree on the basics. See the wars of religion in Europe, all among self professed Christians. And of course nowadays, we're seeing it between the warring sects of Muslim on Muslim violence, which is actually more deadly than Muslim on non Muslim violence. But if some folks feel confident concerning their own superiority regarding this matter, because they're so beyond all of that silly superstition, may I suggest a sobering reality check? What of secular exactitude? What of materialist exactitude which violently discounts any other explanation, not just rhetorically, but historically, including the wholesale slaughter of anyone who didn't fit the new "Soviet" style human? Ask those who lived under this particular materialist paradise what it was like to differ from the party line? That is, if they're still alive... By the way, I'm not being an apologist for any particular ideological system here. I'm being an apologist for an asymmetrical reality which recognizes that differences will ALWAYS exist in our midst. Our systems of governance, and even more importantly, our own thinking must allow that variety will always exist, and, in fact, makes life richer and much more verdant. And lastly, I'm not saying that each and every view is equal. That everyone is equally right and equally wrong in their assessment of reality. There IS truth and yes there ARE lies. Maybe all I'm trying to say, like I've been saying for several years now, is that we ALL see through a glass darkly. But admitting to that is a good clue to having actually seen a deeper light than what most have seen or thought they saw. After all, those with the greatest insights have admitted to their own blindness. My point exactly.