Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Onward and upward Christian soldiers?
I mean, all that systemizing and elaborate proof-texting and stacking up such wobbly eschatological houses of cards ... It's all very pseudoscientific and industrial, in its way. I'm just sayin'.
Oh, and don't forget! Be afraid! Be very, very afraid!
The enlightenment beat the crap out of Biblical narrative and mythology for centuries. Evangelicals came up with different strategies to cope.
One, the big miracles of the Bible were a matter of faith and outside of natural laws.
Two, to prove they belonged to modernity, conservative Protestants used new linguistic understanding at the micro-level of Biblical lexicology in order to assert conservative control of doctrine.
Three, to recapture the inspiration of God acting in human history at all times, mythology - beaten out of the Bible and the past - was rolled forward into the future where it was now out of reach of science and "human" "reason." So.... nuclear fission in Ezekiel, arctic Jews in Jeremiah, and modern Israel is a fig tree to be protected by the State Department in Foggy Bottom.
These three are combined on a groundwork of blind, conservative faith that both rejects and yet participates in modernity to create ideal theories of the future.
This is what looks like Comte, who built his ideal vision on a naive confidence in the ability of science (preeminently including what we call the social sciences) to perfect humankind.
Interestingly, post-modern academic evangelicalism is returning to Biblical narrative as a normative patterning model where post-modern breakdown of "truth" is baptized as "mystery."
They do this because deconstruction and other post-modern approaches helps them ignore the internal biblical references to external forces that shaped the Bible itself. If the reader composes, the reader can ignore the shapers and the fact that the shapers stand outside the text.
That's what just blows me away.
Dispensationalists are at the mercy of the Enlightenment and the later modernity, fighting eighteenth and nineteenth century battles (like Scofield and EL Ashley).
On the other hand, there are some contemporary evangelicals in the academy who are different from the kind ER is bringing up and who, instead of doing battle with modernity, are doing battle with post-modernity but similarly using post-modern tools behind their back where they can't see what they are doing.
Two different groups.
For some real fun, Feodor, go check out 4simpsons if you haven't yet. If you're lucky, you might get banned like ER, Alan, and I all have. He might even question your Christian faith, probably do that before he bans you.
Correction: Neil didn't ban me. He changed one of my comments, therefore I do not trust him, therefore, while I lurk occasionally, I haven't left a peep over there in a long time.
Incredible aid to understanding the Christian dilemma as it remains from the last two hundred years;
Hans Frei's The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics
Difficult, heavy, will influence your understanding for the rest of your life.
The man had the inelegance to die the week before I had seminar with him. He was the foundation to what is loosely called a Yale School of Theology that clustered four or five men in the eighties/nineties.
Personally I've always found his protestations regarding his own dancing and make-up wearing in the Nutcracker to be a tad well ... shall we say ... overcompensating.
Anyway, I indeed have been banned. ER is just a poser. :) I believe I was the first to be banned, actually, so in that respect you're all just pale imitations. ;) I've also been banned from Timmy's, and about half a dozen other blogs in case you're keeping score. I am. I mark a hash on the bezel of my monitor each time a fundie bans me. LOL.
(Oh, and every time I get banned, a fairy gets its wings.)