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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Father Elijah on Liberalism and Fundamentalism

It’s easy to show that neither of the extreme contrary positions, the fundamentalist nor the ‘spongy’ [ie. Bishop Spong's position] one, holds. It’s a lot harder to formulate the golden middle.

The fundamentalists say the literal meaning is absolute. But as the Bible often contradicts itself, you end up believing how they interpret. Unfortunately, this is contradictory in itself, because nowhere it’s written in the Bible that I have to interpret it literally or that I have to believe what fundamentalists say.

The whole concept of ‘only the Scripture’ (in Latin ‘sola scriptura’) leads to absurdity. It just can not be true, because nowhere you will find these words in the Scripture. By saying that you must not add anything to the Scripture, you are adding something to the Scripture.

Stephan says: "I always lie' is a paradox because if it is true it must be false"

But it’s not a paradox but an absurdity. The simple fact of saying ‘the Scripture is the Word of God’ implies adding ‘through living man being inspired’. So when we read the Bible we have to choose some authority for its interpretation and also trust that we ourselves can really find its meaning.

Yes, Gods Word is given to us – full of paradoxes of real life that provoke us to scrutinize the mystery. While reading the Scripture in faith I implicitly found my meditations on two kinds of 'infallibilities' that help to overcome the paradoxes and touch the mystery: the one of the authority I recognize at that moment and the on ... my own search of truth!

Fundamentalist are like stuffing their grandfather and saying: “he’s such a nice man”. But a stuffed grandfather is a dead grandfather. There won’t be much communication. The spongy modernists want to adapt the Scripture to naïve bourgeois idealism,

Dave says: "who are looking for a satisfactory philosophy of life ."

They analyse the Scripture to death by reading it as a breakfast tabloid, and completely neglect the fact that it’s written for their personal commitment in life. Thus the Scripture has no meaning at all, neither historic nor spiritual, and they end up not believing anything at all.

The modernist are like dissecting their grandfather and saying: we know him so well. But before you dissect someone, you first have to kill him. And you’ll never know a dead person very well. Not much communication either…

Stephan said: "the meaning frequently changes. WOW"

But I’d say to be more precise: it gives us new meanings; its personal meaning for us develops.

About Stephan’s ‘unconventional Christian thinking’, I’m a bit wary of hypnosis and the subconscious. I wouldn’t like to prove anything about what’s 'up there' from what goes on deep 'down under' in me (though in Australia that might be the other way round? ), although it might be a sign. We progress towards the Absolute on the level where we are more than just conscious or not, that is, where our spirit full aware of its choices and searches the truth.


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