You are on page 1of 4

Rational Religion Christian Faith & the Force of the Better Reason 2013

The intellectual predilections of our time are to be found indwelling with the tents of utilitarianism, sentimentalism, and Gnosticism, which together inflect the whole realm of educational curricula under the banner of humanism (Koons 2010, p. 205). [] Utilitarianism finds itself at play in various discourses: the economic philosophy of the day (Skousen 2009, p. 122), the preeminent ethical philosophy among professional academics and opinion leaders (Goodin 1995, p. 3), managerial theory discourse with teleological views (Lynch 1997, p. 118); and, in religious discourse too, all versions of the prosperity gospel are thoroughly utilitarian in their orientation (Bowler 2013, p. 11; Nrnberger 2002, p. 32). [] Sentimentalism is the chief argument against a variety of social norms: for instance, the restriction of marriage to the consensual and productive partnership between men and women, recognised by the state has been opposed to symbolically accommodate a minority population of homosexuals at the cost of the real detriment of women and children in actual societies. The justification given has been the mere assertion that any discrimination of unions between consenting same sex couples and heterosexual couples amounts to a pathological and cruel denial of human dignity. [] Gnosticism describes quite precisely the essence of what it means for an individual or a collective to immanentize the eschaton, transferring the hoped-for infinite value of salvation from the next world to the future of this one, as Voegelin qualifies the critical term (Koons 2010, p. 205). Philosophers committed to any of the various customisable varieties of anti-realism, and thinkers given to the task of magically producing some inchoate revolution are gnostics in the strong sense; and, of their profusion there is no shred of doubt today! The nexus of these pieties could be hardly benign: equating the hedonic calculus with moral propriety [a], arbitrary and volatile popular opinion with the criteria for normative judgement [b], and the superstitious belief among highly educated people in the possibility of mystical ascesis from the human condition by revolutionary, or eschatological, means [c] are all of a piece with a world that is committed only to self-preservation and excess. Having failed to retain his residency in paradise man is putting paid to the very grounds of his reason by abandoning all discernments of value. Transposing the very dualism in each person which resists his absolute determination as good or evil impulsions onto the contents of the world, as though it were but a divided house standing on ones insipid fantasies (Groothius 2011, p. 347) and Gods procession in the world

(Harris 1997, p. 101) were but the imaginary relation of symbols (iek 2002, p. 1421) as in the mind of some crazed theorist. As Robert Brandom rightly points out ones exploration of semantic relations (including pragmatically mediated ones) among vocabularies of antecedent philosophical interest need not be motivated by some global, monolithic program, such as empiricism or naturalism. The merit or benefit of the analytic project is not hostage to such programs, for the distinctive kind of understanding it aims at is not. That understanding can be well served by accumulating particular, local connections that support no antecedent global program and perhaps could be predicted by none Nor must the search for such semantic relations among vocabularies and the discursive practices-or-abilities they specify or that deploy them be motivated by some deep-seated philosophical anxiety or puzzlement, the proper deflating diagnosis of which then exhibits or renders the task of exploring those relations otiose. Simple curiosity, the desire to deepen our understanding, can suffice as much for this sort of philosophical theorizing as for the empirical scientific variety (2008, p. 227). Accordingly, as a corollary, if we begin from the global belief in the truth of the Christian faith, and its creedal affirmations as recognised by the Bible, we can be assured that the strength of the best reasons, including ones that remain to become explicit to us, will be found to be in consonance with the will of God. The only assumption entailed in the above position of the believer is that he takes God to be omniscient (Proverbs 8), in the sense of having access to the totality of vocabularies that are sufficient to elaborate another set of autonomous discursive practices (Brandom 2008). Indeed, there is no reason to imagine that what belongs to reasonable judgements does not partake of its reasonability and incompatibility with falsehood, or confusion, in its being through God (Koons 2003, p. 29) independently of the believers living commitments. And, though the being of God in Himself is made explicit to us according to our mortal frames, and in His participation in human history so by this we may affirm the analogy of human and divine natures, even accessing it through intuition or angeschaut in Hegels parlance, since we belong to the momentariness of our existence, He remains mysteriously cloaked by the blindness of our reasonings in the larger scheme of the real which has yet to effectuate potential into actuality (Moyar & Quante 2008, p. 132). Now, though the light is obscured by the clouds man puts his faith in the eventual rending of the darkness, even so where faith is placed in Gods ways which are those of reason itself we may be assured of continued guidance. Thus, it is the duty of all believers to justify themselves the state of their intellections, desires and hopes in light of Gods historical revelation in the incarnation, the crucifixion,

1 The way of the superego is precisely that of the sacrifice to the obscure gods of which Lacan speaks: the reassertion of the barbaric violence of the savage obscene law in order to fill in the gap of the failing symbolic law. iek, Slavoj. (2002).

the resurrection, and the Biblical explications of the Will of God even as these, and all other aspects of knowledge and wisdom in us, continue to illuminate our subjection to reason. Bearing our witness to his promise that in the days after the Christ has been among us we will be led by the Spirit of God, or by His revelations through the Word. Religion in its commitment to the will of God must enjoin the believer to align his will with His, in conformity with the lights of reason and the sweetness of the Good News. In this spirit must all inquiry and curiosity must be dedicated unto the lord of all creation, so even philosophy may partake of eternal wisdom in salutary, if meagre, morsels that do much to nourish the believing soul.

Works Cited
Brandom, Robert, B. (2008). Between Saying and Doing: Towards an Analytic Pragmatism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Print. Bowler, Kate. (2013). Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Print. Copan, Paul & Moser, Paul, K. (2003). Koons, Robert, C. 4 Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict. The Rationality of Theism. New York, NY: Routledge. Print. PP. 72- 90. Groothius, Douglas. (2011). Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. Print. Harris, Henry, S. (1997). Hegels Ladder: I. The Pilgrimage of Reason. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Print. Koons, Robert, C. (2010). The War of the Three Humanisms: Irving Babbitt and the Revival of Classical Learning. Modern Age. Vol. 52, No. 3 Summer 2010: 198-207. Accessed on July 17, 2013. See < >. Web. Lynch, Thomas, D. & Cruise, Peter, L. (2005). Handbook of Organizational Theory and Management: The Philosophical Approach. Print. Moyar, Dean & Quante, Michael. (2008). Pinkard, Terry. What is a shape of spirit?. Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit: A Critical Guide. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Print. PP. 112- 129. Nrnberger, Klaus. (2002). Theology of the Biblical Witness: An Evolutionary Approach. London, UK: Lit Verlag. Print. Skousen, Mark. (2009). The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of Great Thinkers. 2nd Edition. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe. Print. The Holy Bible. King James Version. New York, NY: Ivy Books. Print. iek, Slavoj. (2002). Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates. New York, NY: Verso. Print.