Monday, May 05, 2008

More Book Commentary

From my web page:

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Truth can be so much harder hitting than fiction. The book refers to itself as "A Story of Violent Faith" and it tells the story of the darker side of religious life here in Utah. I think its subtitle is fitting and actually speaks to most faiths. There is a Professor who has recently put forth the thesis that "monotheism is inherently violent". I wish I could dismiss that notion quickly, but it can be a stinging truth.

Everyone in Christian circles gets all in a bunch over spiritual relativism (the idea that everyone has their own path and no pursuit is more or less valuable). Walter Brueggemann does an interesting talk where he puts forth the notion that absolutism is no less harmful. Absolutism, he says, invariably leads to denial. Reading this book, you can see the ultimate destination of absolutism. When self reflection stops, when one can no longer look critically at one's own theology and philosophy; suffering is the outcome.

2 comments:

societyvs said...

"Walter Brueggemann does an interesting talk where he puts forth the notion that absolutism is no less harmful. Absolutism, he says, invariably leads to denial"

This is a good point - no matter what someone wants to think - absolutism can lead one to denial of actual facts (and be very harmful).

I just read a story about a mother and father who prayed for their diabetic daughter - while she was very sick - and refused to take her to the hospital because they thought 'prayer will do'. Their type of absolutism was foolish and disasterous.

I have noticed this with orthodoxy and the holding of stringent views on faith - as you mention - monothesitic faiths (who all think they are the 'way') - having some vicious struggles (and parts of the worlds conflict).

For me, the danger is more absolutism as compared to not holding views as strongly (liberalism or whatever they call it). The absolutist camp does swing into ideals of 'murder' fairly more often than the 'liberalist' camp - my observation. But that's what happens when your sooooo sure you're right that all other have to 'bow down' to it.

Redlefty said...

Sounds like my kind of book!

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