The notion is reflected commonly in popular discourse. Humans wreck the planet and the earth, the universe, or nature ‘fights back’. Noah’s flood, local or global is nothing compared to what our angry step-mother-nature will do if we don’t change our ways and look after the planet better… Makes an entertaining novel, movie, etc.
Because in our culture, we are quite OK with the idea of nature (which has no personality, intentions or consciousness!) being the judge of humanity; but as for God (who is personal, intentional and omniscient), that is simply not acceptable…
Just watched The Changeling with my wife (‘endured’ would be the term she’d use!), and really enjoyed it. There are some real gut-wrenching moments in there, which I won’t elaborate on here.
One thing I found interesting was the particular (and familiar) feeling of deep satisfaction and relief I (and my wife – and anyone with a pulse) when the ‘code 12′ women were freed from the mental hospital, and when the lawyer offered to defend her pro bono. It’s just that familiar, deep-seated, very human feeling we all get when the right thing is done – when a horrible injustice is righted. The opening scene of Amistad, where the slaves on the slave ship break loose and take over the ship, though violent and bloody, also provoked that same feeling – that kind of fist-pumping ‘yeah!’ feeling. Emotions aren’t infallible, and in terms of epistemology I don’t think any source of knowledge is (reason, logic, etc.); but sometimes they (emotions) can be very, very good conductors of Truth.
And I love how immediate, every-day, down-to-earth, and universal these kinds of emotions are. No philosophy degrees needed here, no deep pondering or reflection, just deep, gut-level ‘knowing’ that – though we don’t know everything – we know that we know that we know ‘this is right’.
Posted in ethics, philosophy
Tagged emotion, enlightenment, epistemology, fact, facts, feelings, intuition, justice, logic, reason, the changeling, truth
I picked up a copy of Gustavo Gutierrez‘s ‘A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation‘ for a) my growing interest in the biblical theme of ‘Freedom’/'Liberation’, and b) the ‘Themes in a Missional Spirituality’ block-course I’ll be taking this semester at Carey Baptist College – with guest lecturer – and author and theologian – Charles Ringma (very exciting!).
He ends the Conclusion with this:
We must be careful not to fall into intellectual self-satisfaction, into a kind of triumphalism of erudite and advanced ‘new’ visions of Christianity. The only thing that is really new is to accept day by day the gift of the Spirit, who makes us love – in our concrete options to build a true human fellowship, in our historical initiatives to subvert an order of injustice – with the fullness with which Christ loved us. To paraphrase a well-known text of Pascal, we can say that all the political theologies, the theologies of hope, of revolution, and of liberation, are not worth one act of genuine solidarity with exploited social classes. They are not worth one act of faith, love, and hope, committed – in one way or another – in active participation to liberate humankind from everything that dehumanizes it and prevents it from living according to the will of the Father. (p.174)
…I will be attempting to add various posts over at The Humanitarian Chronicle.
‘Coz I love Frank and TEARFund…
Posted in ethics, www
Tagged justice, web
Anyone who has a knee jerk (i.e. less than critical) reaction to political events in general and the recent U.S. stimulus package in particular, should shut up and think before ranting.
That said, I just don’t like the thought (much less the passing) of the new stimulus package (and I’m not at all anti-Obama – to be crystal clear). $US838 BILLION – on what I can’t help but see as a kind of massively over-sized whallop to a horse that is eventually going to die. Yes, I’m aware of the complexity to all this, and No, I don’t think there are any quick fixes. But I still cannot understand or begin to support spending nearly a trillion dollars on trying to preserve the “American Way of Life” ™.
What kind of precedent are we setting for future generations? What are we saying to the rest of the world – much of which is living in some mild or severe form of poverty; a different kind of poverty indeed to the ‘poverty’ some are facing in ‘developed’ nations around the world.
Some may think, “Oh, but financial prosperity for the ‘rich west’ will enable them to be generous to the ‘poor rest’…” That kind of capitalistic mentality (a.k.a. ‘the rising tide will lift many small boats’) is utter Bull. Greed does not engender generosity.
Instead of our bank account levels needing to go ‘up’, we need our standard of living to go ‘down’ to a realistic and sustainable place. And as long as ‘going out and spending money to stimulate the economy’ is part of doing your ‘patriotic duty’, then I think I want to be unpatriotic.
Posted in ethics, politics
Tagged advertising, change, consumerism, culture, current event, death, discernment, ethics, evil, justice, life, morals, politics, poverty, stewardship
It’s ‘inorganic rubbish collection’ time in Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand.
Northcote street-sides are loaded down with previously-wanted, cheaply-made, briefly-enjoyed and hastily-discarded stuff.
Interestingly, a rather large percentage of the items you’ll see piled outside homes in the area can be seen in pre-broken, pre-rusted or pre-outdated condition in store advertising fliers like the “Outdoor Living ’08” catalogue from the Warehouse (the near-exact New Zealand equivalent of ‘Wal-Mart’ – that corporation-of-all-corporations emanating from the U.S.).
Yes, the American disease of paying far-too-little for far-too-much is migrating shopping mall by shopping mall to New Zealand. Continue reading
Posted in ethics
Tagged complacency, consumerism, creation, culture, current event, death, dignity, ethics, evil, humanity, justice, life, morals, poverty, spirituality, stewardship, temptation, truth, wisdom
Epistemology is (loosely defined) as the study of knowledge.
As the ending of this very sentence will show, it is circular to assume ( that is, before investigation or a priori ) that you know what it means to know something (i.e. that you know what knowledge is!). Continue reading
Posted in philosophy, theology
Tagged atheism, belief, change, culture, debate, epistemology, ethics, evil, faith, god, humanity, identity, justice, Law, learning, life, love, morals, order, philosophy, random, relationships, religion, science, significance, theism, truth, worldview
In this sermon to head-masters/mistresses, Wright touches on quite a few important concerns – especially for our time. In particular, he focuses on at least two examples of foolishness ( 1) economic foolishness demonstrated in the current ‘crisis’, and 2) the foolishness of the so-called ‘evolution-creation debate’) and the need for wisdom. Good stuff, Bishop.
Posted in bible, christianity, www
Tagged belief, change, christianity, consumerism, creation, culture, current event, debate, discernment, ethics, evil, evolution, faith, god, humanity, interpretation, jesus, justice, learning, life, morals, N.T. Wright, politics, religion, science, theology, truth, wisdom
Anthropocentric Ethics – In Ancient & Modern Perspective
The author/composer/poet/community which produced the text we know of as Genesis 1 observed many things. Just one of these is the uniqueness of humans in relation to our environment.
Day and night, earth and sky, sea and land, vegetation, and fruits, creatures great and tiny, both in the sea and on land…
And then behold – human beings. These humans are at the pinnacle of creation and are invested with the task and responsibility of governing the entire earth. Continue reading
Posted in christianity, ethics, philosophy, theology
Tagged art, belief, change, christianity, community, conflict, creation, culture, death, dignity, ethics, evil, faith, god, heaven, hope, humanity, interpretation, justice, learning, life, love, morals, order, peace, poverty, relationships, religion, spirituality, suffering, theology, truth, wisdom