The New Age – a postevangelical view

Tierazon1 fractal (Jack Haas)

Despite my naturally pedantic approach to language, I find that there are a few words or phrases that remain stuck on my tongue and in my head. My lifelong struggle against cliché and bad habits is tainted by this clutch of problematic symbols that like Pauls thorn, seem to resist my every effort in the battle to say what I mean and mean to be as fresh, new and creative as is humanly possible. One such phrase is “New Age”.

I first became aware of it while at the start of a journey which took me to the heart of charismatic evangelicalism, almost 30 years ago. What I remember this pejorative usage implying was false, relativistic, disembodied and uncommitted spirituality.

These are a few things from popular culture which in my experience are deemed “New Age”:

  • Dreamy Celtic vocals and Vollenwieder harp music,
  • Any spirituality which identified strongly with nature,
  • Symbols like mandalas, rainbows, fractals or the Ying-Yang,
  • Interfaith points of view,
  • Any Eastern thinking at all (except for Watchman Nee),
  • Jungian views of the psyche, dream analysis, the collective unconscious,
  • References to star signs and horoscopes,
  • The Healing Arts,
  • Mysticism in general,
  • Almost everything that did not affirm a literalistic, absolutist reading of the Protestant Bible.

It’s time to deconstruct the catch-all. James Herrick’s book “The making of the new spirituality – The eclipse of the Western Tradition” is excellent as a reference for the strands of culture, thought and religious tradition which have influenced our notion of New Age. Note though that I am not a fan of his axe-grinding, anti-”revealed word” agenda, but his historical scholarship is extremely useful.

Following are examples of Modern Western people and traditions Herrick enumerates (expanded slightly by me):

  • The hermetic tradition, Kabbalah, European mysticism and Astrology,
  • Biblical criticism,
  • Rationalism,
  • The Mind as Divine Healing force,
  • Science replacing religion as arbiter of truth,
  • The New Physics – relativity, quantum, chaos, superstring and systems theory,
  • Darwin and Natural selection,
  • Teilhard de Chardin and mystical evolutionism,
  • Science Fiction (including UFO’s) as a replacement for traditional eschatology,
  • Pantheism in the Western world,
  • The Re-emergence of Gnosticism,
  • Modern Shamanism, occultism, theosophy, and spiritualism,
  • One world religion and Cosmic Christ consciousness.

We would do well to understand all on their own terms, if we are to reappraise the meaning of New Age. It must be noted that the precedents for these span many centuries back into our history, and are not as some would expect, a mere 3 or 4 decades old.

And to further expand, allow me to add the following trends:

  • The fallout of the 1960′s – hyper-individualism, expressive libertarian culture, rebellion and revolution, drugs as a path to enlightenment,
  • The rediscovery of earthy, bodily rhythm (over abstract, cerebral harmony, which “died” around 1950 after a reign of some 1200 years) as the dominant musical foundation – rock, world music and electronica,
  • New awareness of Eastern wisdom from Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism: chakras, emptying, ecstatic and trance states,
  • The embrace of primal cultural wisdom such as Ubuntu, Native American Spirituality and Mayan prophecy,
  • And expansion of our idea of Sacred Texts beyond the Christian cannons,
  • Recreation and Entertainment as Sacred – Trance music and Rave culture,
  • Virtual Reality as a path to transcendence,
  • Technology and information as a connecting and unifying force,
  • Ecological activism,
  • Romantic, sentimental, popularist spiritualities,
  • A shared, global, consumerist dream,
  • The new “evangelical” atheism as well as the apophatic (negative theology) trends from within Christianity.

Now the real work for those in and around the post/evangelical tradition is to appraise these factors in the light of faith, and revelation. For us, this will undoubtedly mean reconciling the Bible and our reading it, with the challenges to this from these traditions.

I am not going to attempt this here; all I wish to do is provide a starting framework for dealing with the matter of The New Age intelligently, creatively, wisely and non-defensively.  But here are a few posts which begin to take on some of the specifics:

By deconstructing and reconstituting our understanding of The New Age, I would hope to build up our faith and keep abreast of the changing times without resorting, like the proverbial ostrich, to burying our heads in the sands of cliché. That approach will only ultimately lead to ignorance, irrelevance  and an inability to relate to this Gods world in the 21st Century.

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20 Comments »

  1. I live in a town with strong community of New Agers. What you say in your post, makes the movement whole lot more interesting and appealing than it is here. Most self-identified New Agers seem to be obsessed with “creating” their own reality. I do believe we create our own reality, but this sort of narrow thinking seems to obsessed with controlling what happens in our lives instead of seeking a deep and meaningful connection to the Creator. It mostly comes out as spirituality-lite. On the other hand, I have been deeply influenced by many of the trends you mention above which is part of why I never find a solid fit for myself in any organized religion. It gives me hope that you wrestle with these issues. It’s part of why I have kept reading your blog over the years.

    • Nic Paton said

      POB – wonderful to hear and see you.
      Thanks for your report from the frontier. I very much concur in your view concerning “spirituality-lite”. I am seeking a synthesis of classic spritual practice with the “new” stuff that is bubbling up into our consciousness. True post modernity is not cheap exchange based on individualistic whims, but a revisiting our sources. And our sources were deply rooted in struggle, suffering, and sanctification. Bonhoeffer calls it Costly Grace.

      There is a post-christendom backlash (to be expected, after all) which rejects a lot of these things, but I fear, does not have the depth of rooting to survive. But all this messiness is a result of being missionally active, so I am encouraged.

  2. J said

    Mr. Paton, though you indicate a hint of the following realization as well , so pardon me if the following seems redundant , but the term ‘New Age’ is often used as too large an umbrella term .

    Many of those phenomenon that you mentioned that some people label New Age are NOT New Age … which is to say phenomenon like rationalism (the old rationalism of people like Descartes, the Renaissance Platonists, or Kant, or even 20 century newer forms of rationalism like the writings of Rudolf Carnap not to be confused with the militant atheists who *falsely* call themselves rationalists) certainly is NOT New Age. which is to sat that it does NOT belong in the same classification of ways oft hinking as trash like the silly writings of Shirley MacLaine about “past lives”, nor the silly Celestine Prophect, nor the Secret by Rhonda Bynes …which is mendacious bunk . Rationalism does NOT belong in the same classification as the sort of murky, obscurantist junk as the crap written by so called “channellers” with so called discarnate entities speaking through them as “mediums” like that silly Ramtha business .

    Neither do the writings of Teilhard De Chardin and those like him .Teilhard presented a very profoundly Jesus based view of creation wherefore Jesus was central, and it makes on cringe to think how the New Age “all is one” crowd tries to coopt the writings of Teilhard De Chardin. Teilhard in one of the writings he wrote(..it may have been The Divine Mileu, if memory serves rightly) warned against crude pantheism .

    Much of the problem with New Age thinking (as separate from and *not* to be confused with more analytical and specific forms of mysticism and esotericism) is a penchant towards glossing over distinctions …or making the claim that any distinction between categories is somehow supposedly an “illusion” and that all is one . That is bad approach to ontology and bad approach to epistemology .

    Some sub-variants of New Ageism even allege that pain and suffering are an illusion and so there is no great onus on anyone to extend sympathy and compassion to those who suffer …which indeed a reprehensible way of thinking . Indeed we do certainly have a duty to extend abundant sympathy and mercy unto those who suffer and relieve the suffering.

    Similar to that sub-variant is a way of thinking that claims that suffering is only bad according to some perspective , but that the suffering of people and animals , according to that variant of New Age thinking is all just some matter of opinion /so-called “perspective” …and that it is somehow not inherently undesirable they claim that living creatures and people suffer …or that it is somehow merely a “growing experience”. <—That way of thinking has to quote playright Tennessee Williams 'the smell of mendacity' .

    Much of such New Age thinking has that trite , mendacious , platitude like quality in general that glosses over the gravity of unethical conduct/injustice …and unwarranted suffering .

    The thinking of people like Jesus who gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan , St.Francis, Tolstoy, Albert Schweitzer, and countless others who reject the "blessing in disguise" platitudes and exhort us , instead, to roll up our sleeves and help our fellow human beings (and animals to) and fix the problems of the world , is so much far superior to the mendacity of much of the New Age thinking .

    It is imperative in unpacking the issue, that we recognize that NOT all mysticism ..nor even all of the approach of incorporating and borrowing some good insights from eastern religious traditions such as Vedanta, some of the better thinkers among the Buddhists, Taoism, Sufiism , and so on …NOT all of it is New Age . There can be interfaith edification across religious lines that does *not* degenerate into full blown religious pluralism and New Ageism .

    (Granted , let me state, as an aside, that *some* of the music under the New Age label, like the music of the Wyndham Hill composers is rather good) ..

    Yet so much of the self-help "all is one" /create your own reality/ ideation that more properly falls under the heading of New Age, is bad for a variety of reasons … and I state that NOT on the usual fundamentalist /evangelical plain vanilla grounds .

    For one, it is so amorphous and hence banal . Furthermore, as a corollary of it being amorphous and banal , it dis-courages accuracy and intricate ways of thinking . Much of it fosters a mood that does not like specific detail to any great extent…. or at least not the sort of detail that has conceptual subtelty .

    Platonism …which is very different and separate from New Age thinking… has a lot of *conceptual subtelty* . New Age thinking (as the term New Age is usually referenced ) , has little, if any conceptual subtelty .

    In such New Age thinking an amalgamated Big Picture is prized and specific details and distinctions are thrown away .

    Much of the nomenclature of New Age movement talk is so equivocal and amorphous . The term 'energy' (for example) is loosely bandied about without any attempt at specific conceptual clarification .

    Physics textbooks have long defined the term 'energy' as

    'the ability to do work' .

    Yet when one hears New Agers use the term 'energy' used in statements about , "projecting thought energy" to bring about a change in their life or similar utterances one wonders how that matches to the notion in physics of the ability to do work .

    Many of the New Age books, films , and so on (such as Rhonda Byrne's The Secret) latch on to a cursory rendition of some statements in quantum physics, and spin doctor it and hype it taking wide liberties with metaphors …playing fast and loose , till there is an equivocal mishmash of terms with no consistent structure as to even provisional attempts at conceptual boundaries, let alone actual conceptual boundaries .

    In the list of activities and ways of thinking that some people have labelled New Age you made reference to efforts to celebrate sentimentality as a kind of spiritual endeavor …I must also state that such a phenomenon is NOT New Age either and is quite a worthwhile endeavor . The practice of doing that is quite ancient and can be found in the arts and in literature …and even in the daily life and crafts of groups like the Shakers . William Blake in the art and literature he crafted gave us a very *old* example of doing that which was far from New Age…and did NOT involve any woo woo about reincarnated this or that hogwash .

    Which reminds me it is important that we revitalize sentimentality and see that it is cultivated on a far more precious level . Rescue it from kitsch . So I have thought about titling a future essay (that I hope to write and/or post one day) 'Rescuing Sentimentality From Kitsch ' .

    What do you think regarding that as a title for the essay .?

    One of the interesting observations i have read about the spiritual is from the austrian writer Robert Musil who apparently wrote that the problem ,

    'was not that we have too much intellect and not enough soul, but rather that we do not have enough intellect in matters of the soul .'

    Here Robert Musil uses what is called the editorial 'we' …not necessarily the personal use of the pronoun 'we ' to reference a generalization about humanity.

    It seems that such a prediament affects society more than ever .

    • Nic Paton said

      Yes – Ramtha came over to me as very suspect, in the otherwise interesting thesis of “What the bleep do we know”.

      Indeed, Teihard sails close to the wind – appearing pantheist but is I agree certainly not so.

      I see you point out the direct influence of the Indian mysticisms on New Age thought. I am presently an agnostic student of the posture which sees suffering based on ignorence and illusion. FOr me there is a necessary redress of balance between Eastern and Western notions of sin and suffering.

      Wyndham Hill in my view is a second generation genre based on Manfred Eichers ECM records. I see Eicher as a towering influence in new music since 1967. But Wyndam Hill although often very beautiful do illustrate a certain shallowing of music.

      Good point on NA lack of “distinction” – I explore this in “A crisis of particularity”.

      I think “Rescuing Sentimentality From Kitsch” is taking the sword of truth and dividing asunder the cliche wherein these 2 things have been undersatood as one and the same. Go for it Jason!

      • J said

        Nic Paton Posts :Yes – Ramtha came over to me as very suspect, in the otherwise interesting thesis of “What the bleep do we know”.

        Indeed, Teihard sails close to the wind – appearing pantheist but is I agree certainly not so.

        I see you point out the direct influence of the Indian mysticisms on New Age thought. I am presently an agnostic student of the posture which sees suffering based on ignorence and illusion. FOr me there is a necessary redress of balance between Eastern and Western notions of sin and suffering.

        Wyndham Hill in my view is a second generation genre based on Manfred Eichers ECM records. I see Eicher as a towering influence in new music since 1967. But Wyndam Hill although often very beautiful do illustrate a certain shallowing of music.

        Good point on NA lack of “distinction” – I explore this in “A crisis of particularity”.

        I think “Rescuing Sentimentality From Kitsch” is taking the sword of truth and dividing asunder the cliche wherein these 2 things have been undersatood as one and the same. Go for it Jason!

        Response : Thank you Mr.Paton, on the words of encouragement —in regard to the book about rescuing sentimentality from kitsch…since as you explain sadly people conflate the two .

        I’m going to have to look into Manfred Eicher . I love experimental music and that might be some good stuff .

        Yes, Ramtha is suspect allright.

        It saddens me that there are peole out there who might conflate even the most subtle types of esoteric and poetically spiritual thinkers …people like Teilhard De Chardin or the nature writer Annie Eillard (authoir of Pilgrim At Tinker Creek) in the same category as those Ramtha and Shirley MacLaine or Ceslestine Prophecy types when the differences are as vast as night and day .

        It is sad that such insipid stuff as the Ramtha pulp would detract people away from deeper forms of spirtuality .

        As for the mysticism of India. Well there have been some proponents of the suffering as illusion sort of unsympathetic thinking in the religious thought of India, however, there have been some Hindu thinkers like Gandhi who apparently did not jive with that suffering as illusion sort of way of thinking . He was quite the humanitarian and sought to alleviate suffering for the poor …being a man of great sympathy .He also held the teaching of Jesus in high regard .

        One notion however that you mentioned that I do find rather disconcerting ..is that you mentioned the word balance with approval in the above text. Granted you mentioned it in reference to a balance in the redress between the eastern and western notions of sin and suffering .

        I’ve got to state that whenvever i hear the word balance …used in any other context then a physical one…Granted balance between physical extremes like heat and cold , balance between too much eating and two little, balanced physical exercise is well taken …yet whenvever people try to apply balance to more abstract qualities of thought …the concern with the lure of duplicity does loom large.

        That leads to the insight that the middle ground between any two extreme polarities is not the best ground . Concurrently in brings to mind the perennial insight that if a quality is intrinsically good, then it should be taken to extremes …not balanced / not tempered with a contrary quality .

        The weird doctrine fo the golden mean is a about the worst doctrine that has ever been propounded . For consistency mandates that if a given quality is *intrinsically* desirable it should be maximized , NOT practiced in moderation . Hence balance which seeks a little nonconsistency…a little diluting of the manifestation of intrinsic value , is a bad quality .

        There is a tendency almost on an inchoate level , for people in the present era to seek a middle ground whenever they hear of two extremely polarized positions , to want the middle ground and take a stance that is somehow in the middle .

        Of course all such cogitation is based on how that rigid consistency is of paramount importance for without rigid consistency the approach to all value all goals becomes an anti-climatic affair not necessarily in action …but also in thought and integrity governs not merely the outer form of the results achieved but also motivations adn intentions first .

        Hence, and the following declarations is *not* to make a big to do about the matter in an acerbic way, or to presume that you are neccessarily opposed to the notion of such a single mimded sort, but I mention it in order

        Relativsm / the postmodern approach is howver one that tends to reject rigid total consistency for someone and to advocate balance .

        One of the notions I must highlight is that balance for the sake of balance is not good.

        Though common ground can be established by groups of people who have some overlapping goals even though they may take different stances on other matters . Yet middle ground , that wants a bargain amongst dual poistions seeks to diliute committent to uphold beliefs in favor of a moderate take on things , poes the dangerous of a namby pamby creeping in someties slowly .

        Oh, and I dop want to read the essay you posted on the crisis of particularity .

      • nic paton said

        Jason you are a very original thinker. I respect you taking “balance” to task, and for standing up for radicality. I especially like your words, “if a quality is intrinsically good, then it should be taken to extremes”.

        But the only problem with this is, at what point do we fully and absolutely percieve intrinsically good quality? Surely we are never at the point of absolute wisdom, but always straining towards it? If so, to honour the journey would imply some ambiguity between knowing and unknowing, at least?

        I think we differ in our approaches to journey. Brian McLaren puts it well, “Statements lead to a State, Questions lead to a Quest.” I am pretty much on a Quest, but every so often stop to do a “rain check”, and make a statement. There, I said it, in writing.

  3. Don Rogers said

    “The embrace of primal cultural wisdom such as Ubuntu, Native American Spirituality and Mayan prophecy,
    And expansion of our idea of Sacred Texts beyond the Christian cannons…”

    Nic- Some day soon I must start a study of Native American spirituality. It continuously beckons me.

    To insinuate, as most traditional church “systems” do, that extra-canonical texts exhibit little or no value for humanity is deleterious to our search, our journeys through this life. Those extra-canonical texts are, for the most part, what led me to begin this wonderful journey, this search for “life”.

    I look forward to your “expansion” of these topics.

  4. Nic Paton said

    Hey Don – And when you do start, keep me in mind. I would LOVE to be able to tap into that Wisdom tradition.

    Both Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung come to mind in their encounters with the Native Nations during the 20th century.

    The one I most admire for his recorded words and his tremendous depth of grace in the face of defeat by European culture, is Chief Seattle.

  5. Gavin Marshall said

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKLfCbPVH5Y&feature=channel ;)

  6. Don Rogers said

    Nic- Hope to start with Carlos Casteneda.

  7. I kinda have been expecting this in a way…
    But I reali dun think da world is going to end…start a new era maybe but the world is not ending.
    That’s not gonna happen till a thousand years later! Ok, I’m not sure bout that either but that’s not the point! The world’s not gonna end! Full stop!
    [url=http://2012earth.net/harmonic_convergence_and_2012.html
    ]future and past of the earth
    [/url] – some truth about 2012

  8. Jason said

    Mr.Paton ,

    Well I have to admit that Mr.MClaren did come up with a rather pithy aphorism when he apparently stated ,

    ‘ Statements lead to a state and questions lead to a quest. ‘

    That was clever and pithy, even if rather off …

    ‘Jason you are a very original thinker. I respect you taking “balance” to task, and for standing up for radicality. I especially like your words, “if a quality is intrinsically good, then it should be taken to extremes”.

    But the only problem with this is, at what point do we fully and absolutely percieve intrinsically good quality? Surely we are never at the point of absolute wisdom, but always straining towards it?’

    Response : But sir, one does NOT have to know every single data in existence to abolutely and fully perceive an intrinsically good quality. The knowledge of such innate concepts that are innate to the deep structure of awareness itself , does not require that one know every last bit of phenomenonological data …for such qualities exist a priori …and are pre-positioned waiting to be *instantiated* in individuaded instances of thoughts .

    We should beware of the holist approach in regard to epistemology …W.V. Quine was quite wrong to think that every belief or act of knowing is spread indelibly over a web of all other belief …

    With inductive physical matters including the observation of phenomenon in the phenomenological sense there is room for accidental misperceptions.

    But the knowlege of the intrinsically good qualities of ethics and esthetics is *deductive*, not merely inductive, as is the case with oberving mutable phenomenon .

    Hence, when the right linear methods of study and inquiry is coupled with the requisite data pertaining to that domain of discourse then there is no way for misperception once those linear analytical methods are coupled with the pertinent data .

    Plato describes the process of knowing the ap priori matters as a kind of unforgetting or amnesis …a paring away the non -innate uses of mind and distractions to reveal the deeper order .

    The physicist David Bohm offers something of a somewhat similar conception when he refers to the ‘implicate order’ . Unfortunately the new agers …coopt that notion and put a lot of soupy ,
    muddled accretions about that notion …as new agers often do —since so much of new age ideology LACKS epistemological rigor …

    One insight sir, I would like to highlight here (and if you should continue to disagree I won’t hold any hard feelings against you ) is that sometimes with people of good will like yourself when they embrace internal contradiction/ambiguity often put in terms such as ‘mystery ‘…that sort of approach may have almost a sense of mental allure as being somehow a novel sort of affair that may seem to have the hint of opening up new vistas . However, the problem with nonconsistent thinking /ambiguity is that it makes all affiliation all approach to value into an anti-climatic affair .

    Granted either/or dualities could have more subtlety in the way that are they are often conceptualized. If those like yourself and Mr. Brian McLaren take a certain opposition to the meat cleaver way that either /or dualities are often presented …rather than handled with more subtletly …than that sort of critique would have some merit and could be empathized with in a *limited and circumscribed sense*.

    However, the answer is not to thow out either or dualities and adopt a both/and approach of an incongruous sort . (If you should continue to disagree with even that sort of caveat..again no hard feelings) .

    As much as I like Emerson , he really goofed and made a wrong statement when he alleged that somehow a “foolish consistency” was allegedly the hobgoblin of small minds .

    Often when people of good will like yourself find something of a mood where they think there is some savorance in some nonconsistency /acceptance of ambiguity…they would on other occasions find other manifestations of nonconsitency vexating .

    For example , if someone were to go around alternately saying , “I love humanity , we ought to show compassion and engage in acts of humanitarian kindness “…and then minutes later say, “I hate humanity , screw compassion let us forget about showing acts of kindess and take what we can get and every man for himself ” …and went around saying the one sort of statement and then saying the other alternately…chances are you would most likely be inclined to be vexated by the contradictions and confusion caused by that person engaging in internally nonconsistent statements …statements that actually do contradict themselves ..*instead of*. merely being counterintuitive on the surface .

    But such vexation teaches us something …that there is a duty to be consistently consistent …that we ought to be consistent about endorsing consistency …IF what we profess is ever to make sense .

    Likewise it does not make sense to endorse consistency one moment and nonconsistency the next .

    If nonconsistency is something laudable something to be prized as some have purported then it would be laudable all the time .. (However, nonconsistency /ambiguity is *not* something laudable )
    .

    The novels of Franz Kafka show us how horrendous and confusing the state of affairs can be when people accept internal contradictions / accept ambiguity .

    As does the novel 1984, by George Orwell, where the despot named Big Brother promotes internally contradictory statements like ‘War is Peace’ and ‘Freedom is Slavery’ .

    We should reject the claim of new agers and postmodernists that the opposite of a great and profound truth is another great and profound truth .

    There is a cautionary tale I have written called ‘Pomo Kid and the Misaventure In Time ‘ that though it is rather vitriolic towards postmodernism
    though it is NOT vitriolic towards you nor Mr.Mclaren (posted it years ago) you might find interesting .

    Duty leads me also to want to post some further commentary on various scriptures that some have used to claim that God has mysterious purposes that we are somehow not meant to know ..or not meat to know while alive . I would like to present some exegesis that such scripture verses that some have interpreted that God has purposes that have an ambiguity …are somehow mysterious and supposedly beyond logic or understanding …should NOT be interpreted that way …and could be interpreted *more plausibly* in a *different* way .

    Keep in mind that some of those who reject Christian universalism and not only reject universalism but propose the ghastly doctrine of eternal contradiction after death often make the appeal to the doctrine that the ways of God are somehow mysterious and inherently not understandable by analysis .

    They often make the mendacious claim that what the apparent unfairness of such a prospect and contradiction with the notion that God loves his creation even the unthankful is part of some supposedly mysterious Divine Plan …that we are not meant to understand or somehow that in the future heaven we will somehow see that what is an internal contradiction to reason /logic will somehow be then known to make sense …a ridiculous and mendacious claim …yet if there are emergent church postmodernists who agree with the notion that God is somehow inherently mysterious and inscrutible one cedes away any intellectually honest foundation to disagree …other than appeals to emotion in contrary to the position they take …arguments that do not make any ultimate appeal to any rightness of the Christian universalist position but merely appeals to flexibility and to ‘living in the tension’ .

    Such appeals unfortuantely lack any sort of axiological foundation of any sturdy sort…and hence us absolutists who would like to see the case for Chrisitian universalism argued in the strongest terms …not in the namby pamby terms of those who would merely implore the eternal torment crowd to be more flexible and couch the alternate hope in terms that is falsely portrayed in an emotive way that no longer insists on a logical foundation underneath the emotional inclination, but that somehow attempts to make the case in a way that *marginalzes* / gives up on… finding a totally tenable and foundational case to go along with the emotional aversion to such a notion of endless torment , cringe when the most strong absolutist internal consistency is NOT upheld by those *postmodernist version of universalists*, who would present the arguments for universal salvation in less than totally absolutist conssitent terms with reagard to ethics and deductive logic …

  9. Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it’s up to you to take heed.
    [url=http://2012earth.net/global_economic_crisis_2012.html
    ]planet nibiru 2012
    [/url] – some truth about 2012

  10. Nic Paton said

    Jason
    “one does NOT have to know every single data in existence to abolutely and fully perceive an intrinsically good quality.”

    1) My main problem with this notion is “abolutely and fully perceive”. To do that, one would have achieved God status. I do not know of any human who absolutely and fully perceives with the exception (and this is my Christian belief speaking) of Jesus Christ, despite what they say about enlightened ones.

    For me we are an evolving species. I find this view consistant with the Hebrew narrative. Your strong views are to my mind exceptionally Neoplatonic, and I find this a problem – to use your own term – its “inconsistant” with the Hebraic evolutionary Journey.

    2) For me, inconsistancy and ambiguity are not the same thing, as you posit. I’ll leave it at that, we can discuss this in more detail when I have time.

    • J said

      Jason
      “one does NOT have to know every single data in existence to abolutely and fully perceive an intrinsically good quality.”

      1) My main problem with this notion is “abolutely and fully perceive”. To do that, one would have achieved God status. I do not know of any human who absolutely and fully perceives with the exception (and this is my Christian belief speaking) of Jesus Christ, despite what they say about enlightened ones.

      RESPONSE : Though God ceetainly has an infinitely greater array of data regarding a plenum of existents and states of affairs, it would not necessarily require that one have a level of mental accuity nor omniscience in order to know all there is to know about a spercific quality . Knowledge is *not* one big holistic ball of wax…to know all there is about one “thing” (and I use the word “thing” in a generic sense of the word)…does not require that one know all there is to know about every other thing .

      It is possible to isolate specific segments that are included in the “cosmic encylopedia” that exists under gaze of eternity of all the data there is to know …and focus on that specifically –with knowledge from proximate conceptual areas . That does not require knowing everything to know in the whole infinite plenum of knowledge about all possible thoughts and states of affairs .

      One can know all there is to know , for example, about the characteristics of a particular tree …without knowing everything about the land mass in which the forest is where the tree is a member ….

      Some articles of knowledge given enough of the relevant study , access to the proximate (and not merely approximate) and the requisite methods …can be completely known with the *same detail*, whether they are observed by a human mind or by the mind of God .

      The mind of man is made in the image and likeness of God ….the Fall of Man did tarnish the emotional faculties (allowing for vulgart fallen emotions like envy and so on ) , yet the analytical faculty was not fallen …not diminished by the fall

      MR PATON POST :For me we are an evolving species. I find this view consistant with the Hebrew narrative. Your strong views are to my mind exceptionally Neoplatonic, and I find this a problem – to use your own term – its “inconsistant” with the Hebraic evolutionary Journey.

      RESPONSE: Well there were some among the Hebrew thinkers that took a Neoplatonic approach —Philo Judeaus, and some earlier predecessors .

      MR.PATON POSTS :2) For me, inconsistancy and ambiguity are not the same thing, as you posit. I’ll leave it at that, we can discuss this in more detail when I have time.

      RESPONSE : When you get a chance I would like to read what you have to post regarding that. No hurry, composition of some dissertations takes time .

      I can relate to wanting to wait till some topic that requires a lot of elaborating…can find more time and the right time to be more fully articulated .

      Yours truly often finds it hard to compose longer essays without the greater risk of typos ..until after he has had a nap or several . A good afternoon or night’s sleep can make dissertating and composition flow more effectively…

  11. Steve said

    “New Age” is what neopagans call “fluffy bunny” spirituality.

  12. 賀寶芙 said

    new age is kind of budha.

  13. Nic Paton said

    Yes, new age IS kind of budha. You are so right.

  14. Gavin said

    huh?

  15. nic paton said

    Well put Gavin, a very strong case for the apophatic.

    But let me start over: 賀寶芙, when you say “new age is kind of budha” is this like a Zen koan?

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