Thursday, April 26, 2007

I see Jesus as being of political interest in the same way that I see Socrates, Machiavelli, or Orwell’s 1984

Difference and Givenness, The Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence Levi Bryant
It was Caputo, not me, that was claiming that Marion is non-historicist in the sense that Marion does not think traditional hermeneutic issues are relevant to the interpretation of scripture (historical setting, how they were compiled, rewriting, etc., etc., etc). I don’t know a whole lot about Caputo, but in the talk he gave he both seemed to endorse Christianity while treating what Scripture depicts as being no different than Greek mythology. While I personally don’t see Scripture as any different than Greek mythology, I don’t see why anyone would continue to call themselves Christian while advocating this hermeneutic position. I don’t, for instance, call myself Homeric because I draw food for thought from Greek mythology. It could be that I’m just deeply misunderstanding Caputo’s position, but I just don’t understand why he refers to this as religion. I simply don’t understand what claim a person would be making if there isn’t some supernatural element to their religious belief. The reason I don’t find it admirable is that I don’t understand why someone would continue to align themselves with those who do attach a supernatural position to their religious belief by advocating such a position.
  • Why would you continue to call yourself Christian if you don’t believe in heaven and hell, the virgin birth, the resurrection, walking on water, turning water into wine, the parting of the red sea, the apocalypse, etc?

Believe it or not I actually spend a fair amount of time reading the Gospels and quite appreciate a good deal of what Jesus says. However, this is because I find him a compelling political figure thinking a new form of social relation that strove to undo narcissistic group attachments that promote conflict, not as a divinity. I think of the miracles as tall tales that were told in writing the Gospels to function as sales pitches to attract followers. For this reason I would never call myself a Christian or a religious believer. That is, I see Jesus as being of political interest in the same way that I see Socrates, Machiavelli, or Orwell’s 1984 to be of political interest. I must be missing something in Caputo’s position as I really don’t see why one would continue to call themselves religious if they’ve surrendered their belief in anything divine or supernatural as he seems to have done.

The Christians I hear around me, on the news, and in church all talk about God in anthropomorphic terms as some “guy out there”. I’m not sure what else to say. Freud sums up the dangers of theology and philosophy with regard to God well when he writes:
Philosophers stretch the meaning of words until they retain scarcely anything of their original sense; by calling “God” some vague abstraction which they have created for themselves, they pose as deists, as believers, before the world; they may even pride themselves on having attained a higher and purer idea of God, although their God is nothing but an insubstantial shadow and no longer the mighty personality of religious doctrine. (Future of an Illusion)
I think the “mighty personality” Freud describes is the most common and representative understanding of God among Christians as popularly practiced. Whether this is dumb or not is not for me to say. A number of people that believe such things are otherwise intelligent. Wouldn’t it be a heresy for millions of believers if you were to suggest that God did not genuinely do the things depicted in the Bible? larvalsubjects said this on April 25th, 2007 at 8:10 pm

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