Sunday, May 28, 2006

Intellectual consequences

Returning to the topic of ministry and postmodernity . . .

The consequences of the collapse of the modern and the reaction to that has intellectual, social and emotional aspects, and there are significant spiritual consequences as well.

The central feature of the intellectual reaction was expressed by Lyotard: "Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives" A metanarrative (sometimes master- or grand narrative) “. . . is a global or totalizing cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience." When looking at the history of science, such ideas have been called paradigms and the change from one major paradigm to another in one field a scientific revolution. Such a shift follows the increasing difficulty of explaining physical phenomena using the older paradigm. This is true for metanarratives in general – when a particular great story seems to stop working, people tend to find others.

Our perception is never completely naive -- we always bring some baggage with us when we examine and evaluate the world we look at. For example, I have a friend who teaches biology at a local college, who has spent years studying the plant and animal life of this area. I can look some water in a pasture in the hills to the east of here, and see a large puddle that will dry up to a mud flat as summer approaches. My friend sees a vernal pool, ringed with wildflowers, the water containing tiny animals that may exist nowhere else in the world. We have different experiences and expectations of what we will see, therefore we really see different things in the same place. How we perceiveve the world is affected not only by experience, but by expectations and desires. The old saying is more accurate when stood on it's head: "believing is seeing." And the most powerful way to affect all these things that we bring to perception is by stories -- narratives that tie together our experience and desire with meaning, embedding it into our memories and emotions. Change the metanarrative, and in a way you change the world.

One relevant example of a metanarrative is the idea of progress. After almost unlimited trust in secular progress starting in the 18th century and extending into the 20th, experiences over the past century seem to have destroyed the faith of many that we are on the way to anywhere we really want to be.

This distrust of metanarratives is reinforced by the observation that social elites often have used the promotion and manipulation of such grand stories as a form of masked social power. Reaction has led to the attempt to replace grand narratives with smaller, local, more individual narratives. The personal is preferred to the universal.

This presents challenges to Christians, Catholic Christians in particular. Over the past two millenniaia, the Gospel has been the source of foundational metanarratives, first within Europeanan cultures, then globally. If one mistrusts metanarratives in general, one can specifically mistrust Christianity, often without really encountering its message and claims. Part of these ruling stories from the Gospel (and the Old Testament before that) is the idea that God is not on the side of the powerful, but on the side of the poor. The Christian message is not intended to protect the powerful but to subvert unjust power -- which makes it a "sign of contradiction" when compared to all the metanarratives that serve to keep things as they are and the powerless in their place.

That is why historical episodes such as the Spanish Inquisition continue to cause Catholicism trouble in this current situation. The proper apologies of the Church (which were overdue) and the revision of scholarly opinion on the Inquisition (which now appears to be that it was a much more limited and secular institution than often thought) do not seem to be relevant to the world in general. The problem comes from the perception that the Church, the bearer of the Gospel message, lent its approval to what, to 21st century eyes, was a program of ethnic cleansing. Arguing over who did what, when, does not address this problem: the identification with the Spanish Inquisition paints the Church as just another institution, and the Gospel message as just another metanarrative serving power, not to be trusted.

It is useful to consider just how this affects how both Catholics and non-Catholics see such issues as liberation theology (and the Vatican's reaction to it), clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, and neo-Gnosticism in works like The DaVinci Code.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Claude,

You may not initially agree with everything I reveal, but be a little patient with my long-winded presentation of what I have waited a very long time to be able to say. I promise to amaze and enlighten.


Here is the key to understanding what the Vatican and Papacy truly fear...

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

Here's a real hot potato! Eat it up, digest it, and then feed it's bones to the hungry...

There's much more to the story of the Vatican's recent machinations than meets the eye. It's not the DaVinci Code or Gospel of Judas per se, but the fact that people have now been motivated to seek out the unequivocal truth about an age of deception, exactly when they expect me to appear. These recent controversies are spurring people to reevaluate the Vatican/Papacy and the religions that Rome spawned, at the worst possible time for them.

Remember, "I come as a thief..." ?

The DaVinci Code novel and movie are no more inaccurate as literal versions of history than the New Testament. The primary sub-plot involved purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, exactly like the Bible and related texts. In other words, none of these stories represent the literal truth. This is the common and pivotal fact of all such narratives about ancient Hebrew and Christian history. Debating whether the DaVinci Code, Gnostic texts, or the Bible are accurate history is a purposeful ploy designed to hide the truth by directing your inquiry away from the heart of the matter.

There is a foolproof way to verify the truth and expose centuries-old religious deceptions. It also proves why we can no longer let the Vatican tell us what to think about ancient history or much else. It is the common thread connecting why the ancient Hebrews, Yahad/Essene, Jews, Gnostics, Cathars, Templars, Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code, and others have been targets of Rome’s ire and evil machinations. The Vatican and its secret society cohorts don’t want you to understand that the ancient Hebrew symbology in all of these texts purposely encodes and exposes the truth about them. Furthermore, the structure of ancient wisdom symbology verifiably encodes the rules to decode messages built with it. This is what they most fear you will discover.

If the Bible represented the literal truth or even accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk. It is undeniable the New Testament is awash with ancient Hebrew symbolism and allegory. The same is evidenced in the Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, Quran, DaVinci Code, and other related sources. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

It is beyond amazing that the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are the literal truth. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. Recasting the symbolism of earlier Hebrew texts as literal events in the New Testament is one of the central deceptions associated with Christianity. This is part of the secret knowledge held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, Cathars, and others, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. This fact is the key to unraveling many ages-old mysteries and exposing the truth about the Vatican's long-term deceptions.

Moreover, the following Washington Post article (The Book of Bart) describes how many changes and embellishments were made to New Testament texts over the centuries, unequivocally demonstrating they are not original, infallible, or truthful. When you combine proof that the New Testament Gospels are not wholly literal with proof that these texts were heavily reworked in the early years of Christianity, you are left with only one possible conclusion. The Vatican has long lied to everyone about the central tenets and history of Christianity. This revelation also proves they are not the Creator’s representatives but Her longtime opponents. The recent hoopla over the Gospel of Judas and DaVinci Code demonstrates they are still desperately trying to deceive the world and obfuscate their true nature and activities.

It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. As further proof of these assertions, seek to understand the symbolic significance of my name (Seven Star Hand) and you will have proof beyond disproof that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have long been duped by the great deceivers I warned humanity about over the millennia. What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand the truth?

Now comes justice, hot on its heels... (symbolism...)

Not only do I talk the talk, I walk the walk...
Here is Wisdom!!

Revelations from the Apocalypse