Posted in Religion by Richard Adams
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." - Oscar Wilde
I guess that could be applied that to the whole dogmatic enterprise of Christianity . . . let alone the Declaration . . . or I'm sure what you perceived to be the wit in posting a quotation as if it were an argument in-it-of-itself.
And the next time you get a hankering for a Jewish thinker, try Levinas. Or Buber.
Great quote. Sums so much up in few words. The modern tendency is, of course, to throw out the likes of more than the prophets on the basis of our ability to make powerful tools for ourselves. Aristotle didn't understand gravity?!? Throw out the rest of his rotten corpus! Asinine.
Matt, if you truly wish to refute a quotation that makes a claim, it would be best to refute it with something more than another quotation that makes another claim. Why so zealous?
I'm not sure that a quote deserves much more than another quote.
And I'm not sure I've ever known anyone to throw out all of Aristotle because he wrote a treatise on slavery or all of Heidegger because he was a Nazi. Many just believe them to have been "asinine" individuals.
Well, unfortunately, I have known many, many people to do just that. Undergrads are trained to think that way, and I've read and heard many professors dismiss Aristotle (never mind the prophets) in like manner.
There mere fact that most college humanities programs don't pay much attention to Aristotle or the Jewish prophets proves the point. The matter is already settled in their minds. And if you don't think the reason they think the matter is settled has to do with the real progress of modern science, you must admit that you are in the minority, at least.
A real education would confront the ideas that have defined western civilization, regardless of what one thinks about them initially. If one thinks about sheer influence over the course of thousands of years, this education would have to include what the Hebrew prophets thought about the "meaning of existence and the nature of man." Rather than, say, summarily dismissing them with a quote from Wilde.
Such a dismissal might actually help prove Heschel's point. I'm guessing that you don't think what the prophets say on these matters is worth considering. And if you think about why, I'd bet the success of modern science plays a part in your thinking. But I could be wrong.
How did the the too-caught-up-with-himself degenerate, Wilde, finally end his life?
Where did he finally wander after his life of debasement?
Back to the "dogmatic" Catholic Church!
A degenerate to be sure, but at least one with half his brain still functioning, who realized he was about to confront the four final things, death, judgement, heaven, hell.
I like it when students get to arguing that everything is relative, nothing is true, there are no absolutes. They say science has taught us that. I say, hooey, and argue by asking if they actually live that way. They never do. Would they like to live in a world where no one had any moral absolutes? No, thank you!
Which brings me to the WSJ, which has "God vs. Science Isn't the Issue" with the sub-heading, " Seldom do we act as if life has no moral component." here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704429304574467320574576460.html
by William McGurn, which looks at the dogmatism of those scientists who find the prophets demented, because they did not know physics and believed in something beyond the material world.
I especially liked this: "Many Americans who are indifferent to faith will confess they find themselves challenged as they try to raise good and decent children without the religious confidence their parents had. The result may not be a return to religion but a healthy agnosticism about agnosticism itself." Maybe I am sympathetic because that had been my father's position, that he could not prove that God was not and therefore had to conclude that God might be.
I discovered on a final exam that it really doesn't matter what we know, as long as he is not sitting next to you.
Later on I discovered that it really does matter what we knows because the grades are curved.
Matt says: '"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." - Oscar Wilde'
'I guess that could be applied that to the whole dogmatic enterprise of Christianity . . . let alone the Declaration . . . or I'm sure what you perceived to be the wit in posting a quotation as if it were an argument in-it-of-itself.'
Isn't it also true though, that to become educated, one must engage the dogmatic enterprises we have mentioned? Isn't taking another's opinions as if they had something serious to say just about the whole of education? "Think for yourself" isn't something I am against, but doing so means having the ability to assess other people's thoughts. Plato must have seen a reason to create dialogues and write them down, even though his teacher didn't write basically until his death.
- Does there come a point when an individual can be wholly rejected as asinine? I don't know, I'm putting that out there...
How can you have a point/counter-point if there isn't any value in even trying to weigh the various points? A world of intellectual and moral non-judgementalism eradicates the raison d'etre of the university, and eviscerates the entire idea of a "higher education."
What's really appalling is the notion that truth is is a relic from the age of antiquity. Intellectual and cultural fads of self-styled sophisticates have resulted in God only knows how many people who can recite, with the self-same cluelessness, the query of Pontius Pilate, "Truth, ----- what is truth?"
On a related note to the quotation in the post above, see this blog's own Bill Voegeli here:
Are politicians today as wise as those
who produced the U.S. Constitution?
By William Voegeli
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