Monday, June 10, 2013

Cosmovision

Clyde says in a comment on a previous post:

What I observe in your recent ponderings on theology and in your case study of Peter's short homily is a move away from a cosmovision. I read you as saying, the Christian way of doing theology based on "idea of god" and an "idea of the human condition" resulting in an "idea of salvation" by "an idea of a witnessing church" is impossible for UUs given our lack of consensus relative to God.
Can we not make even the basic statement witnessed by Carl Scovel that "the heart of the cosmos is good intent." That the creation in which we live and move and have our being is (created) good, and we are called to live in awareness that we children of that goodness?
Clyde, I am saying that the "Christian way of doing theology" is impossible, but for a different reason.  You think I am saying it because "UU's ... lack...consensus relative to God."

It's not just UU's.  The erosion of the Christian cosmovision as truthful is about complete.  And in the West here, there are three responses:  Disbelief, or Humanism;  Creative Reinterpretation or Liberal Christianity; and, a Fundamentalist Loyalty, Denial and Will to Believe.  And in addition, there are many directions that disbelieving former Christians have gone: Western Buddhism, Neo-Paganism, Yoga, New Age etc.

What you propose, quoting Carl Scovel, is a Creative Reinterpretation.  (Really, how far from an omnipotent and omniscient God is the assertion that somewhere at the heart of a cosmos is a good intent?  "God, He means well...")

I, personally, am firmly in that Creative Reinterpretionist, Liberal Christian, camp, in the small UUCF subdivision, in the minuscule groupiscule of Girardian/Kenotic Christians.

I don't think that Unitarian Universalists will ever reach consensus on an approach to the question of God.  That is because the broader culture cannot reach a consensus relative to God, and we embody the paradox of humanism and liberal reinterpretation.  Is Carl's statement really a statement of belief or disbelief?  You could read it either way.

The UU self-description of this paradoxical situation has been to describe ourselves as "theologically diverse", as a positive value, in and of itself.  For the most part, the world has seen us as fatally confused: unsure about the very basis of religion.  And our experience is that offering theologically diverse, welcoming religious community does not set the world on fire. For the most part, in our congregations, we do not explore that theological diversity, but speak of other, less divisive, things.

In short, we offer ourselves as the solution to general theological unsettledness in the world.  And in doing so, we plant a fatal seed of self-satisfaction in our collective soul.

My argument is also that the world does not need anyone to propose a consensus on the God of the Christian tradition.  Ever since Channing's "Unitarian Christianity", we have been proposing excellent formulations of Christian theology more in tune with the times to little effect.  So have Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Karen Armstrong, Elaine Pagels, Diana Butler Bass, Marilyn Sewell.  You and I have shelves-full.

My argument:  Unitarian Universalists should stop preaching about ourselves, and stop preaching about our theological diversity.  We should instead preach about the virtues that all people need to develop for the world to be saved.  Instead of talking about the religion we want to be, we should be talking about the people we should be.  (And yes, I get the irony of my position here.)




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