Monday, May 17, 2010

Bultmann and the Internet

I was about to quote Bultmann's famous line in a summary of existentialists: "It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless… and at the same time believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles."

I always used to chuckle at how modern Bultmann was, mentioning the wireless and all. I was sitting here thinking, none of them will know what the "wireless" is. And then I thought, wait, I'm using wireless right now! Man, Bultmann was way ahead of his time :-)

P.S. Anyone out there using wireless still believe in spirits and miracles? :-)


Jenny Brien said...

An old story-teller once told me @it was the electric light that killed the ghosts" by which he meant that it removed many occasions for scaring the bejasus out of the younger and more gullible.

I'm not sure that's what Bultmann had in mind. Perhaps he was thinking of how electricity and wireless were used in the early part of the last century to "explain" the supernatural - these things were really real but were caused by influences acting on an "astral plane" or a "different wavelength" or whatever. All pretty lousy and misleading metaphors.

Or perhaps he meant what I discovered when I first encountered electric light. It *looks* like a miracle, but it doesn't matter how much you believe that the light will come on if the circuit is broken elsewhere. There's nothing in the pre-electric world that is quite so unforgiving.

Anonymous said...

It is not really a question of believing or not when it comes to spirit or miracles? But whether one is humble enough to accept things which they could not comprehend or understand, logical or illogical.