Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!  May you have a day like Jesus' birth!  May you have a day when you think of those who are usually overlooked, like shepherds and the women in the birth story.  May you have a day when you believe God can and does still work miracles.  May you have a day when you surrender your authority to God, as the wise men did.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

"The Kingdom of God" has been understood in various ways...."surrender" is also understood within religious communities in different ways. Therefore, judgments are made upon those frames of understanding.

"Authority" is also understood differently within religious frames; Scripture, reason, experience and Tradition.

Our Founders understood that only an individual can assume "authority" over his own life. If that means he submits to a "faith claim" based on outside "authority" such as scripture or tradition, then, that is allowed. But all humans have an understanding of "authority" in the experiences of life.....Reason is the way man attempts to govern himself within these frames....as men are animals that make meaning out of their existence....unlike other animals.

Reason is useful for "self" in identification, values, interests, and commitments. Not everyone agrees as to definitions of "the Kingdom" (the Kingdom NOW; Manifest Destiny; the Kingdom to Come; the Kingdom Within; etc.), values (understandings of family, choice, various specified interests). The Church, though, likes to condition people to A frame of reference, as THE authority, apart from individual/personal preferences or convictions. The denominations are specified in our country as to their preferred authority and how that authority is understood. That doesn't make for unity, but diversity.

Our Founders allowed for those that didn't even believe in outside authority at all (as to religion) to respect the dignity of each person's differences. Government was not to establish religion, but protect religious liberty. The Constitution was to protect the differences as to conscience. That is why we are in a quagmire today in respecting, and tolerating those that would undermine classical liberalism.

Human rights seem to be divided by whether it is more humane to tolerate religious tradition, despite discrimination against women or certain lifestyles (multiculturalism). Or make universal claims about humanity based on egalitarianism. "Science" does not understand what makes a human, a "person"....is there a best environment universally, because man is innately endowed with certain potentialities? Or are man's "potentialities" only the result of environmental conditioning? Is man a blank slate, or not? These are not easily solved as men who study Man, are themselves men within contexts. America (and the West) has allowed for different opinions concerning these areas, as the West believes in academic freedom, a result of a liberal government. Some, if not most, Religious communities in America do not regard academic freedom with the same protection, as they do freedom of speech.

What has this to do with "Merry Christmas"? Isn't that a matter of opinion, too? (how one understands Christmas)....

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Wim is reading on how AI (artificial intelligence) is being studied to understand consciousness....is a computer able to grasp itself as a "self"? What makes for "self"? "Self" is how humans come to understand themselves. The West protects self discrimination, while the East holds to a mystical unifying "self transcendent" value.

Religious identity seeks to unify, as in "God consciousness" in "self transcendence"....mysticism is not about rationality, but "spirit" and that cannot be judged, which is problematic, if we want to maintain "order", structure, or judgments based on laws.