Re: MD Hume, Paley and Intelligent Design

From: Arlo J. Bensinger (
Date: Thu May 05 2005 - 16:27:35 BST

  • Next message: Matt Kundert: "Re: MD Science vs. Theism: Where's The Beef?"

    Hi Sam,

    [Arlo previously]
    It's the height of arrogance (in my humble opinion) for the combined Occidental
    faiths to "believe" that the entirety of God's relationship with man was
    centered around a small area just east of Egypt, and aaaaaalllll other people
    on the planet were ignored. To be fair, my condemnation of occidental
    nationalism is only because it is the dominant theologic base of the western
    world. It would also be the height of arrogance for Buddhists to claim that
    the Buddha only concerns himself with Indo-Asian peoples. Or that the "Great
    Spirit" only speaks Sioux. This type of nationalism I feel is low quality
    static social patterns, yes. But, again, that's just for what its worth.

    [Sam replied]
    I have a lot of sympathy with that, but a line of thought occurs to me. If we
    accept an evolutionary framework, then sometimes something will come along that
    is a) new and b) of higher Quality than what is around already.
    Can't that apply in the religious/spiritual sphere as well? So it's not that God
    is only concerned with one group, but that sometimes one group can have a
    better understanding (pro tem) than others.

    First, that "religious nationalism" (quotes indicate its my term, which may or
    may not be defined well) was an ordering principle in cultural-historical
    development, I won't deny. That is, a solidified religious experience provided
    unity and cohesion among local populations and (although I claim the
    power-authority became more important to the institution leaders than the
    spiritual-theistic "message") offered comfort to its people.

    The trouble with "better understanding" is that it crosses two different
    "advancements". First is the notion that (1) although the God of the Bible is
    now seen as "accessible" to people all over the world, the historical "story"
    is rooted as before in Israel, and (2) the claim that a spiritual practice
    developed among tribes in Israel can take an Eskimo or Maori tribesman "closer"
    to God.

    In the first case, "nationalism" really hasn't been overcome, its just been
    expanded to offer salvation to more people. However, the "one true God" has
    still revealed himself only as reported in the Bible. It still demands prayers
    to "Jesus" (a Hebrew prophet) and denies any of the local, historical, cultural
    "spiritual understandings" (non-christian) to be valid.

    In the second case, you'd have to make an argument for why "christianity" can
    enlighten, say, more Maori peoples than their own religion. And do so in a way
    that does rest on nationalist principles (because the Bible is right and their
    way is wrong). You'd be arguing that it is a better theological practice
    because it provides better access to the Divine Mystery of God than Maori
    theologic practice. Is this what you mean by "better understanding"?

    Of course, I reject that Maori theologic practice is "better" than Christian
    practice as well. My point is that both are culturally-driven spiritual
    understandings that evolved in cultural-historical populations shaped by a
    particular language and surroundings. An all too obvious example is the role of
    whales in most Inuit religion. Small wonder that (apart from Jonah) whales have
    no real role in the desert-like landscape that provided backdrop for Occidental
    understandings. In areas teaming with forests and wildlife, it is little wonder
    (to me) that most world religions (in these areas) developed some form of
    nature worship (although I admit that I'm oversimplifying this point).
    Campbell's Monomyth appeals to me because it attempts to strip away the
    cultural differences between belief systems, and try to understand the common
    spiritual principle underlying them all.

    What I guess I am getting at is that so long as Christianity (or any other
    theologic doctrine) is enmeshed in "nationalism", despite opening its doors to
    larger populations, it can't claim to be "better" (to any significant degree)
    from other nationalistic religions.


    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu May 05 2005 - 16:38:14 BST