Tagdualism

Enlightenment Dualism

Tama66 / Pixabay

No religion should ever be involved with anything other than its own place of worship, where worshippers can believe and practice anything they deem fit, far away from enlightened, logical, reasonable people.

This from Mark Rogers, “Why we must keep religion out of politics” The Belfast Telegraph–Opinion/Letter

Where does this idea come from? The idea that religious expression must be confined to the church like other ideas are to be kept in the bedroom.

Enlightenment Roots

Both Bacon and Descartes trusted in reason to be the arbiter of truth.  Bacon used reason to take him from observation of particular phenomenon to universal principles, and Descartes saw the human mind as the final authority in understanding reality.  Although they approached it from different angles, both trusted reason, rather than faith and tradition,  to lead to the truth.

Because of their influence, by the middle of the 17th century, science was becoming the lens by which reality was viewed.  Importantly, this does not mean that there was a corresponding loss of belief.   Still, as the mysteries of nature that had previously been attributed to the direct intervention of God came to be explained as natural phenomenon, a division developed between science and religion.  God was understood to be the creator but was no longer thought to be necessary for day to day management of the material world because it was obedient to Natural Law.  Correlative to the division between God and His Creation, was a widening gap between God and human reason; reason was understood to be autonomous.

Immanuel Kant

Enter Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).  Kant saw the movement from reliance on God toward a reliance on reason as analogous to the movement from childhood to adulthood.  This idea was foundational to the period we call the Enlightenment.  The light of the Enlightenment was the realization that it was neither God nor the church which would lead to a better world, but human Reason.  The light, in Enlightenment, is Reason.  This view of is the essence of the modern worldview and is still with us today.

Kant believed that human beings were also developing morally as we continue to articulate universally recognized moral principles.  All cultures and religions are expressions, to one degree or another, of these principles.   He believed that these Moral Laws could be uncovered by reason.  For Kant, religion was simply a particular expression of universal principles.

It was supposed that we could arrive at universal truth using only reason.  Importantly, it was believed that reason was neutral, unaffected by belief, (or history, tradition, body, etc.).  Because religion is particular, rather than universal, and because it is greatly influenced by belief (history, tradition, etc.) it wasn’t very long before Religion was thought to be the opposite of Reason.

This is where the divide between faith and reason was formalized–this is dualism.  It’s the belief that we can hold to whatever particular beliefs we want, but these are to be kept in the private sphere.  The public sphere is to be ruled by universal reason.  If we keep things in their proper spheres, we can all happily get along.

Although, this idea is considered passé by many intellectuals–not just the religious ones either–it still dominates public thought.

 

Enlightenment Dualism

 

geralt / Pixabay

Have you ever been told that an issue of “faith is a private matter and should be kept to oneself?”

Where did this idea come from? The idea that life is divided between public and private spheres?

The Roots of Dualism

Both Bacon and Descartes trusted in reason to be the arbiter of truth (Read “Fact versus Truth“) albeit from different starting points. Bacon used reason to take him from observation of particular phenomenon to universal principles, and Descartes saw the human mind as the final authority in understanding reality. Although they approached it from different angles, both trusted reason to lead to the truth.

Because of their influence, by the middle of the 17th century, science was becoming the lens by which reality was viewed. Importantly, this does not mean that there was a corresponding loss of belief. Still, as the mysteries of nature that had previously been attributed to the direct intervention of God came to be explained as natural phenomenon, a division developed between science and religion. God was understood to be the creator but was no longer thought to be necessary for day to day management of the material world because it was obedient to Natural Law. Correlative to the division between God and His Creation was a widening gap between God and human reason; reason was understood to be autonomous.

Immanuel Kant

Enter Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Kant saw the movement from reliance on God toward a reliance on reason as analogous to the movement from childhood to adulthood. This idea was foundational to the period we call the Enlightenment. The light of the Enlightenment was the realization that it was neither God nor the church which would lead to a better world, but human Reason. This view of is the essence of the modern worldview and is still with us today.

Kant believed that human beings were also developing morally as we continue to articulate universally recognized moral principles. All cultures and religions are expressions, to one degree or another, of these principles. He believed that these Moral Laws could be uncovered by reason. For Kant, religion was simply a particular expression of universal principles.

The light, in Enlightenment, is Reason.  It was supposed that we could arrive at universal truth using only reason.  Importantly, it was believed that reason was neutral, unaffected by belief (or history, tradition, body, etc.).   It wasn’t very long before religion was thought to be its opposite.

This is where the divide between faith and reason was formalized–this is dualism. It’s the belief that we can hold to whatever particular beliefs we want, but these are to be kept in the private sphere. The public sphere is to be ruled by universal reason. If we keep things in their proper spheres, we can all happily get along (This false dichotomy, and others, is the point of this site).

Although, this idea is considered passé by many intellectuals–not just the religious ones either–it still dominates public thought.

How to Give God 100% and Still Have a Little Fun

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

I couldn’t find my copy of The Screwtape Letters which I have been reading with my English class so I picked up a Bible that was sitting close by.  As I was turning to Psalm 51 I came across a little slip of paper that someone had presumably used as a bookmark.  What was written on this bookmark caused a bit of a rant, and I never did get around to reading Psalm 51.

On the paper was the following information:

 

Sleeping – 7                    ||                   God:

Eating – 2 hrs                  ||

School – 6 8 10               ||

TV – 30min                      ||

Hobbies – 5 hrs              ||

Total: 24.5 hours/day     ||         Total 2hrs. per week

Between the list of daily activities on the left and God on the right, they had drawn a heavy line.

On the back the calculations continued:

Calculations

Other things:                                       God:

Total 1: (24.5) x 365= A                     Total 2: (2) x 52 = B

A = 8942.5                                          B = 104

Minus 5 years from age                   – 5 years from age

A x 12 = 107310                                   B x 12 = 1248

Again, between these two sets of calculations was this heavy line.

I don’t claim to know the reason for these calculations.  My guess is that some well-meaning adult was trying to make the point with a group of young people–the point being they weren’t giving enough of their life over to God.

Sadly, this sort nonsense is all too common in Christian circles and the young people are particularly susceptible to taking it seriously.  This is the case even if someone isn’t deliberately teaching it to them.

Can you give everything to God and still have some fun? Click To Tweet

Christian Guilt

The child that made these calculations predictably fell far short of what God demands—God demands a lot, 100%.  This child couldn’t get past 1%.  The certain result is guilt.  With this approach, you can never escape the guilt.  Do we really want to be guilting our young people toward better religious performance?  I think not, for it is contrary to the Gospel.

What if this seventeen-year-old spent an hour a day in prayer and meditation instead of doing homework or wasting time on that hobby?  That’d certainly improve things, for they’d get God bumped up to receive 5%.  Two and a half hours a day would get God around 10%; that’s like the tithe–would that be enough?

No.  God demands our all—everything–so 10% just won’t cut it.  Guilt!

The Separation of Nature and Grace

This whole problem starts with the premise that the things of God—spiritual things—are distinct from the things of “real” life.  It’s the problem of the separation of Nature from Grace, or the Natural from the Supernatural.   (I’ve posted on this problem before, here and here.)

The problem is right there in the line that the child drew down the middle of the bookmark.  Unless you engage in some sort of focused devotional activity every minute of the day, every day of the week, every week of the year, you’d never be able to satisfy God’s demand on your life.  But, even Jesus slept and went to the bathroom.

So get rid of the line!  Hobbies and homework can’t be any less about God than singing and supplication.  The only way to give everything to God is to remove the line and let him have school and eating.  When we stop separating Nature from Grace, he gets both.

So, you can have fun and God at the same time–it means that he doesn’t just get a few hours on Sunday.  He gets hobbies and homework.  He calls the shots in your friendships and family relationships.  He is lord of what comes out of your mouth and what goes in.  Although this may sound restrictive, it is actually the only path to freedom and really having fun.

After this little rant,  one clever image bearer asked, “How I can include God in my sleep—I can’t have Godly dreams every night.”

Here is my answer.

 

 

© 2019 crossing the line

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑