Monday, October 20, 2008

Human Formation, Conformity and Discrimination

A lot of discussion has gone on in the recent past about the biblical text. What is this text and how did it come to be an authority? The text was written to form a tradition around history. The historical Jesus' impact on his culture began with a small group, spread to become a movement that came to define a religious tradition. The Church was born upon the heels of Jewish tradition and its text was interpreted as a unique revelation (but uniqueness is understood in any tradition, initially.).Tradition is the concretelization of experience that represents a universal "ideal" and are brought about by social, religious and political reformers (some would understand them as revolutionaries.).

Tradition is defined by its beliefs and many have suffered persecution under its power. "Conditioning traditions" of ostracism, exclusion, and heresy hunting have permeated the Church's history, but, unfortunately has not been viewed as discrimination. Belief is a powerful identity factor in humanity's search for meaning. Conformity is identified as spiritual formation in a tradition. But, conformity to a tradition is not uniqueness, but identification with a certain means of understanding existence.

Evolutionary biology/neuroscience has "revealed" that man is nothing more than animal in his responses, unless he is "trained" to conform. Brain science has born out that the neural connections must be disciplined, so that humans might behave in a proper way for maintaining society's order and structure. Man is no longer viewed as primarily a rational animal, but an animal of instinct. Moral training must form the individual into conformity, so that society's flourishing will be furthered and man will attain his "teleos".

I find that there is nothing wrong with training children, but is not the epitome of man's rational development. There is something wrong with conformity, when the "form" is so narrow that the individual child cannot attain to his/her uniqueness. Conformity is what Jesus stood against in discrimination of others who did not fit with the Jewish standard, which was a religious tradition.

In the Christian traditon, how is discrimination seen? And how would Jesus' example exemplify another standard than the "christian one"?

I find that "biblical christians" those, who live by the text are always dismissing some things while emphasizing others. Is this really what religion should be about? Or should religion be about unifying and expanding human existence beyond traditional understandings, where man is seen as human within a humane context and not one driven by a religious ideology? But, then religion is about defintions and standards, which are gauged by groupism, or textual understandings. And discrimination is always about how the other doesn't fit. Traditions call the outsiders "sinners", "infidels", and "dogs". Religion, then becomes a narrowing of boundaries and limitation to man's flourishing.

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