Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Personal Identity and Political Reality

Political Reality is where we live, work and play. These contexts breed the social aspects in one's life. But, these contexts also include how we understand our faith.

Some have separated the sacred and the secular aspects of life, as they represent different "domains". But, the separation of the sacred and secular dissolves religion into belief systems. While belief systems do underlie our behavior, the Church was "committed" to "political reality", or the real world. These realities were not to be separated according to "orthodox faith". Faith is known by behavior, but faith based behavior is not based on rationale, or reason. Faith and Reason have always challenged the Church.

Religious communities have tried to identify how they "help" or what "role" they play in the political realm, where real reality is played out within history. Some of these communities have attempted to "connect" the sacred and secular together within a "moral model". These 'models" which became wholesale theological systems were not based on real history, personal experience, or reason, but on faith. Such is the case in Christian faith with Jesus of Nazereth. These "models" represent certain attributes or universals that might be "missing" within political realities in a given situation.

But, while such theological terms as "incarnation" and "emergent properties" try to "connect" reality to God, as if God exists "outside of time and space, others try to dissolve the distinction of the sacred and secular altogether. I think that this is more healthy, as whenever we signify distinctions, then we separate over issues that divide, instead of unite.

Any and everything is given, so we should not be about the business of making such fine distinctions between the "spiritual and the non-spiritual". There is enough "reality" for anyone to "fit". We must be about the business of allowing the freedom of religious expression of all kinds (and that includes atheism) within the political realm without dissolving the differences of value commitments. This is what the American experiment is/was about. As long as religious freedom does not demand allegience, or subversion of the rule of law, then there should be full expression of religion in the public square.

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