Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Is a "Dog" in Cultural Terms?

"Dog" was a derogatory term in scripture. "As a dog returns to his vomit"....dogs are still understood in derogatory ways. Both science and religion use the term differently from their perspectives.

Science uses "dog" as those who are not "top dogs", as science understands the "survival of the fittest" and since this is the "way of the world", this is the way they understand survival. It lacks humility and evenness of temper concerning reason's "claims" to truth! Because science is focused on the pragmatic, it looses focus on more universal reasons of practice. Sciences specificity dissolves ways of crossing boundaries of understanding, as its understandings are so specifically specialized. It demands diversity at the expense of unity. But, it is reason's strength.

While science's claims can be arrogant and dissolve focus on a unifying focus, so are religious claims to truth. Religion understands itself as the "center of the universe", while dismissing the absolute vastness that is the universe. The Church's understanding remains ideologically similar to their view of the physical universe in the past. The earth was considered the center by the Church, but science revealed that the earth was not the center. While the Church eventually came to embrace science's claims, it still remains convinced of itself as "the center" of truth, not understanding it's purpose. Religion is contextually oriented without knowing it. "Dogs" in religious terms are those who do not adhere to understanding their way (cultural distinctives). Religion demands conformity and limits diversity

This is where the university should live, in the space between the two! The universals of science must understand that they only know in part, while attempting to understand the whole. And religion should understand their contextuality of "difference" is not universal, but no less important to affirm. The Church is one among many faiths, which represent many cultural forms of understanding "god".

Diversity in unity and unity in diversity is imperative in this complex, interdependent and vast "world". We should not define our understandings as ultimate, but broaden our understandings through diverse interactions with others that are open to difference and open to learn. None of us will know everything there is to know, but I have a dream that one day, all of us will become unified diversity.

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