Saturday, October 3, 2009

Literalistic Bible Thumping "Models of Reality"

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband gave a lecture on his "Faith and Society" course.

Another important dimension to his course is the teaching of "models of reality". A model of reality is a type of "worldview", but is not a cultural worldview, but a naturalistic/supernaturalistic view of reality. This view is based in one's understanding of God, cosmos, and personability of God, as well as man, man's understanding of God and man's response to God. Is God the intiator, as Calvin supposed? Or is man the reasoned being, that presupposes "God"?

"Models of God" must be understood within these paradigms as they drive how we understand "theology", the "world", "culture", human beings and history.

The traditional view is a salvation history view. Jesus is God's ultimate purpose and focus in history, as Jesus is the "way of salvation". This view believes that a personal God directs the events of history using a specific nation, Israel, to perform his purpose and plan for the world.
It is an objective, hisorical, realist, and literalist view of Scripture.

A more subjective view would view God as the "divine influence" in a person's innate nature. This view views the individual as a possiblity/potentiality that needs development and direction. Determination is not the focus, as God is not personally involved, but has imprinted his image upon man. The person must respond to what God has gifted within. Salvation is viewed as fulfilling one's life purpose or plan. God's plan is more subjectively understood.

A developmental view would understand God as irrelavant, except for human development. Scripture is only useful for the purpose of 'helping" the individual to "respond" to their innate "God consciousness". Through their interaction with scripture and others in community, "God conscieousness" is re-inforced and the person responds uniquely to "meaning" within the context of community.

As I have shared, the meaning of Scripture and community has collapsed into the "normal" for me. There is no distinction for me between the sacred and secular and it irritates me when I think others "enforce" their "model of reality" upon me or anyone else. Faith is the "model of reality" that "reads" everything that "happens". In this case, Job's "model" had collapsed, and he was struggling to understand, while "Job's comforters" "read" Job's life in another way, a theologized one.

On another blog, I sometimes read, it was mentioned that there is disagreement as to how to understand "Paul's Gospel". Some believe in a "Justification by Faith"(Calvin/Lutheran), while others believe in a "moral model" approach (Catholic/Methodist/Wesleyan). But, what about an approach that leaves the individual, as the cogent interpreter? All could be understood as "models" of understanding. Faith is the primary means of grasping meaning. But, is faith necessary in supernaturalistic 'models"? That is the question that cannot be answered.

Since meaning is understood as a personal message of faith. This is only experienced when people are open or are "needy". Whenever a person outgrows a meaning of the "Gospel", or the "meaning" becomes insignificant for "other reasons", "faith in the Gospel" dies.

Scriptures then cease to have any authoriatative power, as it is viewed from a more "objective perspective". I think this view leaves room for individual development, group response to meaning, and interpretive influences.

Nihlism does not have to be the result of "loosing faith". Naive faith is just that, a childish understanding, a need-based interpretation, or a social signification.

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