Friday, November 5, 2010

Walls Fall Down or Should They?

Walls define and determine differences and distinctions. These are boundaries that help identify things of importance and value. This is what the Church has done through the ages in separating the sacred and the secular. Yesterday's post was about how faith and the political have been defined and understood, as 'the real". I have problems with all of them and these are the reasons, but then, faith is not about reasons, it is about vision and focus.

The Church has defined what one should believe, but can we believe in virgins that give birth? Can we believe that men are totally depraved, meaning there is nothing redeemable about them? Can we believe that we all came from one couple? And what about the discrepecies in regards to the text itself ? Belief become unbelievable in today's scientific paradigm.

Then there are those that believe that one's faith is interpreted by "bearing the cross". These follow in Jesus' steps as the "Christ of faith". But, how is one to identify with a person that lived long ago, without giving up one's own identity? Don't adults have a well-formed identity, as to their personal values and goals?

There are others that want to bring peace and good-will on earth by investigating where the history and the myth intersect and work to dissolve differences between those that are marginlized. These could be those in human need (economic inequality) and/or  those that are at political odds (political peace). But, how is one to believe in the free market and the Protestant work ethic if one also adheres to economic equality? And how is peace to come with so many differences that it has been impossible to rectify in the past? Are we at a place where those that have been at political odds can relate differently, or will there always be ideological differences in the world? I believe that ideology drives everything an individual/society holds as a value, and because of these irreconciable differences, then, we will be holding to naivete' to believe that peace will ever come world-wide and still uphold liberty of conscience.

So, where is the sacred and secular today? It is dead, except in segments of sectarian religious traditions. Life can be embraced as a gift of the "gods" or "God", or it can be embraced as a value itself.

Liberty, though, is not a value that is granted by nature, but must be nurtured and valued above all. Political liberty is hard won with shed blood and is not to be taken for granted. Leaders are to values those under them, so that justice will be forthcoming in equal consideration. The world is "at odds" and the walls or the defining elements cannot fall down without a disregard and disrespect for our nation's defining values of liberty itself..


Mike Gottschalk said...

Angie, a couple of things. One, we make a mistake when we use the word faith as a synonym for the word religion. The experience of faith (the noun form of the verb believe--at least in the Greek) ensues from being humanly conscious; not from a religion.

Let me explain. Our bodies orient themselves to their world through systems they developed e.g., inner ears, horizon lines, and sesnse of up. Human consciousness adds to this a need to orient in a world that is not physicality based but idea based; furthermore, the ideas don't assemble automatically into an orientation, thay have to be selected by the individual human self--itself. Which group of ideas will a self use to create its own orientation? the ideas this self can BELIEVE in, or HAVE FAITH in.

This means then, that to act as one's Faith, the ideas that serve as its "ground" have to be cogent and credible to the self; dissonance disrupts the self's orientation to the world (think of personal reports of the disorientation people going through earth quakes experience).

That said, when I read your writing about Liberty, it looks to me like Liberty is a central aspect to your own Faith. Am I wrong?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Liberty is a value of mine. But, in regards to "faith", it has little to do with religion, or "God"/gods for that matter.

The "grounding" of this faith is our Constitutional government, not transcendental truth, mystical consciousness or church doctrine.

Liberty means that there is enough tolerance for difference to allow other 'selves' to "be" who they are. But always within the bounds of behavior that is limitrf by our Constitution. The Constituion ideally protects equality, which protects liberty for all. Protection for liberty for all, is equal justice.

I don't believe that our government was formed out of a desire or ambition to "rule" or govern others. It was formed to protect others that weren't governing and give the proper balance to and limit of power to government, itself.