tag : bright yellow-green apples: godly tower of babble

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Friday, November 12, 2004

godly tower of babble

figure 4.3. what's that you say?

“it is most definately important that we learn from and grow in respect with other religious groups...whether that ultimately leads to pantheism, eclecticism or mutual respect remains to be seen.” Ash

It's hard to see how things are going to go, that's true, but we can see certain trends here and now. There can be a tendency in some pluralistically-minded talk, in discussing inter faith relations, to downplay differences in the name of recognising our commonality as people with beliefs in the reality (a catch all term for God, Brahman, Nirvana ect.) This might be seen on Thought for the day, for example, where some guests seem to be trying to forge a verbal ‘neutral space’ for talking about all religions in one stroke without sitting in any one at the time.

This does worry me a little, even as a ardent pluralist and universalist. Not just because it serves to devalue the differences, almost making them something to act apologetically for. As if we should all grovel for our being embodied in a partial view, beautifully finite humans. I need make no apologies for sitting smack in the middle of a Christian paradigm, for my whole view of things being borne out in relation to atheism-theism, any more than a secular humanist or a Sufi mystic. None of us should be apologetic for framing our view of the other in our own language, in my case this would be a God-noGod, the divine light is in everyone, the face of God as Christ all around me, kind of talk. A talk that recognises it‘s limits, loves them nonetheless. But more so, it’s unrealistic. Recognising the common flow of our rivers of faith don't mean we should have pretensions for any kind of 'objective', universal faith talk that sits above the different faiths like an umbrella. It’s through this one prism that I might hope to recognise any common response to the ultimate reality I share with Taoists, Hindus, and Buddhists. Like everyone feeling the elephant.

Through my picture language I need to cultivate a space that recognises the light they carry. That's a mandate more in keeping with our ‘godly tower of babble’ than any supposedly constructed ’academic faith’ for cool relational discourse. It's within our lives as partial, wonderfully limited, people that we might encounter together. Languages provide a good metaphor. I'd say it's better to be sat in a meeting hall with a rabble of different European tongues, with various interpreters and gaining insights through talking our own lingos together, than everyone talking Esperanto.

On a side note, I've decided to try and learn to play the piano/keyboard. So I'm spending a few minutes a day playing ABGDEEFCABD and so on, trying to remember the note placing. Ah fun, I am the next Ray Charles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preach it, brother! ;-)


5:17 PM  
Blogger ash said...

i like that very much; seeing the value in our differences as well as in our similarities.
i suppose i would go along with that, but i'd say that people need to be free enough to allow themselves to transfer to another paradigm if that is what ends up happening. not to consciously seek it, but not to consciously run from it either.

1:46 PM  

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