Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

17 December, 2007

Gettin' in on the Jesus talk

Maybe it's the fact that baby Jesus day is approaching, or that pattyjoe has been prodding and prodding and prodding about the nature of Jesus, or that religious wingnuts are once again sucking the oxygen out of presidential politics, but it's got me all thinking about spirituality again.

I always feel like an odd duck when the topic arises. On the one hand, I'm profoundly disturbed by the poohbahs of organized religion, which looks to me (with a few notable exceptions) more like hucksters trying to fleece financial or political power from people who are rightly concerned with grand questions about the meaning of life. I particularly despise how certain religious groups place fealty to culturally produced texts above empirical reality. On the other hand, I do have a sense, a belief, if you will, in some sort of transcendent consciousness (call it what you will). I'd go so far as to say that for fleeting moments I've felt that consciousness. I've never felt that this belief in a transcendent force ever came into conflict with the rationally derived realities I've come to accept as shaping the natural and social world we inhabit.

At any rate, I'm drawn to thinkers who seek to negotiate the tensions between our understanding of the physical and metaphysical in a manner which enlarges our understanding of both rather than foreclosing investigation into one realm because of the primacy of the other. In this vein, I'd recommend to you this interview with Catholic theologian John Haught of Georgetown University where he grapples with many of these questions. Haught testified in the court case over intelligent design being taught in public schools in Dover, PA, rightly stating that it had no place in science classes or in public education.



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