Secularization — Is Christianity No Longer the Norm?

Good summary of the article on secularization as it bears upon conscious affiliation (i.e., explicit commitment), and the benefits of this for everyone. Read the very short article he links to at the bottom, and do yourself a favor and scan the other posts by Ormerod at the top. Ormerod suggest that things, as they are, will remain so “for at least the next 100 years” or something. Optimistic? Perhaps. Christianity is, as one atheist put it, “the stone in the shoe that one cannot quite get rid of”; our present culture has deep roots, and most of us are not aware of the elements of our culture, or their provenance and sustaining springs; it is a live question for me as to whether we ever really become “post-Christian” in anything more than a superficial sense — though if we do, we certainly become post-Christian. To this end, read Blumenberg’s The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, Löwith’s Meaning in History, and Taylor’s A Secular Age to get a better sense of this relationship from multiple angles. Then, of course, there is Nietzsche, together with a host of other authors. One thing is clear, though: secularization is not irreligion or atheism. It is something else. More soon. (But give Imagining Sociology a follow: it’s a classroom resource for a UK teacher, so it’s not as regular as some blogs, but the posts are always brief enough that it’s inexcusable not to follow it, and it’s a quite-profitable read.)

EDIT: the ever-provocative Richard Dawkins tweeted about this phenomenon here (though it might be simply anti-Islam that lurks behind that); Nietzsche similarly thought that Christianity was a buffer for some things that he thought were worse, though I can’t remember where, and can’t find it on a quick look-through.

Sociology with LDV

Here are the key highlights from the article by Peter Ormerod (link below).

  • “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good,” Prof Stephen Bullivant
  • Ormerod argues that it’s a mistake to assume that under 30s have changed that drastically because there is a significant evidence that they are still willing to wholeheartedly embrace alternatives to religion.
  • Older generations are not completely embracing rationality either because new age movements such as astrology are enjoying a renaissance
  • Linda Woodhead points out that although lots of British teenagers identify that they have no religion, most don’t describe themselves as atheists.

View original post

Memento Mori

“Nothing concentrates the mind so much as –”

our demise: the only inevitability we’ll never experience as an actuality;

but to hold one’s mortality in one’s hands, Continue reading

To Eat, To Dispose

Psychosoma hypostatic monism

(the pendulum swings, but its axis is one)

the mind is a body, the body: digestive tract

with a support cast of organs (like thumbs

and brains); “Let us read, mark, and inwardly di-gest”;

Continue reading

Seven Days, Seven Speeches

I am not a Hebrew Bible scholar, simply an interested layman. Nonetheless, I remember hearing someone say, over fifteen years ago, that Genesis 1 was really a ritual text; I fell in love with this idea before I became acquainted with the arguments, given how I loved the poetry of the text, and hated Creationism. I have the relevant articles somewhere tucked away, and was not able to consult them for this, but a few words at the outset, before the skeleton of the argument: not all scholars agree with this. The illustrious Jon D. Levenson, in his excellent Creation and the Persistence of Evil, cites the arguments below, and the articles it is based upon, with only partial agreement. I found Jon’s fascinated wariness too cautious. I should say that Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, here, in a two-part article “The Cosmology of P and Theological Anthropology in the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach” (scroll down a bit to get to the link to the PDF of the article), does find this convincing, finds another more dramatic example of this in the priestly literature of the book of Sirach (sometimes called “Ecclesiasticus” — not to be confused with Ecclesiastes), and I found Fletcher-Louis persuasive. Beyond Peter Kearney’s Creation and Liturgy, which turned me on to this idea in the first place, I cannot recall the names of the articles that first proposed these links, though I have them in a binder somewhere for another day, for another amplified and thoroughly annotated version of this post.

Continue reading

Excerpt #19 — Cicero on the Path from Socrates through Plato to Aristotle; Cicero on Plato & Aristotle on Form

Continuing with Excerpt #17, which treats of Plato’s narration of Socrates’ philosophical path, and Excerpt #18, where we see Aristotle narrating the philosophical development (and position) of Socrates and Plato, here we get the Roman Stoic Marcus Tullius Cicero (B.C. 106-43) on Socrates through Aristotle.

Continue reading