Friday, May 29, 2009

The Future is Not What it Used to Be

One of the innovations of the film Citizen Kane was its treatment of time. Instead of telling the story in a linear manner, it mixes up time frames, going back and forth to different points in Kane's life, and yet, still maintaining its dramatic arc.

One of my all time favorite films is Double Indemnity, which also plays with time. If you've seen it, you know that it is told back to front. It begins at the end, and yet, doesn't lose one bit of its dramatic tension. The same device was used in Sunset Boulevard, also directed by Billy Wilder. It begins with the dead narrator floating face down in a swimming pool.

There is something similar going on with the Christian theo-drama, in which the end is given to us at the beginning, i.e., the Godman nailed to a cross. And yet, the drama continues. How does that work? In other words, in one very important sense, the curtain closes with the utterance of the line it is accomplished. Something was fulfilled in that moment, but from our vantage point as actor-spectators, or spectactors, it almost seems like an eerily private moment. What does it mean for us?

This brings us to the topic of eschatology, which, as it pertains to the theo-drama, reveals the overarching theme of the author. Eschatology has to do with the ultimate end of creation, and therefore its meaning. Thus, when Christ utters his last words (from this side of life), they have obvious eschatological implications, for they signify either the end of the drama or the end of the act.

This gets to the heart of the distinction between "Christian" and "Jew" (and I'm placing them in quotes because you could say that this goes more to an ontological stance than a religious one, for many Christians live in a "Jewish" eschatology, and vice versa).

In essence, for the Christian, his eschatology has already been realized and fulfilled. Like Double Indemnity, the end is at the beginning. You might say that the Christian knows the future, and it is back on a cross on Golgotha.

But the Jew is still waiting. Thus, he lives in an unrealized eschatology. Specifically, he is still hoping for the messiah. And even then, the messiah he hopes for will be nothing whatsoever like Jesus. Rather, he will be more of a political, or let us say, "immanent," messiah who will smite the wicked and restore justice to the world.

Interestingly, I think you can see how this stance is just one step away from various socialist ideologies that attempt to do the same thing -- to essentially force the eschaton (and then force it upon us). I hope we can say without absurd charges of anti-Semitism that the socialist movement was indeed disproportionately represented by secularized Jews, or that Marx himself was the ultimate self-hating Jew. Dennis Prager talks about this all the time, and has written articles about the phenomenon (e.g., Chomsky, Zinn, Soros, Rahm Emanuel, etc.).

I believe this explains the mystery of why some 85-90% of Jews vote Democrat. They do so because they are by and large only nominally religious (or don't understand their religion), and because they have displaced their messianic hope into politics. A Jewish friend of mine who is well connected to the orthodox community says that Jews who are truly serious about their religion are quite naturally conservative, just like anyone else who is serious about religion. Dennis Prager, for example, is often dismissed by liberal Jews as cuckoo, even though he is clearly the sober and serious one. I mean, it is strictly impossible to be in favor of "homosexual marriage" and still call yourself a Jew -- not because of Leviticus, but because of the nature of reality. Even I know that.

You could say the same thing about the mystery of how someone who pretends to be Catholic could under any circumstance support someone as openly hostile to God as Obama. And yet, I believe that more than 50% of Catholics voted for him. Why? Yes, they're ignorant of their own (poorly taught) tradition, but there's more to it than that. The problem is that they have internalized the secular eschatology of the left and imported it into religion.

In other words, "liberation theology" is none other than the denial of the realized "vertical" eschatology of Christianity, and its covert replacement with an unrealized horizontal eschatology that inevitably revolves around economics, which in turn reduces to matter and thereby murders God.

Examples are just too numerous to chronicle here, but as Pope Benedict said, the loss of transcendence leads to the flight to utopia. But only every time. When people joke about Obama being the messiah, it is actually no joke, as the energy underlying all of the irrational support for him is indeed messianic, except that it is again in the context of a de-Christianized and horizontalized eschatology.

Now, how do we reconcile this notion that the future has already been fulfilled, with the fact that our lives obviously continue "moving forward?" Balthasar spends considerable time discussing this orthoparadox, except that it's scattered everywhere within the five volumes. Therefore, it is again difficult for me to write about it in any systematic way, so I'll just have to improvise and hope for the best. With any luck, I'll be guided by a nonlocal attractor that will confer some perfect nonsense on all of this.

First of all, think about pre-Christian or pagan eschatology. Not only was time unfulfilled, but it was unfulfillable. The wise man, e.g., the Stoic, just accepted this with resignation and dignity. His dignity derived from meeting his pointless death in a noble manner. There was no hope for an afterlife in any personal sense envisaged by Christianity, i.e., bodily resurrection. Indeed, it was inconceivable. There was no real eschatology; or, if there was, only the gods could know about it. And even then, the gods just used humans for their own amusement. They had no higher motives.

Now, the Jews introduced a radical new idea about eschatology: there was one God, and he had a definite purpose in creation. However, early Jewish R & D focused almost exclusively on the group as opposed to the individual. Remember, G-d struck a deal with the people of Israel, not the person. No one had a "personal relationship" with God, not even the prophets.

Jewish eschatology was obviously messianic -- another eschatological innovation -- but the Jew was resigned to waiting and hoping for its fulfillment. And again, no one envisaged the type of messiah that was to come, for he turned out to be a vertical messiah sent down into horizontal time. Jews who recognized the vertical messiah quite simply became "Christian."

But there were some more subtle effects of Jewish messianism. For example, as HvB explains, it "opens up a 'flight into the future' as the only way out of the unendurable." Things will get better, some way, somehow.

In the present day, this manifests in the obsessive utopianism and compulsive "revolutionism" of the left. These were hatched by the Judeo-Christian tradition, but now the latter are in danger of being engulfed by them (as indicated by those messianic hordes of Obama-supporting Jews and Christians).

As HvB explains, utopianism involves the attempt to bring about what is strictly impossible (a reversal of the fall) through a sheer act of will, while revolutionism attempts to impose this impossible utopia "through catastrophic changes of structures." This is what Obama means when he confides to his supporters that you ain't seen nothin' yet. The messiah has not yet begun to revolt, as revolting as he is already.

Note that this revolutionary and utopian eschatology is specifically a counter-narrative to the Judeo-Christian one, and yet, derived from it -- like a mirror image. Instead of theo-drama, it is maya-drama. It has a plot, conflict, clearly drawn characters embodying good and evil, etc.

But it should go without saying that this is not the real drama, just a counterfeit one. And it's not just that it is counterfeit, but that it attempts to draw you into its third-rate script, so that you become an actor in that cheap melodrama instead of the real telodrama. Then you spend your life bumbling around the stage of an off-off-off-Broadway play. But the real drama can never be a broad way, only a narrow one.

Well, I'm up against a temporal wall.... to be continued.

44 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting post. Although purely horizontal utopianism is clearly a red herring, nevertheless a material utopianism is admissible to the Christian raccoon.

Why protest the materialist, Bob? In the hopes of pointing the world in a better direction. There could be no other motive save for childish peeve, and we know that's not it. Carried to its logical conclusion, you would eradicate materialism and that would lead to a well-ordered and peaceful spirit based society.

Why does the Catholic Church run a soup kitchen? It clearly envisions an ideal in which no person goes hungry. A utopia, if you will.

Why write of spiritual transformation, Aurobindo? To outline the coming of a new and desirable spiritual world order, of course. Does that sound utopian in a very material sense as well? Yes it does.

The preoccupation of every serious raccoon should be the material manifestion of spirit now, which cannot help but improve the world. Carried to its logical conclusion, this would create utopia.

Utopia is defined as a peaceful, well-ordered society in which spiritual growth is optimized. Food, shelter, and love will be available to all members.

We can't know what it would be like precisely, but since bad effects flow from horizontalism, its removal cannot help but to create a better civilization down to the street level.

So, in summary, and to belabor and restate Bob's main point, the Obamites want what raccoons want, but are going about it the wrong way.

Are Christians living in an unfilled eschatology? Not really, because of the certainty of eternal afterlife. We don't NEED utopia, BUT certainly recognize it as a desirable and important, if not the most important, aim of collective or social life here on Earth.

Are Obamites livling in an unfilled eschatology? Not really either. Because they believe they will live their four score and then pass into oblivion, they don' need Utopia, and understand they won't get it in their lifetime. It remains simply a desirable, optional but important goal, the same as for the Christian.

Sorry to go long, Bob, but you deserve a thorough rebuttal from this experienced troll.

5/29/2009 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sowell on the revolting one.

5/29/2009 09:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Cory said...

The purpose of giving alms, opening soup kitchens, etc. is not the establishment of a material utopia. The purpose is to provide fallen souls here with means and opportunity to act in accordance with the will of God and "love your neighbor as yourself". In other words the whole point of acts of charity is to purify. Acts of themselves will not deliver one. One is delivered by Grace and Truth. But acts of charity tend to put attention on the other and away from the corrupt self and so allow one to exteriorize from the mess that is inherent in each of us and, if we are earnest, sincere and diligent, give us a glimpse of what is truly real.

Acts are to be performed as service to God without attachment and with acceptance of whatever outcome God wills. All the sects teach this but I think that the Indian doctrine of karma yoga probably outlines it best. I find it to be clearest at any rate.

5/29/2009 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

Things will get better, some way, somehow. So what you are selling is the idea that things will never get better, that there is no hope of improving our earthly lot. Good luck with that.

5/29/2009 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You nailed it, Bob.

The futurist interpretation of the Book of Revelation is Jewish eschatology -- Yeah, yeah, Messiah's been here, but He's coming back with the Posse, and He's pissed.

Much of the ground for the futurist interpretation is laid in Gospels and Epistles anticipating an imminent and certain judgment which did fall, though not without mercy and the offer of restoration.

In contrast to the socialist, secularist seeking after a horizontal messiah, many Christians embrace the Jewish eschatological model as a means of escaping the world and death, seeing that the unbelievers get the wrath of God they have coming, and then blowing up the whole thing like Michael Landon blew up the "Little House" set when the network dropped the show.

I may put too much emphasis on the implications of "It is finished" for the individual, the personal relationship, and entering the Kingdom now, but I don't know what else to do. That seems to be the practical approach until Jesus does actually show up again.

5/29/2009 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, if you want to understand the varieties of eschatological stupidity, just pay attention to the deeper structure of the critical comments this post generates. Not one will understand the plot, to put it mildly.

5/29/2009 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Indeed. I'm baffled by the folks who long for utopia. Even at the most difficult times in my life, I never longed for some great overarching perfect society to meet all of my needs and allow me to spend my days without worry over material comforts, where we could all happily "just get along." Besides, I already have that, as much as is possible in the herebelow; what I really need is for society to stay the hell out of it.

5/29/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Related thoughts by Klavan, here. With bonus 300 reference!

5/29/2009 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Utopia is defined as a peaceful, well-ordered society

Gad - how dull

5/29/2009 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Good stuff on Queeg, including comments.

5/29/2009 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninny in a potty said "...material utopianism is admissible to the Christian raccoon..."

You know, I do no t'ink doz words means what you t'ink dei means.

5/29/2009 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

gulping potty said "So what you are selling is the idea that things will never get better, that there is no hope of improving our earthly lot. Good luck with that."

I do no t'ink you t'ink.

5/29/2009 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Julie, people like utopias because they "fix" everybody else and make them like me, or me like everyone else. Neither of these has much appeal.

And making everybody like me is particularly terrifying.

5/29/2009 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

Thomas More Law Center in the news again, and it's good.

Via Diana West.In his well-written and detailed analysis issued yesterday, Judge Zatkoff denied the request by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice to dismiss the lawsuit.  The request was filed on behalf of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the Federal Reserve Board – the named defendants in the case.  In his ruling, the judge held that the lawsuit sufficiently alleged a federal constitutional challenge to the use of taxpayer money to fund AIG’s Islamic religious activities.

5/29/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

...it is strictly impossible to be in favor of "homosexual marriage" and still call yourself a Jew... Oh well, thanks be to HaShem the Jews have goyisher kopf geniuses like you to explain what the whole thing really means.

5/29/2009 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Lao Tseberg said...

If godinpotty, everything permissible.

5/29/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Rick Nelson said...

If you ever play a goddinpotty, just don't try to please everyone.

5/29/2009 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Cory said: "The purpose of giving alms, opening soup kitchens, etc. is not the establishment of a material utopia. . The purpose is to provide fallen souls here with means and opportunity to act in accordance with the will of God and "love your neighbor as yourself"."

yes, and the purpose of government is to provide the space to enable people to do that freely.

5/29/2009 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Or perhaps more precisely, the purpose of our government (as originally intended) is to stay out of the way so that people may do that freely.

What government provides, it can also take away.

5/29/2009 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Since I have no time today, I'll plagiarize my own self from over at QP's yesterday:

In that maligned black book, the history of humanity is permanently Storyboarded, prepared for us filmmakers collectively busy with our impotent erasers and gaudy crayons intent on improving the plot and sexing up the characters. Nevertheless, the O-riginal outline eventually always bleeds through, scandalizing each generation anew.

Christ, the untopiate of the people.

wv: blimi!

5/29/2009 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Kepler Sings said...

However, early Jewish R & D focused almost exclusively on the group as opposed to the individual. Remember, G-d struck a deal with the people of Israel, not the person. No one had a "personal relationship" with God, not even the prophets. Now I hope I am not missing the forest by looking at a tree, but the actual hidden message throughout the Old Covenant was about men that did have a personal relationship with God. It was the masses that had problems with God.

Abraham was "the friend of God." David was, "a man after God's own heart." Elijah announces himself to the worldly authority (Ahab) as, "one who stands in the presence of the Lord." So threaded, even through the Jewish writings and traditions was this idea of a personal relationship with God.

However by and large the Jews did reject this, because they had a problem with the actual person that God chose to show up as. The horizontal viewpoint was really displayed by Judas. Many people wonder what did Judas do that was so bad? After all his motive was to get Christ to stop all this mystical foo fah rah and smite the Romans and start ruling, forget all this sermon on the mount and healing lepers.

However the mindset of Judas is predictive of that such as Marx, or our current Left. If they do have a knowledge of God, He is only to be manipulated for political ends. That is the terrible sin of Judas, and of the Left.

5/29/2009 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If utopia were somehow handed to the world on a plate, it would be folly to turn it down, Julie's comments nonwithstanding.

That would be akin to self-flagellation or martyrdom, or some other misguided goal.

There would of course be challenges to surmount in utopia. These would be spiritual instead of material challenges.

Bob of course would have no ammunition for unfavorable comparisons between Christians and others under such conditions, but would that be a serious loss?

He'd find something else to do.

5/29/2009 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My point -- or Balthasar's -- is that the old covenant was with Israel, i.e., the collective.

5/29/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

At the risk of creating a rift in the space-time-interweb-continuum, Dr. Sanity had this to say yesterday:

"After the leftist disasters of the 20th century; after the devastating consequences of forcing people to live in a variety of these "utopian paradises", it is simply amazing that today's left continues to deny the reality of human nature. Yet they do, and that is why they keep coming back to the same old tired ideas and policies and formulas that have repeatedly failed in the real world and which have always--ALWAYS--ended up unleashing all the evil of which human nature is capable."

5/29/2009 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Or perhaps more precisely, the purpose of our government (as originally intended) is to stay out of the way so that people may do that freely.

What government provides, it can also take away."

And of course, what govt provides, it does so by taking away... whether that be money or rights, it can't give without first taking.

5/29/2009 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymess said "...If utopia were somehow handed to the world on a plate, it would be folly to turn it down..."

Yeh... and if ice burned it'd be folly not to warm yourself by it. If reality weren't real, it'd be so much easier to satisfy yourself with, wouldn't it?

moron.

5/29/2009 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie quoted Dr. Sanity "...after the devastating consequences of forcing people to live in a variety of these "utopian paradises", it is simply amazing that today's left continues to deny the reality of human nature..."

As aninnymess demon strated, dreamworlds aren't affected by reality.

5/29/2009 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van @ 2:17 - indeed; I realized I had neglected that bit after hitting "post."

5/29/2009 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Escaping utopia.

I can't help but notice the heroes in the first section are Christian missionaries. And as an aside, how bad must it be to want to flee to China?

5/29/2009 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

warning: the following is a murked-over esoteric heaviness

>> . . the messiah he hopes for will be nothing whatsoever like Jesus. Rather, he will be more of a political, or let us say, "immanent," messiah who will smite the wicked and restore justice to the world<<

There are even quite a few mystical rabbis that I know of - ie., conservative-minded, Marx and Freud-despising rabbis - who do in fact conceive of the messiah in just this "immanent" way. Obviously as a follower of Christ (if not a "Christian" per se), I can't agree with this perspective. And yet I can in a certain way, for the following reasons -

As the One Who completely overcame the world, Christ was given all power on heaven and earth. In some sense then, Christ became Jehovah. That is, the Divine Creative Force, formerly of nature and necessarily "Other", sublimated itself into its highest, destined expression - human consciousness, one human consciousness. So . . . .

It seems to me that the return of Christ, the Second Coming, would have to necessarily be dramatic, messiah-like. It would have to be the verticality of the "It is accomplished" played out in horizontal, linear time, if only for the merest fraction of a second, the zero-moment when linear time is transfigured into timeless time. All eyes are necessarily going to witness this, but "ye shall be changed" - we will witness it through transfigured eyes.

re:smiting the wicked and restoring justice - The return of Christ-as-Jehovah would smite the wicked in the sense of its restoring the natural spiritual balance to the earth, a re-Edenizing, thus the good and evil, sheep and goats, the spiritually progressed and the not-very spiritually progressed - these would be naturally separated, literally to inhabit different dimensions. I should say that these will naturally separate themselves, each being automatically magnetized to their elemental source.

What point was I trying to make? O yeah - The return of Christ and the coming of the Jewish messiah are not completely dissimilar in scope.

However, as Bob points out, the contention's over whether the messiah has already appeared. Judaism says no, can't be because when the messiah comes, peace comes, and when Christ came, nothing changed. Which is true, in a sense. Wars, strife, death continued. I think to understand the whole Christ Theo-Drama, one has to admit just that . . . nothing did change in that respect. But in another respect, everything changed, is, in fact, changing now. Eternity entered the finite plane, radiating and redeeming all linear time, rendering it timeless time. In this sense, the Resurrected Christ is the returned Christ, and He is here, now. In another sense, Christ is the messiah to come, but who can appear in full only when our senses are transfigured. Only when our senses our transfigured will we see Christ-the-messiah "in glory", outside/inside time.

Would it be amiss to say that Christians will behold Christ "outside time" and Jews will behold the messiah "inside time", and that they are both right and that both views penetrate and complete each other?

5/29/2009 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

From the above article,

She rose unsteadily from her hospital bed to greet me, a shy smile on her face. A scar from the surgery extended around to the base of her throat. The intense young woman I remembered, with the deep laugh and showy clothes, now teetered in baggy pajamas, her voice a hoarse whisper. "I called Pastor Chun to thank him," she said. "Durihana is helping pay for my treatment. Sometimes Pastor Chun comes here, and we pray together." White, Chun had told me, is a committed Christian—"the real thing, a good, pure spirit."

White had already visited the apartment she hoped to move into. "First I will buy a computer and a refrigerator," she said, "and I will cook North Korean dishes." She caught me staring. I couldn't help it. She had spent a year locked in a room in China, followed by three months in a crowded detention center in Thailand, and now three months in a hospital room, during which time she had learned of her mother's death and her brother's imprisonment. How could she look so beatific? She walked outside with me to the taxi stand to say goodbye, and when I looked back from the car, White was still standing there, smiling at the spacious sky.

5/29/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

We each have to work it out for ourselves. Our betters give us guidance and counsel and our God provides revelation to them to pass on to us. And if we listen carefully and follow the counsel and live the Law to the best of our ability our God will provide revelation for us as well. He is no respecter of persons and He knows His own.

The material challenges of the world serve a spiritual end. Those who fail to understand this inflict incredible harm on themselves and others. This is an ancient lesson constantly being learned, unlearned and relearned. Someone once told me that as we move through this life we are either facing toward Him or away from Him. If facing toward Him then all will be well. If not then our future is, at best, rather dreary.

5/29/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

I meant, of course, that MY comments made for a murked-over esoteric heaviness, not Bob's.

5/29/2009 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Kepler Sings said...

My point -- or Balthasar's -- is that the old covenant was with Israel, i.e., the collective.I know, just pointing out the obvious (my specialty) that hidden in plain sight all along was the idea of the end goal, that being a personal relationship with God. So that the very first record of a man not seeing death is Enoch back before the flood: "Enoch walked with God, and was not." The Bible interprets this to mean that Enoch was translated without seeing death, thousands of years before Abraham, or Christ.

I just think it is illustrative that the drive to remain horizontal in relationships is always, and was always displeasing to God. Note when Samuel was the prophetic leader over Israel and they asked for a King "so they could be like the other nations." And God and Samuel were displeased.

Now that same thing is manifested with a vengeance in our own Left, in that they hate the difference of America, they want to be just like Europe. Samuel responded when the people asked for a King, "I would that all men be prophets."

Have no need of an earthly King, but have the governance of God within, even as a known voice (which is what really makes a prophet what they are....they hear God as well as we hear other people).

Note when the crowds tried to take Jesus by force to make him King, He withdrew.

This is a deadly game and IMO is coming to a conclusion now in our lifetimes. God is separating for eternity those that REFUSE to grow up, and the manifestation of that refusal is the stuff we are witnessing, the worship of figures here on earth. A thousand proofs will never convince an Obama worshiper, that he is not good, that his intentions are not good. I think many will be destroyed by this man and they will be singing his praises on the way to the graves he dug for them.

5/29/2009 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

"Why does the Catholic Church run a soup kitchen? It clearly envisions an ideal in which no person goes hungry. A utopia, if you will."

Not so; as the Founder stated, "The poor you will always have with you."


"Utopia is defined as a peaceful, well-ordered society in which spiritual growth is optimized. Food, shelter, and love will be available to all members. "

Not so; utopia means "no place".

Deepak, is that you?

5/29/2009 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

I failed to mention that I find the post to be outstanding. I don't always "get" it with these posts. This one I got.

5/29/2009 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will:

It seems to me that you are combining Christ and Aurobindo in a most intriguing way. The similarities are quite striking, e.g., Aurobindo "realizing" the supramental vertically, but then having to work on the task of manifesting it horizontally.

At the moment, I am completely "surrendered" to Balthasar, so to speak, so I have little perspective on anything else. I'm obviously in the middle of the process of trying to "digest" the Theo-Drama. But I can see myself going back in that direction when this is all over, i.e, some "new" way to reconcile vertical and horizontal, while maintaining a fully orthodox perspective...

5/29/2009 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

At the moment, I am completely "surrendered" to Balthasar...It's interesting how we have to do that, with the great writers/ thinkers/ knowers especially, in order to really metabolize what it is they're trying to convey. Anything less makes them almost completely opaque.

5/29/2009 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, the only way to understand a great thinker is to become completely sympathetic to their worldview. It's even more important in religion. This is something Ramakrishna did, for example. He completely surrendered himself to Christianity, and found it to be entirely true. As I recall, he used to weep in his love for Mary.

5/29/2009 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Julie: Thanks for the improvement on my post - I, of course, agree with it.

5/29/2009 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"there is no hope of improving our earthly lot" apart from Christ. Finished it for ya.

5/29/2009 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"In other words, "liberation theology" is none other than the denial of the realized "vertical" eschatology of Christianity, and its covert replacement with an unrealized horizontal eschatology that inevitably revolves around economics, which in turn reduces to matter and thereby murders God.

Examples are just too numerous to chronicle here, but as Pope Benedict said, the loss of transcendence leads to the flight to utopia. But only every time. When people joke about Obama being the messiah, it is actually no joke, as the energy underlying all of the irrational support for him is indeed messianic, except that it is again in the context of a de-Christianized and horizontalized eschatology."

Bob, you really hit the nail on the head with this post. I often wonder why proponents of "liberation theology" even bother with the God-talk. It's so totally man-centered. I suppose it's an attempt to "sanctify" their coercive, control-freak political viewpoint.

5/29/2009 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

G.Bob wrote: "I hope we can say without absurd charges of anti-Semitism that the socialist movement was indeed disproportionately represented by secularized Jews, or that Marx himself was the ultimate self-hating Jew. .....I believe this explains the mystery of why some 85-90% of Jews vote Democrat. They do so because they are by and large only nominally religious (or don't understand their religion)..."

"Nominally religious", is right as they may plainly read this in their Scriptures: "[Do not] pervert justice by favoring the poor." Leviticus 19:15

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (who died on January 8, 2009, at the age of seventy-two), had this to say about socialism:

"Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion"

Pope Benedict agrees: "[Some Christians] are involved in a disastrous confusion between the poor of Scripture and the proletariat of Marx. In this way they pervert the Christian meaning of the poor, and they transform the fight for the rights of the poor into a class fight within the ideological perspective of the class struggle. For them the Church of the poor signifies the Church of the class .." - Pope Benedict XVI - Theologies of Liberation - August 6, 1984

He further explains that "..an authentic...theology: [is] one that puts:

[1] God and the life of the spirit first,
[2] DIRECT charitable care of others second,
[3] and only then draws consequences for a just social order."

- Pope Benedict XVI HERE

5/30/2009 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger pascale said...

I thought you might be interested in learning about OUR Jewish traditions which embrace the real Christ. We are the Frankist Association of America. One of our members has a new book out:

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Messiah-Throne-Origins-Christianity/dp/1906787123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245892844&sr=8-1

These are our teachings passed on through generations. If you can’t afford the book you can see the website of our teacher - http://www.stephanhuller.blogspot.com.

Shalom
Beth El Jacob Frank

6/25/2009 11:28:00 AM  

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