OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

Re: On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, ...

Re: On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, ...

Do I think that I am “right”? No, but I am committed. Believing that one is “right,” it seems to me, is a bit different than being committed to a way of life. So, for me, the question is not about determining who is right and who is wrong—that is your aim, not mine. I am committed to a way of life in Jesus, which isn’t a matter of being “right.”

I have never claimed to know Jesus’ mindset and I have never determined what his worldview was. I read the Scriptures, fellowship and converse with other people about what I’ve read, write about what I’ve read, and embody what I’ve read in my daily life. You are concerned about what Jesus’ mindset and worldview were, not me. All we have are Jesus’ words, not his mind or his intentions, and so I think that searching for them is a fruitless undertaking.

You’re right that it didn’t take me long to identify you as a realist. You asked me:

So if we can both read each others words and draw conclusions on what our philosophical perspectives are, why do you suggest that can’t be done with Bible writers and characters?”

Because philosophical realism, while having roots in various ancient Greek-pagan philosophers like Plato, didn’t become a coherent paradigm until the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. A similar story goes for non-realism as well. The problem with claiming that Jesus, Moses and St. Paul were philosophical realists is that it is anachronistic. The point is that no one would claim (and hope to be believed) that Jesus drove a Toyota. Everybody knows that Toyota’s weren’t around then. Not everyone is as up to date on the history of various philosophical debates—so it is much easier to claim that Jesus was a philosophical realist, even when that philosophy wasn’t around then. So, I am arguing that Jesus was not a realist and he wasn’t a nonrealist. It would have been historically impossible for him to be either—neither philosophy was in existence, nor was the Toyota.

For me, non-realism isn’t a matter of being consistent or inconsistent with the Bible—those are your concerns, not mine. For me, I read and understand the Bible through a non-realist lens—non-realism defines the philosophical/theological stance I take. No text is going to “prove” that.

Where you see the Bible as proving your faith as right, I see the Bible as giving me the narrative resources to embody the new creation heralded by Jesus. The Bible aims not toward fixed points in the past, but to a future kingdom here on earth.

On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, and Relational Possibilities By: Jacob (99 replies) 21 March, 2009 - 03:10