Daily Riches: God’s Unanswerable Argument (John Boswel, Jonathan Haidt, and Baruch Spinoza)

  . “I have striven not to laugh at human actions,
not to weep at them,
not to hate them,
but to understand them.”
Baruch Spinoza

“You can’t use reason to argue someone out of a position he didn’t get into by reason. …There are, on the other hand, ways to communicate and enlighten not dependent on mere information that can overcome deeply embedded prejudices better than argument. A life can be an argument; being can be a reason. An idea can be embodied in a person, and in human form it may break down barriers and soften hardness of heart that words could not. This is, at least in part, what John the Evangelist means when he refers to Christ as logos. Although translators often render it as ‘word,’ it is much more than that. It is Greek for ‘reason’ and ‘argument’: our word for ‘logic’ comes from it. Christ was God’s unanswerable ‘argument.’ His people had hardened their hearts against his spoken reasons, the arguments propounded – in words – for centuries by prophets and sages. So he sent an argument in the form of a human being, a life, a person. The argument became flesh and blood: so real that no one could refute or ignore it.”  John Boswell

“The first principle of moral psychology [is that] Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. To  explain this principle I used the metaphor of the mind as a rider (reasoning) on an elephant (intuition) and I said that the rider’s function is to serve the elephant. Reasoning matters, particularly because reasons do sometimes influence other people, but most of the action in moral psychology is in the intuitions. …We humans have an extraordinary ability to care about things beyond ourselves, to circle around those things with other people, and in the process to bind ourselves into teams that can pursue larger projects. That what religion is all about … it’s what politics is about too. [But] …team membership blinds people to the motives and morals of their opponents – and to the wisdom that is to be found scattered among diverse political ideologies.” Jonathan Haidt

“Then the owner of the vineyard said,
‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love;
perhaps they will respect him.’”
Jesus in Luke 20:13

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you depend heavily on “information” and “strategic reasoning” to persuade others?
  • Is your life a persuasive “argument” for the views you hold?
  • Does your sense of your own rightness blind you “to the motives and morals of your opponents?”

Abba, help me live a life for you that is hard to dismiss or ignore.

For More: The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

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Thanks for following and sharing my blog. I appreciate it!  –  Bill

Daily Riches: The Limits of Religion and Science (Richard Rohr, Robert Russell, John Buchanan, Arthus Bogel and Simone Weil)

“The living God is related to the categories and formal arguments of our abstract thinking as fire is related to paper.” Arthus Bogel

“Great science, which we once considered an ‘enemy’ of religion, is now helping us see that we’re standing in the middle of awesome Mystery, and the only response before that Mystery is immense humility. Astrophysicists are much more comfortable with darkness, emptiness, non-explainability (dark matter, black holes), and living with hypotheses than most Christians I know. Who could have imagined this?” Richard Rohr

“I am … reminded of the humility of those early theologians who knew that when we seek to speak of God we do so only out of the glimmers of understanding that sparkle amid the vast background of uncomprehended mystery….” Robert J. Russell

“In a recent sermon [Rev. John Buchanan] writes that the science that many Christians had felt over the centuries to be ‘our greatest threat … is now teaching us the ancient truth about mystery, a truth that used to be ours – that when it comes to ultimate truth, the most appropriate posture is modesty, silence, reverence, not propounding, shouting, condemning, excommunicating.’” Kathleen Norris quoting Buchanan

“The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.” Simone Weil

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said,
‘Here am I, here am I.’”
Isaiah 65:1

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has the living God ever burned up what you had all figured out on “paper?” Can you be comfortable with “non-explanability?”
  • Do you think of “the mysteries of faith” as something to be analysed and explained, or something to be lived with and savored?
  • Do your religious or scientific convictions lead to “propounding, shouting, condemning, excommunicating” or to “modesty, silence, reverence?”
  • Many world-class scientists are people of faith. I you’re not aware of them, why not do a little checking?

Abba, help me to think clearly and critically, but may my faith be bigger than the best of my figuring and explaining. May I constantly be moving from the head to the heart, from thinking and believing to doing and loving.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”