Friday, 16 November 2012

The Who, What, Where, Whom, (W)How, Why VI

The What?

For the writing of this meditation they prescribed—in accordance more with their
own wishes than with the ease of the task or with my ability—the
following format: that nothing at all in the meditation would be
argued on Scriptural authority, but that in unembellished style
and by unsophisticated arguments and with uncomplicated disputation
rational necessity would tersely prove to be the case, and
truth's clarity would openly manifest to be the case, whatever the
conclusion resulting from the distinct inquiries would declare.

   Anselm of Canterbury, Monologion, c1077/1078
translated by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson (2000)

sed desidero aliquatenus intelligere veritatem tuam, quam credit et amat cor meum. Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam. Nam et hoc credo: quia "nisi credidero, non intelligam" 

But I yearn to understand some measure of Your truth,
which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand
in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For I believe
even this: that unless I believe, I shall not understand.
   Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, c1076

translated by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson (2000)

“Unlike Gramsci, I am religious not simply for political aims but also by personal commitment. . . . I find existential sustenance in many of the narratives in the biblical scriptures . . . and I see political relevance in the biblical focus on the plight of the wretched of the earth.” West adds that without “racial and gender equality, tolerance, and democracy, much of the tradition warrants rejection.” When “stripped of static dogmas and decrepit doctrines,” one discovers what is presumably Christianity’s authentic core. This core-Christianity “remains a rich source of existential empowerment and political engagement when viewed through modern lenses (indeed the only ones we moderns have!).”
    Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), 232-33.

Like Kierkegaard, whose reflections on Christian faith were so profound yet often so frustrating, I do not think it possible to put forward rational defenses of one’s faith that verify its veracity or even persuade one’s critics. Yet it is possible to convey to others the sense of deep emptiness and pervasive meaninglessness one feels if one is not critically aligned with an enabling tradition. One risks not logical inconsistency but actual insanity; the issue is not reason or irrationality but life or death. Of course, the fundamental question remains whether the Christian gospel is ultimately true. And, as a Christian prophetic pragmatist whose focus is on coping with transient and provisional penultimate matters yet whose hope goes beyond them, I reply in the affirmative, bank my all on it, yet am willing to entertain the possibility in low moments that I may be deluded.
                Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), 232-33.

context is the pretext to suppress the text
Russell A. Berman, “The Editor, the Journal, the Project” (2009) 5.1 Fast Capitalism

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