Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Watching those Lines

So, Richard Holloway was a person in denial, a PID, when he once advised a parishioner to stay clear of Don Cupitt. The PID over, Holloway likes what Cupitt says. The analogy is with the equator. The realist expects to see a black line at the equator (and others crossing it), the critical realist a grey line, and the non-realist realises it is human made. But I expect to see the sun rising at 6 am and setting at 6 pm, regardless of black or grey lines. Yes we drew the lines, but the sun rises and falls the same time always (that is, this is where there are no seasons). Now the science has to be right, and the history has to be right, and both are subject to transience and limitations, but the point is not the lines - nicely human - but the reality represented. And this is why I am the softest of non-realists, and the most critical of critical realists. The problem is not realism or non-realism, or narrative, but the misleading nature of much of the Christian narrative. If the story is rooted in research, it will work at the level investigated and give a positive return.


struans said...

From reading Don Cupitts website about his non-realism, he seems to assert that it's a view that anything and all humanity knows is a construct of humanity. So it's not anti-realist, in the sense of denying any form of reality - be that material, ideal or whatever.

Yet I fail to see the difference between his Christian non-realist position and a Christian realist position which asserts that there is a reality, but that all that's worth doing in terms of living ones life is to follow the Holy Spirit (as discerned by whoever) in line with the life of Jesus Christ.

Didn't you say that you'd been told once when enquiring about Anglican orders that one could be a non-trinitarian in the C of E, but one couldn't be a non-realist?

What exactly did they mean when they told you that though?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Cupitt has said his critics were right, and that a non-realist Christianity isn't possible because it is Platonic - and he rejects the sort of Platonism of the Radical Orthodox. The people who do what you say - follow the scheme in a non-realist way - are the Radical Orthodox. But they assert its Platonic truth, and 'use' the postmodernism of the rest of the world in denying the objectivity of all else.

The person who did say that was in Derbyshire, and also then said otherwise in North Lincolnshire. In the latter case it was the difference between 'real absence' and non-realism. The latter was a no-no whereas the former was allowed - a real God that was absent, so a spirituality in the hope of existence if missing. I preferred non-realism of the spiritual, certainly in terms of 'doing Christianity' - that it was a kind of fiction. But that is my point. Not everything is a kind of fiction.

struans said...

Thanks for that.

It seems to me that a realist position is more authentic than a non-realist position.

A human mind has all forms of personal experiences in their lives - both mental and physical experiences (without wanting to get too much into categorisation).

Those experiences are surely the most fundamental building block for any human. Language - be it spoken or physical - comes next in how humans relate their experiences to each other.

I suppose you could say that a human might not be able to comprehend his experiences without being able to formulate them in terms of language, but I don't buy that. The human unconscious stores up memories of experiences without the need for language that can help shape an experience in the conscious mind.

If I prod a pregnant mothers eight-week-old child then it might kick her inside. That's a form of language - that the child has at least felt that someone has prodded it. That childs experience comes before having learnt any form of language that might be used by humans to relate their personal experiences to one another.

Thoughts ? Thanks once again.

struans said...

I meant 8 months, not weeks, of course!