Tuesday 30 March 2010

Scientific-Spirituality Paradigm

Colin Coward wishes to be off the back foot and no longer defensive, getting away from the trap of the agenda set by Conservative Evangelicals. An example might be what was written recently by Fulcrum, rightly identified as Conservative Evangelical in its shifting of position and its adoption of ecclesiastical bullying.

What Colin identifies is how much of a shift is needed to get off the back foot. It indeed needs a different, more holistic and more of a 'unity' (not uniformity) approach to religion. Arguments within, between - debates with winners and losers - are destructive at this time of change.

From a Christian standpoint the shift is away from original sin and all that, away from the gloom of Augustine of Hippo whom the right wing of the Reformation reaffirmed. It's more towards the myth of enhancing one's perception of the evolved order, what is creative within it (despite, but also with, the agony of it all).

It is the difference between watching a programme presented by Professor Brian "Smiler" Cox and the fascination of the universe as it is - what Rowan Williams called being "in love" with the universe - and the tripe you can hear on something like Revelation TV. There is increasingly a division like that, and you are either on the one side or the other. But to be on the side of Professor Cox is to start to be understanding and to acquire fascination with creativity and chance - earth as Goldilocks, Mars having lost its redistributive moisture, and Venus stuffed with gas congestion and a Jupiter and moons that via gravity agitate another moon into bursting activity - and the chaos theory again that small differences lead on to hugely different outcomes. I like the label of the "scientific-spirituality paradigm".

It is about looking for the healthy and holy inside all of these things, including what it means to be self-conscious thinking and speaking beings. The sort of investigation this implies is at odds with the dead hand of religious bureaucracy, whether credal or otherwise. Now I would say that a problem is a hierarchy being obliged to express a fixed whole delivered credal faith, as also stated by Rowan Williams in a slightly wandering and a little (a little) disingenuous way - because he fails to refer to theology and the diversity in output that does question the details. The "celebrity cases of saying controversial things in public" are because there is an understood reluctance to say other than what the promises force and what forms ordinary expectations. That, though, gets caught into bureaucracy and negativity and narrower expectations inside the credal community.

Still, even within this, it is quite possible to be holistic. Outside it, it might be easier. Whatever, it does mean a more reflective, meditative, approach, and not one of the cosmic ear. It means being a little more Buddhist in clearing the mind of the clutter that is the foodstuff of religious bureaucracy. It is indeed, instead, about "humanist values of peace, justice and equality". Surely people of trust - people of faith - whatever their faiths or none, can come together on the basis that Colin Coward outlines.

No comments: