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Re: The darkness of things unseen

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  • louise
    ... abstract ... only ... actual Christianity, ... I do not accept that my statement above amounted to a simple argument. It was an attempt at clarification,
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 17, 2008
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "bvtswami" <bvtswami@...> wrote:
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
      > >
      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "bvtswami" <bvtswami@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > My second complaint, that the sentience
      > > > > of non-human animals is all too often acknowledged only in
      > > > > fashion. That there is neither reverence nor fear and trembling
      > > > > evident within the processes whereby animal husbandry is
      > > systematised,
      > > > > and animal experimentation is planned and conducted. If only I
      > > had the
      > > > > tongue of an angel, with which to make my lament, but there is
      > > > > that which I am able to write, a protest. Louise
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > Christianity did not help much on this one.
      > >
      > > Again, it is an intricate question, what is Christianity. Kierkegaard
      > > made the useful distinction between Christendom, the body of
      > > professing believers, regardless of actual subjective commitment, and
      > > those for whom faith is truly matter of fear and trembling. He wrote
      > > from the standpoint of one who saw how deadly the complacency of an
      > > early inculcated belief, that acts to block any sense of what there
      > > might be, that calls for redemptive grace. Words, again, so readily
      > > evade our capacity for independent thought, and a church as easily as
      > > any other corporate body may reinforce deceptions and vain fantasies.
      > >
      > > It always amazed how Descartes could not
      > > > make the obvious connection between self consciousness and
      > > consciousness. The two
      > > > seem more related than not--the human is more than the animal but
      > > animal nonetheless.
      > > > Consciousness reaches a high point in humanity in terms of "I-ness,"
      > > but it is present in
      > > > less developed forms of life as well as awareness of pain, pleasure.
      > > etc., which would seem
      > > > to be byproducts of I-ness however undeveloped. Perhaps its ability
      > > to recognize itself is
      > > > dependent on the vehicle it finds itself in, but to the extent that
      > > it does it would seem that
      > > > it would be able to recognize the same phenomenon appearing
      > > elsewhere and show it the
      > > > respect it expects for itself. This then would lend to the notion
      > > that the budding I-ness of
      > > > human consciousness still has some distance to go, at least in
      > > people like Descartes, a
      > > > Christian who did much to shape the scientific revolution.
      > > >
      > >
      > Of course one can make this simple argument as to what constitutes
      actual Christianity,
      > separating the devout and introspective from the superficial believers.

      I do not accept that my statement above amounted to a simple argument.
      It was an attempt at clarification, as contribution to the 'intricate
      question' of what Christianity is. As such, I made a simple
      statement, which I believe to be true, and then elaborated on the
      theme. There is something quite awesome, about a contemplation of
      everything that has been done in the name of Christianity, and I am
      assuming that it would be unwise to take such a lofty and terrifying
      view of that historical phenomenon, at least for someone of my
      sensibility. What you write about Descartes and the foundations of
      science I find credible and convincing. For me, it is far from the
      end of the story. From a personal standpoint, I take seriously the
      demand to work out one's own salvation, without believing that a
      sacrifice of my intellectual conscience or my sensitivity toward
      animal life is required.

      But Descartes was a
      > very introspective and devout Jesuit. And much of Christianity and
      science as we know
      > them have him at their foundations. Chirstianity blessed science to
      view non human
      > sentience in ways that have lent to the circumstances you have
      described. Furthermore, as
      > far as I know, Christian doctrine views animal consciousness such
      that these
      > circumstances/practices are arguably justifiable. If we look
      Eastward, however, the
      > simplistic realization of the fact that I may doubt everything but I
      cannot doubt the
      > doubter appeared centuries earlier and with insight into the nature
      of consciousness that
      > does not lend any support to these circumstances/practices.
      > Of course one could then question if such an Eastern understanding
      would have ever
      > ushered in the scientific revolution. Perhaps not, but that should
      not be a problem for an
      > existentialist, and furthermore modern science may arguably prove
      itself to be as much
      > useful as it is problematic.
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