Re: The Tower of Babel - Less Confusing

From: Dick Fischer (
Date: Sun May 18 2003 - 17:24:01 EDT

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    Burgy wrote:

    >Dick wrote: "Liberals pay lip service only. They are scholarly enough to
    >know the similarities are there, but lack the guts to go beyond what the
    >establishment will allow. After all, there is peer pressure, tenure, and
    >other important considerations.>>
    >Interacting with "liberals" as much as I do, I find your characterization
    >of them as "paying lip service" and "lack the guts to" and yout judgement
    >of their motivations as relating to "peer pressure, tenure, etc." to be
    >so far off base as to be unreasonable to hold in any more than a
    >fundamentalist sense. maybe not even in that sense.

    Oops, I must have stepped on a liberal toe. To spread the blame a bit,
    conservatives don't fare any better. Any historical documentation of
    Genesis, begs the question: What about all the human history that precedes
    Genesis? No, history is the third rail of conservative doctrine, touch it
    and die. So, the historical underpinnings of Genesis go unreported in
    theological circles - both liberal and conservative.

    >I suppose you would call Tillich a liberal. Have your read him? Do you
    >know him at all?

    Since you among others are accustomed to theological double speak I have
    included just a bit for flavor. (If boredom or incomprehension overtakes
    anybody just skip to my response.

    "Reason is not the source of theology, yet it plays a significant role in
    the theology. Tillich distinguishes two categories of reason, namely, an
    ontological reason and a technical reason. The former is the "structure of
    the mind which enables the mind to grasp and to shape reality," and the
    latter "is reduced to the capacity for "reasoning" (71-75). For Tillich,
    the fundamental idea of reason is the ontological reason. The technical
    reason is adequate only as an adopted instrument for revealing the
    ontological reason. The ontological reason, in which subjective and
    objective are rooted, can be related to logos. The subjective reason can be
    defined as the rational structure of the mind, and that is able to catch
    and to form the reality. Relatively, the objective reason can be defined as
    the rational structure of reality, and that is caught and formed by the
    mind. Consequently, Logos is "the word which grasps and shapes reality"
    (74), and therefore is the ontological reason. Tillich takes the term, the
    depth of reason, to relate the transcendental power of which to the meaning
    of being-itself. However, reason subjects to our actual existence, and
    therefore reason experiences the limitations, conflicts, and ambiguities of
    our existence. Accordingly, a quest for revelation is inevitable to resolve
    the finitude of our reason."

    Or as that great Chinese philosopher said: "He who, hoo hee."

    Labels are at the same time necessary and over simplistic. I wish I didn't
    have to use them at all. Of course, not everybody can be pigeon holed
    neatly into just two camps, conservative and liberal.

    I argue against both sides because, in my honest opinion, both sides are
    wrong in roughly equal and opposite directions. Liberals write off the
    historicity of Genesis because they fall into the same interpretation traps
    the conservatives do. Whereas conservatives need to ignore history and
    turn science on its head to try and make it work, liberals take the poor,
    linguistically-challenged Bible writer off the hook by finding methods of

    Since the Genesis narrative lacks historical integrity in the minds of
    liberals it becomes a "polemic against false gods." Because the order of
    presentation in Genesis 1 is not clearly comprehended, the days of creation
    are not in a chronological order, but according to Conrad Hyers, a
    "cosmogonic order," or Roy Clouser's "teleological order." Well, thank
    goodness that is cleared up. Otherwise we might have thought Moses was
    just wrong.

    Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
    Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

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