Thursday, August 5, 2010

Norms, Self, and Unity

Every religion teaches norms of some kind, whether they are doctrinal, theological, philosophical, cultural, or ethical.

No human being can adhere completely to group-made norms, and very few can adhere to self-established norms (since we evolving bipeds tend to be a 'house of cards' held together with shaky but imperious norms). A saint might adhere to all of his or her true self energies, but only a fool adheres to all of a group's edicts.**

It remains a question whether divine agency can bridge these multiples and unify the self, and beyond that (in a bewildering multiple of multiples) bind groups that are tearing the world asunder. In the Christian religion, this question is answered in the affirmative under the designation Holy Spirit. Other religions also identify a ground of unity.

In philosophy, Hegel tried to articulate the unity of reason and worldly becoming. Having not lived to the end of history, I am unsure of the Christian hypothesis; having not read to end of Hegel, I am unsure of the success of his endeavor.

I dispositionally prefer Jamesean pluralism, but pluralism may be best guaranteed by a truly transcendent God. Mark Heim, a theologian at Andover Newton Theological School, argues that it is.

**A vague memory tells me that a variation on this idea was first said by someone else, but who it was, I know not.

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