Anthropologist Foresees a Christian Renaissance
“Ideologies Are Virtually Deceased,” Says RenÃ© Girard
In the book, the French professor states that “religion conquers philosophy and surpasses it. Philosophies in fact are almost dead. Ideologies are virtually deceased; political theories are almost altogether spent. Confidence in the fact that science can replace religion has already been surmounted. There is in the world a new need for religion.”
In regard to moral relativism, defended by Vattimo, RenÃ© Girard writes: “I cannot be a relativist” because “I think the relativism of our time is the product of the failure of modern anthropology, of the attempt to resolve problems linked to the diversity of human cultures.
“Anthropology has failed because it has not succeeded in explaining the different human cultures as a unitary phenomenon, and that is why we are bogged down in relativism.
“In my opinion, Christianity proposes a solution to these problems precisely because it demonstrates that the obstacles, the limits that individuals put on one another serve to avoid a certain type of conflicts.”
The French academic continues: “If it was really understood that Jesus is the universal victim who came precisely to surmount these conflicts, the problem would be solved.”
According to the anthropologist, “Christianity is a revelation of love” but also “a revelation of truth” because “in Christianity, truth and love coincide and are one and the same.”
The “concept of love,” which in Christianity is “the rehabilitation of the unjustly accused victim, is truth itself; it is the anthropological truth and the Christian truth,” explains Girard.
I think this is an interesting example of how consideration of the great and divisive issues of our day and their resolution will occur over time. Regrettably, we are at the point where we expect solutions and results and action NOW, not even tomorrow, but NOW. We can see this dynamic at play in the Anglican Communion right now, if we want to consider Christianity as the example, as Girard in fact does.
Solutions to truly significant human problems will not be realized in the immediate, in the urgent. In time flaws and weaknesses will be made plain and strengths will be clear.
As a Christian, I see our human endeavor outside of the immediate. My American 21st Century self wants to be subsumed by the tyranny of the urgent, but I need to see the human endeavor as something that has been, is, and will come – an eternal perspective of life ever after. The resolutions of the significant issues of our time will be resolved beyond my lifetime, but working for solutions and Truth is an everyday affair.
If I honestly want to know Truth, I have to be willing to admit in humility that everything Iâ€™ve believed up to this point could be wrong. If I don’t, then what I am really after is something that supports my already determined opinions, or at least in the general direction my thinking is going. Over arching Truth comes over time. Our Lord said that there is more truth to be made plain.
If we all can step back for a moment and consider that we could very well be wrong, all of us would be so much further ahead as we try to live with one another, respect one another in our differences, and we might truly have an idea of diversity without relinquishing the quest for Truth and the worth of our own systems and positions – if, in fact, time proves that these systems and positions bear up. The Anglican expression of Christianity has such a tradition, but this tradition is under a great strain right now. I don’t know whether we will survive intact, frankly due to people who want solutions and resolutions NOW. The demand for NOW comes from both the left and the right.
The homosexual issue that seems to be the flash-point of so much angst and consternation among American society and Christians worldwide today will be resolved not right NOW, but over time. Change is hard and too many resist it (of course, not all change is good and change for change sake is rarely all that great!).
I don’t know, Modernism is passing by and Post-Modernism seems to have the day. The “next big thing” is in play somewhere. As for me and my house (if I had one), I will look to the beginning of Wisdom and Truth as my source. I believe that to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Sarah, Ruth, and Mary. (That does mean that I think others do not understand many aspects of the Truth, or in fact that others very often example that Truth more clearly and faithfully than those who claim the name).
“All truth passes through 3 stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer