Living continuity is something that matters, an important aspect of our experience. But the way it matters is not a given on which we would be authorized to lean, in order to organize everything else. In other words, the task of philosophy is to interpret common sense, not to follow any commonsensical claim in particular, because as soon as it is given doctrinal authority it will lead to the repression of other commonsensical claims.
~Isabelle Stengers, “Thinking with Deleuze and Whitehead” in Deleuze, Whitehead, Bergson: Rhizomatic Connections, 37-8.
This is from a presentation I gave in a course entitled: Eco-Process Theology. From assigned readings I look at some of the ecological issues and the christian pre-suppositions that help to maintain them. I also show some the authors suggestions as they rethink an eco-theology.
“True religion is not a ‘patchwork of ethical and metaphysical crumbs.’ but ‘a sense and taste of the Infinite.’ It neither begins nor ends with theology, but with a wider sense of our spiritual atmosphere, of the conditions and the possibilities with which infinite being surrounds us…religion seeks to adjust the very roots of our being, our feelings and actions as well as our ideas, to the whole in which we are placed.”
~Schleiermacher, Soliloquies, pp xlviii-xlix
“In a communal religion you study the will of God in order that He may preserve you; in a purified religion, rationalized under the influence of the world-concept, you study his goodness in order to be like him. It is the difference between the enemy you conciliate and the companion whom you imitate.”
Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making, p 41.
James 1:25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out – he will be blessed in what he does.26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
I have three statements/texts that I have been thinking concerning the understanding of religion. Schleiermacher argues that those who hold that religion is solely made up of metaphysical and ethical statements are sorely mistaken. For Schleiermacher, religion is not meant to be concerned with statements, but with that which moves us to change our roots to live life much differently.
The same goes with Whitehead. His world-concept walks along the lines of Schleiermachers statement; that religion, true religion is not one that calls us to fear God, following rules and statements. That is a mechanical way of living life. And religion, at times, can become this. Religion lived out can become mechanical as one goes through the motions of the traditions that we have solidified throughout the years. But religion, true religion was never meant to be that way. That is why Whitehead uses purified religion to introduce a new paradigm, one that brings us to become like God (this can be a difficult statement, becoming like God. I don’t think this is Whiteheads intention, but to suggest that we imitate the one we love).
Moving forward and looking at the James text, one can see that true religion is something that calls us to action, to change. Religion is not a mouth service, but a life service. Religion changes who we are, which changes what we do. We imitate what God would do, in this instance through the life of Jesus as the Christ. If Jesus was at his father’s business, then Jesus imitated his fathers life. We have that same opportunity to act in like manner. That moves us to more than lip, but life service, acting in areas of injustice.
This is just thinking out loud. This is unfinished. Maybe it can spark up some discussion. What do you think?