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11 November 2007

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bstr

Here is a serious question for the Col.: Taking the statement "Economic integration and a desire to enjoy the benefits of technology do not necessarily lead to cultural homogenization."
Which of these two states, economic integration or cultural homogenization is the more likely to lead to the more peaceful coexistence between people? Or, has the corporate mindset that now steers globalization corrupted the ideas of nation states to the degree that the question is no longer relevant?

Duncan Kinder

In discussing the difference between cultural and universal values, two points:

  1. In Italy, the first floor of a building is numbered "0," not "1." This is a cultural difference, and is charming. In Italy - and on the planet Neptune - the physical law Force = Mass X Acceleration applies. This means the Italian driver tailgating me is every bit as dangerous as he would be in Ohio. This is not charming.

  2. Braudel, founder of the Annals school of history, states that a difference - based on geography and not upon culture - exists between "plains people" and "hill peoples." This difference exists whether we are discussing the Highlanders in Scotland, the Basques in Spain, or the Berbers in Morocco. Note that the Afghans are hill peoples.

QED: Cultural distinctions are important; but physical reality trumps culture.

Will

i agree w/ your main point. the moustachoied one and the brooks guy are full of it.

if i could digress and address an ancillary point. i come from a split home, a Roman Catholic mother and an Eastern Orthodox father.

"Orthodox Christian theology proclaims the majesty of a triune God. "

I knew what you meant. But my first impression was that it was an unfortunate phrase.
There is (Eastern or Rum for Roman) Orthodox Christianity as opposed to Roman Catholic (and its splinter Protestant offspring) Christianity and their concept of the trinity is subtly different.

The Orthodox claim to be unitarian believing in one Godhead but w/ three aspects, a belief also espoused by Isaac Newton. Whereas I believe the Roman Catholics actually believe in three personages. In the Aramaic, the Holy Ghost, is the roh? mutaqads, or the holy animating spirit. It has always been hard for me to see that as a separate personage.

Under the late Pope, there had been a liberalization, a doctrine had emerged that heaven was not a physical place, but closeness to God, and hell was separation from God. That closeness to God or salvation could be achieved with any appropriate religion, even proper minded atheists can achieve salvation. (depending on how the Godhead is defined, of course)

This view agrees with the esoteric Druze religion which believes in incarnation. What kind of heaven or hell is there for reincarnates- closeness or separation from God.

Now the Latter Day Saints view is very very complicated with two actual Gods Elohim who resides on the planet Kobol and Yahweh of the Old Testament who they say is actually is the same as Jesus Christ and they made Adam from the Archangel Michael. And it even gets more non-mainstream.

Is the American public ready for such views? They are exposed to the "milk" but not the "meat" of the religion. But the views are harmless since they are not violence promoting views and do not lead to any practical action.

I personally would not have any qualms voting for Romney but were it not for his zealous NeoKon warmongering views.

Duncan Kinder

In discussing the difference between cultural and universal values, two points:

  1. In Italy, the first floor of a building is numbered "0," not "1." This is a cultural difference, and is charming. In Italy - and on the planet Neptune - the physical law Force = Mass X Acceleration applies. This means the Italian driver tailgating me is every bit as dangerous as he would be in Ohio. This is not charming.

  2. Braudel, founder of the Annals school of history, states that a difference - based on geography and not upon culture - exists between "plains people" and "hill peoples." This difference exists whether we are discussing the Highlanders in Scotland, the Basques in Spain, or the Berbers in Morocco. Note that the Afghans are hill peoples.

QED: Cultural distinctions are important; but physical reality trumps culture.

W. Patrick Lang

Will

"orthodox" as opposed to "heterodox" not in the sense of being the doctrine of the eastern churches.

"The principal disagreement between Western and Eastern Christianity on the Trinity has been the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the other two hypostases. The original credal formulation of the Council of Constantinople was that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father." While this phrase is still used unaltered in the Eastern Churches, it became customary in parts of the Western Church, beginning with the provincial Third Council of Toledo in 589, to add the clause "and the Son" (Latin filioque) into the Creed. Although this was explicitly rejected by Pope Leo III, it was finally used in a Papal Mass by Pope Benedict VIII in 1014, thus becoming official throughout the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Churches object to it on both ecclesiological and theological grounds." Wiki on the Trinity. pl

W. Patrick Lang

DK

"Cultural distinctions are important; but physical reality trumps culture."

Really? I have seen too many men willing to die for their beliefs to accept that. pl

Margaret Steinfels

Theology 101!! Another great thing about this blog. Just back from Mass--I wonder if our pastor knows about wikepedia.

Jose

IMHO, people who believe in a homogeneous world cultural are usually driven by a lack of cultural identity within themselves.

Mr Friedman has stated he does not keep Kosher, therefore so must all Jews.

It's a narrow view of the world that only sees trees and not the forests.

Wasn't the split between the churches really about the rivalry between Rome and Constantinople?

Again, the trees versus the forest approach.

Sort of seeing Iraq (tree) and not worry about the other factors like Shias/Iran, Sunnis/AQI/Non-Shia Arab world and Kurds/Turks (lots of forests).

So if Romney was a Mormon, wouldn't he be leading the Republicans right no based of his record and experience?

What would you do if you were in a forest of Apple trees and then out of no where you saw a Mango tree?

Leila

Friedman and Brooks don't get it about theology because they may not have any real theology of their own. They probably don't think that a metaphysical or spiritual description of the nature of reality has any relationship to what they perceive as reality. I.e., they are unreconstructed materialists, dinosaurs even. Since early 20th-century physics has ruled their worldview limited and not really correct.

I do not take a stance on Roman vs. Orthodox views of the Trinity. I was taught by my Rum Orthodox (Melchite) grandmother to cross self with an additional touch to the sternum "All One God," and that works for me.

My creed would probably sit well with Thomas Jefferson or the philosopher Spinoza. Perhaps it's the obstinate Protestant in me, or the native Californian ethic of smorgasbord spirituality, but I find little conflict in loving the saints and the Father, Son and Ruh-al-Quds, while accepting the validity of other theological viewpoints, and other religions, as part of the endless aspects of the One. Doubtless my views would be considered syncretistic and get me burned at the stake in quite a few places and times. Thank God for California and freedom of religion.

This is why I care very much about the provisions in our Constitution that guarantee us the right to practice and believe as we please, or not all.

Sidney O. Smith III

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called…”

Perhaps Sun Tzu’s idea of the sheathed sword is consistent with that saying from the Gospel but I don't really know.

I have little aptitude for theology but a few years ago, a Trappist monk/priest recommended to me a book on the Trinity entitled God For Us. It was written by a first rate scholar named Catherine LaCugna. This Trappist who recommended the book didn’t necessarily agree with the book in its entirety. But since he has dedicated his life to the “Triune” experience, I figured out of respect for his immense sacrifice, I should at least give it a gander. I found the experience worthwhile.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Us-Trinity-Christian-Life/dp/0060649135/ref=sr_1_3/103-9067905-1002227?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194804288&sr=8-3

Will

my bust Col., you were entirely correct in your usage. thank you for elucidating the filioque clause I've tried reading the wiki article on the trinity, I don't think i'm smart enough to be a scholarly Xtian. To think of it, "I am not smarter than a fith grader."

Duncan Kinder
Really? I have seen too many men willing to die for their beliefs to accept that. pl

It is a frosty November afternoon, and I have to walk my dog, but, to make a long argument short, this begs the question of why someone comes to believe this and not that in the first place.

taters

Dear Sir,
Will you be posting "Dear Hearts Across The Seas" this year? I took the liberty of doing so on a comment at No Quarter. It is indeed a beautiful piece of writing on a profound subject that is all too appropriate. And to all the veterans here - thank you.

Arun

....a desire to enjoy the benefits of technology...

The first strategy is to simply reject technology beyond a point (we have an example of that in Eastern Pennsylvania, I believe).

If a society is to be a producer of technology and not merely a consumer/importer, then the infrastructure that supports science is necessary. It means teachers and students of science and researchers are present.

Science as a living discipline tends to undermine any religious group's teaching about the nature of the universe. At a minimum, it induces skepticism.

Now, a society could segregate its scientists from the rest and also try to keep the masses uneducated to keep science from eroding religious faith.

Or a society could choose to remain only a consumer and never a producer of technology. But then, apart from extraction of natural resources, it has little to offer the world.

(IMO, these last two strategies are in use in various countries today.)

Outside that, once you find that your equations that describe some/any/all aspects of the universe do not require God, and that no support can be found for what is in the religious text, then whether you continue to be religious or not, the room for other people with other beliefs has been made. The triune god or the single god, it is all the same.

The final alternative is that science makes a society militantly atheistic.

So there are chances that a society may become more liberal or perish. Friedman is not entirely off his rocker.

I'd also note that technology is a liberator. Forced human labor vanished in part because of technology. That women can enjoy a practical equality with men, IMO, is also in part because of technology. It is hard therefore, to block technology in general.

Grimgrin

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away"

- Philip K. Dick

DK: It's worth noting that under this definition cultural and religious differences are part of physical reality.

Will

my bust Col., you were entirely correct in your usage. thank you for elucidating the filioque clause I've tried reading the wiki article on the trinity, I don't think i'm smart enough to be a scholarly Xtian. To think of it, "I am not smarter than a fith grader."

taters

btw - Re "The Church of What's Happening Now" - I believe that the late Flip Wilson as Rev. Leroy, raised more than one set of eyebrows - with his take on those of the cloth whose interest may have been more on the collection plate than on spritual and religious matters. What a great show that was.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flip_Wilson_Show

Cold War Zoomie

"Dialog among all religious groups is desirable as a means of establishing a harmony of the peoples, but there are limits imposed by THEOLOGY beyond which such discussions can not progress."

A simple example:

Transubstantiation

Calvinists are too keen on this idea.

marquer

"The bane of our age is not intolerance, but a fuzzy-minded wishy-washy
kind of tolerance based upon the notions that there's something good
about everyone and deep down everyone is just like us. Well, there isn't,
and they aren't."

-- S.M. Stirling

Babak Makkinejad

Michael Murry & Arun:

You are worng on Science:

Science is based on a set of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the world which themselves are beyond Science itself. Science is built on non-Reason.

It is not science that makes people atheistic, so to speak - it is the increase in the collective powers of humanity.

David W

Why doesn't the US media and academia engage more Muslim scholars on subjects like this? My guess is for the same reason that Dougie Feith had little use for Col. Lang.

Edward Merkle

pl "Some people prefer their traditional ways. Our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last five years should have taught us that, but it has not."

How many of the Neocons have served in the military or have children or close relatives directly under fire?

Here's a theory, the more your ass is on the line the steeper the learning curve.

Jim Schmidt

"Science is based on a set of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the world which themselves are beyond Science itself. Science is built on non-Reason." Babak Makkinejad

The process of determining a natural cause for an observable event in the natural world is methodological naturalism or Science.

Asserting that there is nothing BUT the natural world is philosophical naturalism, not Science.

One of these two approaches to understanding our existance is metaphysical, which is your point. But one, also, is not.

kim

geez, it's been a friedman unit, or longer,since i've seen smart people discussing friedman.

on the matter of "MOST PEOPLE WHO PROFESS RELIGION ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN THE TRUTH OF THEIR GROUP'S TEACHING ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE",i speak with some of those people from time to time, and i'm not at all sure that they're at all clear on the specifics of their specific groups' teaching.

which doesn't affect the reality that friedman is an idiot. it's nice, though, to see the brooks idiot being bundled with.

Eric Dönges

Babak,

science is based on the assumption that the physical world can be quantified, described and predicted. I fail to see how this requires metaphysical assumptions or resorting to non-reason, so perhaps you could elaborate.

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