[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Wed Oct 29 13:37:09 EDT 2014

Greg, Stan, and All,

Most centrally, Greg and I are defining "religion" and "religious" differently.  Greg is making the "authoritative" (that's the term that harkens back to the "fascism" of the early- and mid-20th century), Divinely-inspired text, essentiallly non-negotiable, with little room for "interpretation," the distinguishing attribute.  My definition is different.  Although the word "religious" can migrate (see OHN, pp. 143-44 on the looseness of even "proper names") in myriad directions, I regard its primary reference as characteristic of one who believes in an Originary Power we can rightfully call "God."  For me, as a Burkean, I would reductively define that Power as the "Great Potential,"  In other words, a "religious" person  is one who believes that human personality, or the verbal, is "Potential" in the Ground of Being, Creative Source, or Generative Force, maybe not necessary, but at least "Potential."  After all, here we are (See RM, pp. 290-91).  As such,
 a "religious" person would believe that human personality, or the verbal, is rooted in, and in some way reflective of, maybe only in a very, very small way relective of, the Ground of Being, Creative Source, or Generative Force, not just inanimate matter and blind physical forces.

Called to lunch by higher authority.  Will get back.


On Wed, 10/29/14, Stan Lindsay <slindsa at yahoo.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
 To: "Gregory Desilet" <info at gregorydesilet.com>, "Ed Appel" <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
 Cc: "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org>
 Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 12:12 PM
 I think we are, to use
 Burke's terminology, arriving at closer and closer
 approximations.  I don't mind the religion vs.
 philosophy distinction Greg makes.  But I would apply some
 sort of Toulminian qualifier to much of this.  Clearly,
 Evangelical Christians (those who believe in an entirely
 inspired and 100% infallible Old and New Testament,
 including those "evangelical Presbyterian groups"
 Ed mentions) could be categorized as those who make the
 following claim:  "The Bible is DEFINITELY
 inerrant/inspired."   There are other groups--perhaps
 what Ed calls "mainline" who might claim:
  "The Bible is SUBSTANTIALLY inspired."  There
 are those who claim that the Bible is PARTIALLY
 inspired--wishing to back off of certain texts.  Even
 Luther did not
  accept the Book of James.  Some biblical scholars debate
 what is Pauline (written by the apostle) and pseudoPauline
 (only claims to be written by the apostle.  And, there are
 some outright unbelievers who still like to study the Bible.
  More on this later.  I have to teach a class,
 now. Dr. Stan A.
 Lindsay, Ph.D.
 Teaching Professor
 Professional Communication
 College of Applied Studies
 Florida State University
 slindsay at pc.fsu.edu
     On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:32 PM, Gregory
 Desilet <info at gregorydesilet.com> wrote:
 I find myself in agreement with much
 of what Ed
 and Stan say, but I also sense that it only obliquely
 addresses the issue I’ve
 raised. When Ed says, “You can’t paint everybody with a
 broad brush,” I assume
 by “everybody” he means every “religious” person.
 But the issue I’m addressing
 concerns instead the notion that the term “religion” may
 be getting painted
 with too broad a brush. The use of any given term, when
 expanded too
 widely, becomes too thin to convey useful meaning.
 Accordingly, I’m arguing
 that for all practical purposes the distinction between
 philosophy and religion
 largely collapses when religious texts are no longer treated
 as “sacred” in the
 sense I’ve indicated—namely, when the source of a text
 is not viewed as
 divinely dictated or inspired. When a religious text becomes
 a text composed
 and written by a “mere” human, it shifts into a very
 different category than
 when it is considered “sacred.” Groups who approach
 religious texts in this
 fashion cannot be significantly distinguished from groups
 who gather to
 interpret, study, discuss, and learn from philosophical
 texts (such as the
 Great Books discussion groups popular in the 50s and 60s).
 Indeed, I would
 challenge anyone following this discussion to propose a
 significant distinction
 between these “religious” and “philosophical” groups
 aside from the circumstance
 that one may meet in a church and the other may meet in a
 library or conference
 room.I understand that a great variety
 exists among
 those who happen to call themselves “religious” or who
 claim to belong to a “religious
 tradition.” But if such persons who claim religious
 alignment AND also claim
 their relevant religious texts are NOT divinely inspired
 cannot significantly
 distinguish their activity from what philosophers do with
 their particular
 texts of interest, then I do not find the label
 “religious” compellingly useful
 in such cases. More likely the label in these cases could be
 rightly understood
 as misleading. In these cases, what would someone who says
 “this is my
 religion” mean that could set it apart from the one who
 says, “this is my
 philosophy”?So I acknowledge there are many
 folks who
 approach what have traditionally been called “religious”
 texts in the
 interpretive rather than received manner, but I see nothing
 thereby that
 necessitates the label “religious” be applied to such
 folks other than that
 their texts have been previously called “religious.”
 Applying the label in such
 cases would perhaps be analogous to continuing to call a
 bright light in the
 morning sky the Morning Star after it has been discovered to
 be the planet
 Venus.  In sum, if the term “religion”
 retains primary
 connection to views and practices oriented toward the
 approach to texts as
 divine inspiration, then the metaphysical connection between
 religion and
 fascism retains a measure of accuracy whereby fascism
 becomes a distortion of
 religion by way of a shift into the political realm with
 more implications for
 the here and now than an afterlife.Greg

More information about the KB mailing list