[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Stan Lindsay slindsa at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 29 16:48:36 EDT 2014

I will resume my thoughts now. Given that Greg is suggesting that religions are fascist, I define fascism as extreme authoritarian rule. In bin Laden's Islam there is clearly authoritarian rule. His jihadist interpretation is the final authority. Never mind that there may be other sects of Islam that may try to impose their own specific authoritarian rule,, disagreeing with bin Laden"s interpretation -- for bin Laden's followers there is only one true interpretation of the Quran. 

Christianity does have parallels but even such an authoritarian denomination as Catholicism does not currently impose dangerous expectations for its followers. Certainly, the Catholic Church does not execute its members who choose to convert to another religion. Much of Islam does.

When I argue in my book that David Koresh or Jim Jones or Gene Applewhite use authoritarian rule over their flocks, resulting in psychotic entelechy, they do so not because the Bible as an authoritarian book commands them to do these things, but because their interpretations of that book demand the dangerous behavior.

Here I agree with Ed. As a good Burkean, I find the multiple perspectives of evangelicals, main line Christians, Jews, and even atheists (which one finds in the Society of Biblical Literature) as they interpret the Christian scriptures to be very useful. When Bible interpreters are given multiple perspectives and multiple explanations of various scripture passages and are offered the argumentation to support the varying interpretations, they have a greater likelihood of reaching a reasonable conclusion concerning the meaning of the text.

There is no reason to conclude, as Greg appears to, that the simple fact that someone considers a text to be divinely inspired means that it is not open to interpretation or debate.  When a church imposes its creed upon the followers, however, that church moves in the direction of authoritarianism-though I am not willing to call such churches fascist.

 The U.S. uses a text as a final rule (the Constitution).  Even so, it relies on the Supreme Court to interpret the text.  Texts need interpreters.  Even so, I will hazard a guess that virtually all of us have disagreed with one or more of their interpretations.  In the U.S., we can amend the Constitution-an option generally unavailable to religious adherents of a sacred text, although several denominations do believe that option exists for them.

I argue that the jihadists are misinterpreting the Qur'an, but I can easily see how their interpretations are reached. If I expect my interpretation of the Qur'an to be considered, I am open to hearing the perspectives of how the Christian scriptures might be interpreted by other sources. I do not leave it up to a vote however.  And just because someone shows that it is possible to interpret a text in a certain way does not automatically mean that that is the way the text should be interpreted.  This is far from an authoritarian view of religion.  It is a view that empowers the individual to accept or reject various interpretations.  It is not quite pure philosophy.  It is still religion but it leaves much in the hands of the individual.  Therefore it is by no means fascist.

Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ HD on AT&T

Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com> wrote:

>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
> http://www.stanlindsay.com
> http://www.lindsayDIS.COM 
>     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
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