now where was I?
Following up to what was probably the last remotely thoughtful thing I blogged, and which I'm sad I haven't been able to follow up on before, because my thinking life went on vacation along with my physical self, thus rendering my blogging to be more on the moot thoughts side than the musings side.
The topic under consideration is The Absolute. I have just spent a paper examining 19th c. German thinkers (namely Hegel, Feuerbach, and the composer Richard Wagner) and their relationship to one another. One thing that struck me about 19th c. Hegelianism/German thought is this obsession with the Absolute Idea. (i know, maybe I should've picked that up in CHOW, but what can I say? I'm only getting it now.) Simply, it is a universal point at which reason (hegel) or someone-ish/experience/physical (feuerbach) comes to the point where it at once recognizes itself in the process of resolving itself against the Other and recognizes itself as the end product of resolution that is no more, because it is perfected in the future. I think I got that sort of right. In other words, it is an organic, wholistic, universal, complete thing. Without a doubt, it is extremely more complex than I can grasp, much less try to put down here.
It is the cry for many Christians to cling to an absolute. Maybe this cry is passť in a general way as we move beyond the contra-modernism/postmodernism of Van Til and Schaeffer, but in day-to-day church conversazione it's more likely to find someone who is against so-called "government" universities because they're all a bunch of relativists. The story goes something like this: "I know someone who went to a lecture at a university and the professor said, 'all things are relative.' And my friend said to the professor, 'do you mean that absolutely?'" And then the group of well-meaning Christians break off laughing at how clever they are and how dumb the professor is. I mean, it takes a simple question, doesn't it, to tear down their whole system? Well, I think most people in the church, including educated people, don't really understand when they say something is absolute. They think they are saying that there is one God, omniscient, omnipotent, etc. and one way salvation, wh. is Christ. etc. etc. And in a sense, they are right in that these are unconditional truths. But this world is not perfect, thus things are conditioned on each other. They are relative/relate to each other. All things are indeed relative. And what is absolute anyway except that which is known by God only. And historically, if we say something is absolute, it really has nothing to do with God, rather a certain view of the way time progresses that is dialectical. There are lots of things that come into play here. The 19th century German view of the Absolute for one thing, but also the 19th century German idea of objective historical knowledge or the Grand Narrative. "Absolute" is such a complex word, that I think we should be more careful the way we use it. The world isn't as black and white as many would like to have it. I think that to say of something like historical knowledge that it is true or to say that there are objective facts is a kind of idolatry. The only One who is objective, unconditioned by this world, is God. To say that something else is "absolutely" true is to associate something conditioned with God that shouldn't be.
again, my disclaimer, I'm not trained in philosophy, so please forgive bad argument structure, etc., if you are so philosophically sensitive