Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Raimon Panikkar, Christian Theologian for the New Centruy

 photo raimpan_zps07217593.jpg
Raimon Panikkar


The Late Raimon Panikkar was born in Barcellona, Nov. 3, 1918, (died in sept 2010) to a Hindu father and a Christian Mother. He grew up in Spain with both traditions and just as comfortable with one as the other. In 1946 he became a Catholic Priest. He recieved a Ph.D. in Philosohpy and went to on to recieve a science degree from University of Maryland (1958) and in 1961 in Theology at Lateran University in Rome.He lived in India and the U.S. as well as Spain. He was visiting professor at Harvard in 1966 and taguht at University of California Santa Barbara in 70s and 80s. He's had a very distinguished academic career wining many prizes and awards. He is a comparative religionist who seeks to unite various faiths in a diverse range of understanding bound together by experience of the one God. God is beyond human understanding and utterly beyond humanity, yet intimately related and within the scope of our inner most being.[1] His major contribution to the world of theology is the unity of diverse religous elements he's worked out through his major concept, the Cosmotheandric or theo-anthropo-cosmic (dimension).

 
There are not three realities: God, Man, and the World; but neither is there one, whether God, Man or World. Reality is cosmotheandric. It is our way of looking that makes reality appear to us at times under one aspect, at times under another. God, Man, and World are, so to speak, in an intimate and constitutive collaboration to construct Reality, to make history advance, to continue creation: (The Triniity and the Religious Experience of man, London and New York 1975).[2]

He describes it in terms reminiscent of the undifferentiated unity of mystical experience. "The cosmotheandric intuition expresses the all embracing indissoluble union, that constitutes all of Reality: the triple dimension of reality as a whole: cosmic-divine-human. The cosmotheandric intuition is the undivided awareness of the totality."[3] The cosmotheandric awareness is undivided awareness of the Totality. Yet he describes this in Trinitarian terms: "the Trinitarian concept of reality." The triadic is intrinsic to reality. Divine, human, and cosmic reality are united in relationship. The aspiration to harmony--between God and humanity, and between cosmos and humanity--is established in reality when we are in accord presupposses manifestations of the structure of reality.

Now what does all of this mean other than a crescendo of the kind of abstract language Mauthner was using as an example of sickness? It's the basis of Panikkar's theological insight. He views western thought in a phenomenological way and understands the problem of modernity from the stand point of imposition of the subject/object dichotomy. He's habitually speaking in long strings of meaningless sounding academic-speak, yet I think it's very meaningful, just occupational hazard for anyone who lives in the academic world. What he's saying is that the enlighetmentment separated epistemology from ontology "by making knowledge the hunt for the object by the subject." That is a curial statement. It says that there should be a unity of subject and object, which a fundamentally phenomenological observation. This unity has been broken and a phony distinction imposed which causes the subject to objectify the other and to separating from the object rather allowing the sense data to suggest it's categories of thought. That's leads to setting preconceived filters into which sense data is grouped and thus we are not experiencing the world as it is but re-defining it according to an ideological standard.

Panikkar's answer is answer is linked to not only phenomenological method but Christian theology. "...rather the new innocence envelopes knowledge and the knower in the same act because it knows that the one is not given without the other”, without the relationship "(Ibid.).
If the Christian message means something, it is this experience of the cosmotheandric reality of all being, of which Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is the paradigm. In Christ Matter is not on its own, nor is Man on one side and God on the other; none of these intrinsically united dimensions surpass the others, so that it does not make sense to affirm that Christ is more divine than human, more worldly than heavenly, or vice versa. The veil of separation has been torn, and the integration of reality begins with the redemption of man” (Culto y secularización. Apuntes para una antropología litúrgica, Madrid 1979).[4]
Mann describes Panikkar's thought on God by saying "The true essence of Western thought about God is aided by Eastern thought which has a much more radical sense that God is beyond all categories or thought: God is found best in silence!."[5] That statement reminds me of my major phrase in describing phenomenology that the problem of metaphysics is that we institute as filters preconceived categories of thought in which we herd sense data. Phenomenologically we would allow the sense data to suggest its own categories. This is what the mystic does and this statement in as much as it reflects Panikkar's thought unities him with the mystics. Mann further smmarizes Panikkar in his view of Christ:


  1. Christology is primarily a function of the trinitarian structrue that is the expression of God’s relation to humankind and the cosmos
  2. Father, Son and Spirit describe the poles of the God-human-world relatedness within God’s own being and thus are about the "cosmotheandric" center of all being
  3. Thinking of Jesus in historical terms is a symptom of the obsession with historical time that is a disease in the West and which leads to imperialistic claims about universal truth [6]



In terms of his eccumenism he is quoted as saying: “I left Europe as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be Christian.”[7]

“He was one of the pioneers in opening up Christianity to other religions and learning from them,” Joseph Prabhu, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles, and the editor of “The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar” (1996), said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “We can see the new waves of Christianity moving toward the non-European world in the 21st century, and he prepared the ground for an authentic dialogue between Christianity and other faiths, and beyond that for the cross-cultural conversation which marks our globalized world.”[8]

Panikkar clearly believed that each faith could be enriched by dialogue with other faiths, interfaith dialogue was central to his methodology and his principles. "There is no reason for Christians to abandon the conviction that they have the true religion, if they well understand that they must find all their truth in a Christianity that is open and dynamic. This will lead to an authentic religious dialogue."[9]

a list of Pankikkar's works.

sources:

[1] Mark Mann, "Panikkar, Raimon," Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology, online resource, 1997, url: http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/bce/mwt_themes_885_panikkar.htm
 accessed 8/12/13.
[2] Official site - set up by Fundació Vivarium Raimon Panikkar – Tavertet (Cataluny
http://www.raimon-panikkar.org/english/gloss-cosmotheandric.html accessed 8/12/13.

[3] ibid

[4] Panikkar, La nueva inocencia, Estella 1993 quoted on website, op. cit.

[5] Mann, op cit.

[6] ibid.

[7] William Grimes, "Raimon Panikkar, Catholic Theologian, is Dead at 91," New York Times (sept. 4, 2010)

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

17 comments:

Dave said...

I heard of him about a decade or so ago and posted something about him when he died, but I haven't read his work.

Metacrock said...

Yes I never got around to reading his book.I'm only just now beginning to really get into his ideas. I can't find the book.

Sabio Lantz said...

" a crescendo of the kind of abstract language"
I loved that phrase.

But when you push for "an authentic religious dialogue" with non-Christian worldviews, but insist that "There is no reason for Christians to abandon the conviction that they have the true religion," the irony jumps off the page.

To see the point, read my last sentence substituting "Muslim" or "Hindu" or "Marxists" or (the list goes on, as you see).

I guess it is a matter of definition of "Authentic Dialogue" which itself contains two slippery abstract words ready for a crescendo.

It is hard to imagine real dialogue when religion exclusivism is the starting point. Instead, I am reminded of the Christian, Bede Griffiths, who very thoroughly dialogued with the Hind mind and came out a changed universalist and friend of C.S. Lewis -- also a non-exclusivist.

Metacrock said...

I don't think I said maintain the conviction that we have 'the one true religion." If I did it was a mistreatment. Rebellious tradition are relative to truth, the same truth stands behind all of them.

nevertheless I still believe Jesus is the revelation of God to humanity and is the only direct revelation. Jesus model's God's character for us directly and creates solidarity between us and God. That doesn't mean the club of Christians is the one true club.


all dialogue is not for the purpose of conversion. There is also peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.

Metacrock said...

"It is hard to imagine real dialogue when religion exclusivism is the starting point."

I don't you can call me an exclusiveist. no exclusivist would ever the same reality stands behind all traditions or that all traditions are relative.

It's pretty unfair to say that exclusivity is the starting point when I clearly said the stakes are not conversion so it's not an aspect of my truth is better than yours, the issue let me understand the truth in your view, I'll show you the truth i my view.

Sabio Lantz said...

First, is it "Panikkor" [your title], "Pankikkar" [your end link] or "Panikkar" [this seems likely] -- you have all three on your post. His name is tough.

But anyway, you are right, you didn't say it, you quote Panikkar saying in it in your last paragraph [9]. So I figure if you quoted it, without challenging it, you must embrace it. Am I wrong?

Yes, exclusivists can have a peaceful coexistence while smugly thinking all their neighbors will burn in hell or be annihilated at death while they hold "the only direct revelation" and thus not suffer the same. Unless I misunderstand you. So let me be direct and just ask: Do you feel non-believers can share the same after-life as you, even with their inferior revelation?

Sabio Lantz said...

Hmmmm, I left a comment here two days ago that did not show up -- banned? Lost?

Metacrock said...

I haven't banned your comments. I have known them to get lost though. I am not aware of it recently.

Metacrock said...

"First, is it "Panikkor" [your title], "Pankikkar" [your end link] or "Panikkar" [this seems likely] -- you have all three on your post. His name is tough."

IT is not. The name as I have it below is copied from his official site.

Raimon Panikkar

as for typos just get it through your head now. I am dyslexic. I've written about it at length. I should not have to point it out every time I write. just learn something enw and change your little high horse and figure out there people in the world who have problems you don't have.

I don't see the words the way you do. It's worse when I type fast. get your mind around, and get over it. learn that spelling is hot the big deal that people post 1980 have come to think of it as.

Sabio Lantz said...

Cool, thanx for dragging them out of the moderating machine. Some folks say that if you don't turn on "moderation" in .blogger blogs, you get lots of spam. Wordpress does a fantastic job of keeping spam off the blog. So we don't have to moderate.
Moderation makes for very clunky dialogue and interaction on a blog. One idea may to only moderate first time commentors -- once approved, other comments aren't moderated. WP allows this, I am not sure about blogger.

Anyway, now awaiting your reply to my comment.

Sabio Lantz said...

"get it through your head"
-- ouch, harsh. also a bit of an Aspie?

It doesn't matter if you have written about your dyslexia before, a new visitor has no way of knowing. Besides, my comment on the spelling was gentle.

You could have replied.

"Oooops, thanx for the spell check. If fixed it. I am dyslexic, so please forgive."

But I can see it is a sensitive issue.

Metacrock said...

Yes, exclusivists can have a peaceful coexistence while smugly thinking all their neighbors will burn in hell or be annihilated at death while they hold "the only direct revelation" and thus not suffer the same. Unless I misunderstand you. So let me be direct and just ask: Do you feel non-believers can share the same after-life as you, even with their inferior revelation?

i've made quite a big thing of arguing against the concept of hell as eternal conscious torment.

from my old site, Doxa:

why hell is not a Biblical Concept

also see

Salvation and Other Faiths

Sabio Lantz said...

OK, if you can't say yes or no to my last question. If I get real curious about your opinion, I may read those long posts you linked me to. On speed reading, it seems you are a universalist.

But your reactive tone of voice now is not inviting. So I won't be reading it carefully. Besides, I am not the least bit interested on the verse juggling a believer goes through to justify their opinions -- whether I agree with them or not. But Universalism is certainly better than other positions in Xiandom.

Metacrock said...

"OK, if you can't say yes or no to my last question. If I get real curious about your opinion, I may read those long posts you linked me to. On speed reading, it seems you are a universalist."


translation: I don't want to read stuff. sorry, I have been attacked totally unfairly every day for 15 years by ridiculing artists. I'm not willing to put up with it. I'm not a door mat you are get as good as you give.

only a brain dead idiot would fail to understand my answer--if he read it.


But your reactive tone of voice now is not inviting.

who the hell do you think you are? check your own little tone of Superior smugness. your comments reak of smug.


So I won't be reading it carefully.

here's a clue sport, I don't need your bs here. I don't have to earn your precious little perusal of my writing. if you want to know my views you read what I right. if not move on.


Besides, I am not the least bit interested on the verse juggling a believer goes through to justify their opinions -- whether I agree with them or not. But Universalism is certainly better than other positions in Xiandom.


right, nor truth either. your attitude is obviously one of condescending anti-Christian feeling. I get that enough on carm every day. move on!

Metacrock said...

"get it through your head"
-- ouch, harsh. also a bit of an Aspie?

It doesn't matter if you have written about your dyslexia before, a new visitor has no way of knowing. Besides, my comment on the spelling was gentle.

Yes it does. you should know better. with all "accept me for my hang ups" going in society today you know what learning liabilities are and have some degree of sensitivity in approaching it.

that and your anti-Christian thinking are two aspects of your bigotry it's time to out grow.


You could have replied.

"Oooops, thanx for the spell check. If fixed it. I am dyslexic, so please forgive."

yes sure maybe I would if I had not been conditioned by a life tome of mocking and ridicule to counter punch when people attack my spelling. when atheists can't answer me the first thing they do is go for the spelling. spelling is all important.

doesn't matter what the Content of your thought is just so you spell it right.


But I can see it is a sensitive issue.

you could say that.

Metacrock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Metacrock said...

He's snide and all knowing about the spelling of Panikkar but if he had looked one of his books, or any article about him he would know better. So he's made the spelling mistake but it's I who is at fault for bad spelling.

there could be no misatake as to my view if he had read either linked article in relation to hell and salvation.

He's too good to read it. I have earn the privilege of being read by him. why is he reading my blog then?

I want comments but not arrogant ones.