Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Tradition is Relative to Truth.

Rose window, Notre Dame

Lat time I posted a piece entitled "truth is relative to the tradition." Now I say tradition is realities to the truth. Which is it? Both are true, depends upon which you emphasize at the moment. That's what I meant to say last time, the tradition is relative to the truth. So I'm doing a sort retraction. Well it 1987 when I was in that class. Been a long time since read the Knitter book (No Other Name?). He's the one who intruded me to the concept. The tradition is based upon the reality behind it, which it doesn't have 100% exhaustive right, and which other traditions also have partly right. All the traditions are relative to the fixed thought that they only have part of. The truth is not relative to the tradition except in so far as our understanding of it is limited to that of the tradition. From that perspective you can say it the other way.

Like the Rose Window the same sun shines through the window at Notre Dame as shines through the windows of any temple of any faith. It's the glass that changes and that is made of different cultural constructs.

Dave comments again:
Of course there is no pure human language to express such insights. That's why the mystics all say the divine language is silence. And I did mention that from the perspective within a tradition, one would need a focal point as reference (Jesus, Buddha, etc). That doesn't mean the theology of different traditions is one to one, but what they represent and lead to can be. And for some reason, this does lead to some pretty striking parallels.

As for me, I can appreciate this from a non-religious/non-sectarian point of view, so it is no problem to switch between the language and culture of one religion and another and compare them. To go beyond such an academic perspective and truly appreciate the meaning and transformmative aspects requires one to actually be rooted in a specific tradition. ..

I think we should start in a tradition and outgrow it, even if we still honor it and use it's language and symbols.
I don't think we have to outgrow the tradition we are in. Unless of course we think of "the tradition" as the immediate community. So that would mean I had to outgrow the perspective I was raised with but it doesn't mean I have to outgrow Christianity. There are fixed points that don't change. I think less of the importance of written doctrine than I used to but not to the extent of chirruping it completely. I still think the importance of the truths of the Nicene creed are wroth hanging on to. The creed is worth keeping as a creed, and that means a definition of identity.

I ground all of that, doctrine, identity, the fixed nature of the turth behind the tradition in the Historical Jesus. Since Jesus was a man in history, not a myth, he has concrete nature that is not merely a metaphor for something beyond it. That is of course if the Christian take on Jesus is correct, and to that extent, the historical nature is a ground and starting point for that discussion.

Needless to say I think that is the case. The Christian take on Jesus is basically my take on Jesus. In any case the personal relationship, which does not have to be played out in terms of big mystical experiences, is of primary importance in understanding the ground.

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