Friday, January 07, 2005

Stepping outside yourself

I think I may have stumbled on to an explanation this afternoon without even trying to do it.

Both of the author's of this blog were history majors in college. Many of the authors that I have read and tend to agree with have a keen understanding of history. Many of the conservative Christians that I get into heated arguments with today, however, lack a historical view of things. Sure they can name the year that every battle of World War II was fought or who was the 16th President of the United States, but they understand history as something that is dead and detached, not something that we are an intimate part of. Essentially, they cannot see the world through anyone else's eyes but there own.

For example, during many arguments, many of my conservative Christian friends will talk about how quickly our world is going "straight to heck," i.e. how much further away we are today from God than we were in the past (a common sermon on many pulpits in this country). Whenever I hear this argument, I always counter with something like this: "well, we don't have slavery much anymore; we don't torture people; we don't execute people for small crimes like theft; we don't have brothels on every street corner; we understand the human condition more than ever before," etc, etc, etc. To this, my friends will usually respond with a "whatever" or something to that effect.

I posit to you that what divides us (my friends and I) isn't intelligence, faith, or a higher communion with the Divine. I believe what divides us is more of a transcendtal experience --- the ability to see the world from a seperate set of eyes, transcending your own being as best you can to understand the world from someone else's perspective and thereby forcing you to QUESTION your own assumptions and up-bringing. I had such an experience in college while studying history, a history different from the canned stuff that I had been fed throughout my youth in public schools and settings. I realized that the things I believed weren't really mine at all - they were put into my brain without me even realizing it (just like the English language). I think most mainstream Christians today fall into this category. They believe, for example, that the bible is the word of God not because they can show absolute proof of it, but because that is what people have been telling them their whole lives.


At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry... I don't think Christians have cornered the market on regurgitated thought. Rather, most people purge what they have heard, and adopt others' ideas as their own. I'm sure that despite your so-called QUESTIONING, you've done the same in other areas of your life and thought. -BB

At 4:33 PM, Blogger DLW said...

I agree that a vision of history matters.

I think you might find interesting reading, "How Economics forgot History" by Geoffrey Hodgson.

It goes into how Economics and Sociology got dehistoricized.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger jj said...

I will definitely look into that! Thanks!

(It has been added to my wish list)

At 2:10 PM, Blogger DLW said...

And hey, how about linking to my blog? I will reciprocate once I learn how to do that for myself(I feel like such a neo-luddite.).


At 6:04 PM, Blogger jj said...

Because I am lazy, what's your link again?

At 6:09 PM, Blogger jj said...

Done! Sorry for my laziness!


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