Tuesday, October 19, 2010


"Against Badiou and Zizek, who want to use Paul to defend a generic “universalism” that can become homogenization, John Caputo (St. Paul among the Philosophers (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)) argues that the universalism of Paul is more paradoxical, more Kierkegaardian (because Kierkegaard was Pauline): It is a “universalism of conversion to something quite concrete (grafting), not the formalism of a philosophical universal (subtraction), like the principle of causality, or a mathematical universal, like the Pythagorean theorem.”

He goes on to suggest that “it is not that all differences or distinctions are abolished, but that one difference or distinction in particular, the Jewish difference, is transformed and in being transformed proves to be transcendent, or better self-transcendent, in Christ Jesus, in whom it is able to break out of the particularity of the first form it took in the law and to trump and assimilate other differences, both its own early Jewish form and the Greek difference.”

That’s well said. I have more trouble with Caputo’s further claim that “Christ fulfills a Jewish promise, not a Greek one,” a claim based on the notion that events can only be recognized as events within a context and “the Christ-event is an event only in the context of the Jewish promise.” As central as Jewish particularity is, it doesn’t seem correct to say that “The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is not an event for the Greeks.” The gospel is to the Jew and the to Greek, and it seems that Paul argues for some form of Gentile preparation for the coming of the gospel of the Jewish Jesus."

While it is good that Leithart is stepping back some from earlier statements on "a third way" of humanity = Christianity, and while few people wrestle with the issue at any deeper level, the problem remains within modern Christianity that ethnicity/kinship is a taboo subject which Christians are ill-equipped to handle & which they attempt to efface, just as they do in real life. Pre-committed as we are in our political religion to negating ethnicity, it is hardly virtuous or necessarily Christian to presuppose that such is something to enhance. It might be more productive to consider how Supernature transforms Nature & perfects it, and what this means for ethnicity. Also, how and why might this have implications for larger categories, like "whiteness"?

Spengler (Asia Times Online) declares he has no love for the "stench of the barbarian tribes". To which I would ask, have you seen an inner city ghetto in America lately? Or a nursing home? It's still with us, it's just out of sight, out of mind...this rhetoric begs the question most at stake ~ is there anything of value we have lost during our "evolution" out of tribes? The standard American political religion answer is No, ethnicity has no value whatsoever, or if it does, only in an individual context (miscegenation to create someone of "higher" qualities with another race). (One notable exception, of course.) But isn't this intermarriage just another race? How does this solve anything? It looks a lot (suspiciously a lot) like Hegelian synthesis (which I already reject, for reasons stated elsewhere, and violently). Inbreeding and outbreeding are both qualities of humanity which are valuable; after all, it's good to limit (inbreed) to the species. And Christ came to transform & perfect. Which implies that the nations will exist at the End of Times. Which is exactly what we find in Revelation. St. James warns those who would neglect their kith & kin. As GP Grant might say, our particular good (race/tribe) is not the Ideal, but without roots in the local particular, can we ever be nourished enough to begin the ascent to the Ideal?

The answer, naturally, is No. American political religion is a heresy, a Hegelian superstition and legalism, which is addicted to Idealism in the ideal, but which actually possesses immense hatred for all of the concrete realities it pretends to understand.

And Liberalism has weird connections to Fascism which I don't understand, or think anyone else does either. State control/coercion of economy, culture & religion is pretty close to "Fascist", and we are pretty close to the former, here in America, although much conformity is semi-voluntary (for now).

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