At the centre of the universe is a relationship, Dogmatic Trends, Echo Chamber of Dogma, Fruit of disenchantment, In the absence of Enigma: Dogma, More Enigma than Dogma, Mysterious Wonder, Mystery of God, Mystery-disabled, Not discerning times, Oppressively dogmatic times, Worshipful Awe
I have a suspicion that fundamentalism increases inversely to one’s discomfort with the unanswerable questions of life. In essence, one becomes more dogmatic inversely to one’s inability to cope with enigma.
This is not to say there is no place for dogmatics, doctrinal precision, and discernment; it is to say that the pursuit of doctrinal rectitude is not the total summary of the spiritual life; doctrines are merely sign posts to the central mystery of life:
At the centre of the universe is a relationship. That is the most fundamental truth I know. It is out of that relationship that you and I were created and redeemed. And it is for that relationship that you and I were created and redeemed. The centre reality is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Darrell Johnson, “Experiencing the Trinity“.
The Mysterious Wonder
“The worshipful awe/mysterious wonder of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7ff) – not – “the self-proclaimed analysis of all knowledge and doctrines is the beginning of wisdom.” A western bias in favour of things intellectual has left this generation mystery-disabled – or as Jonathan Grant puts it, “we live in a disenchanted earth.” So much so that as people leave the faith of their families (this generation’s allergic reaction to dogma?), they fall into undiscerning “trans-rationality” where everything is equally true however absurd they might be.
G.K. Chesterton once said that it is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything.
One might think that this calls for more dogma. I say, this calls for more enigma – in particular – an invitation to the Mystery of God as He reveals Himself, not as people imagine Him to be.
When I strolled the old streets of old Ephesus in modern day Turkey, I did not discern from that walk as to why Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church some 2000 years ago would be the letter in which he most often uses the word “mystery” when talking about the “the gospel.”
Here Paul writes as a doctrinally concerned follower of Christ ceding the main issue to the mystery of God’s nature and character, all the while calling people to live a wise and faithful life. After all, there are ethical implications to every idea we believe.
Today there are at several dogmatic trends in reaction to the absence of the Mystery of God. These are among the fruit of disenchantment:
- graceless christian fundamentalism
- islamic fundamentalism
- feminist fundamentalism
- abortion extremism
- political partisan-ism
- sexual & gender identity extremism
- dogmatic atheism
Depending on the media soundbites they manipulate, or the social media you listen to most, these dogmas compete for our attention and can have the effect of deafening out wisdom.
These are not necessarily discerning times. These are rather, increasingly oppressively dogmatic times.
Can you Hear… or are you Deafened in an Echo Chamber?
For more see: “More Enigma than Dogma.”
I welcome thoughtful interaction and informed debate.