Re: Pruning

Just to complicate matters with some further problems:

Dan asks:

What do we do?

I think the answer has to be divided based on who the “we” is. Is the “we” the church qua church? Then the discussion will go in one direction: because from the beginning Christianity has been a missionary religion commissioned by its founder to convert the whole world. The plan in that sense is to eliminate the competition by means of persuasion. I realize that there are some modern and postmodern theologians who would argue with this, but I don’t find them very convincing, so I don’t think that’s a real option in play (for those who wish to be consistent).

If the “we” is Western nation-states, then the discussion will go in a very different direction. Now we are asking about using force on people, and in which circumstances we should do so, essentially. I’m not sure what to say about that. One of the problems of thinking from this perspective, I believe, is that “we” are still a living tradition, with a particular point of view and non-neutral values. There is no view from the outside of matters related to religion, as it were.

A further problem is that those who are part of both “we”s (or have a different religious tradition roughly equivalent in nature to the Christian one) sometimes feel the conflict between the “we”s internally; there is then a pressure to compromise or compartmentalize, or alternatively become ghettoized or zealous (for either “we” identity, violently against the other one). There’s a fine line to walk to maintain one’s integrity before God and others, and only a few find it, it seems. And of course, these attitudes cannot fail to have some communal/corporate correlation.

So, now that I’ve added to the problems, what do we do? 🙂