Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

No One Sane Adopts their Turtle

February 21st, 2013 by G.

I can see that the statement of one-ness of being between God, Christ and Man may lead, further down the inferential chain, to consequences which are apparently heretical or otherwise unacceptable – yet such ‘third-level incoherence’ is always the case for any theology concrete and simple enough to be relevant and useful in life.
Better a deep level of possible theological incoherence, than a superficial level of theological irrelevance – which looks very much like evasion.

Thus Bruce Charlton.

Mormonism is almost explicitly what he’s talking about. We start with the basic insight that he has and push pretty far down the inferential chain. What occurs to me is that pushing on down the inferential chain isn’t really the problem, it’s starting to see the further links in the chain as equally important to the starting point. Or, as someone much smarter than me put it, “Be still; and know that I am God.”

Comments (5)
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February 21st, 2013 03:57:09

February 21, 2013

Charlton’s post and comments sound like he’s talking himself into Mormonism.

Adam G.
February 21, 2013

All theologies are incorrect in detail.
–Bruce Charlton


February 21, 2013

Charlton’s blog is becoming a significant distraction from my important work of designing weapons of mass destruction. Death Star, Inc., may never be the same.

This particularly jumped out at me:

And the thing which induces people to know yet to reject the offer is pride; an insistence upon imposing one’s own, personal, system of evaluation upon reality.

It is not that such people actively want Hell as such, but that they deliberately reject Heaven – because Heaven entails chosen subordination of oneself to God, to Reality, to objective Truth.

It is in this sense that Hell is chosen.

This is part of an essay which argues for what is essentially the Mormon understanding of the sin against the Holy Ghost, stripped of some of its legalisms.*

And what this excerpt seems to say is that refusal to subordinate oneself to God is equivalent to refusal to subordinate oneself to reality. It’s a strikingly different picture from the God-as-Oriental-tyrant picture touted by the more militant atheists I know.

My fear is that Charton, having come to appreciate the appeal of Mormonism, is going to start working on a really devastating rebuttal of the “Yes, but…” variety. Of course, he may fail, and draw the obvious conclusion; but I am not an optimist. After all, if he were to abandon his creedal Christian orthodoxy, what would become of him?

*Not that the legalisms are untrue or unimportant. Just that they can be the trees that obscure the forest.

Adam G.
February 21, 2013

Some of what he says approaches a kind of Taoist Christianity, if Taoists were practical-minded Anglo-Saxons.

The Way that can be said is not the true Way.

I think its unlikely he’s going to explode on Mormons as long as we keep marrying and having kids and being disliked by the PC crowd. He has, unfortunately, elaborated some pretty sterling defenses that allow him to be as sympathetic as he is.

It’s curious, though, that I am in a way relearning the glories of Mormon doctrine from two righteous gentiles, Bruce Charlton and Stephen Webb.

Adam G.
February 21, 2013

“theology is necessary; yet once there is a theology there will be questions, and these questions will seem to require answers, and these answers will satisfy some and lead to further questions among others…

When Christianity focuses on theology, then trouble is in the offing, unless there is already great faith, humility, inner discipline and love of God within which theological exploration may occur.

But even then, the corruptions of the world, the limits of knowledge and the feebleness of reason will tend to lead us astray.


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