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Local Rebel
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25 posted 10-31-2001 02:05 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

For now I'm going to reserve comment until I can get a ruling from the Honorable Judge Brad...

and .. I think his honor probably covered most of the points I would have addressed... excepting for my bucket -- which I haven't noticed any leaks in interloper.

Oh, and Brad, I probably wouldn't have been as generous to Bloom as you were -- being the cynic that I am I would have said his motivation is naturally to sell books.

I went ahead too, interloper, and read Arkin's critique of Bloom that you've been drawing from http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/10/may92/arkin.htm#back1  -- and I'd just ask -- why is a literary critic's critique of another literary critic's book any more valid than the literary critic's book?

quote:

If you care to continue, please stick to the facts and don't try to turn things around to fit your stand or beliefs.



all of my statements are documented

That's it for now -- you may not see me for a while since I have some deadlines coming up -- but -- I'll be back.


oh yeah... please post your paper in my absense -- I'd like to read it.  Thanks


[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 10-31-2001).]

Interloper
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26 posted 10-31-2001 11:32 AM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Brad, this really stemmed from my charge that Harold Bloom was espousing New Age religion.  Reb, said that was not so and that even if it was, the basis for New Age Religion was founded way before 1992 when Bloom foisted his work on the public.

Salvation is offered to all through the blood of Jesus Christ.

We, in human form, have no divinity unless you are talking about the candy  

There is a great difference in the "god within us" making us a god or devine and having God in us as the Holy Spirit.

I must if the "text" being left out is God's infallible Word.

As Reb correctly points our, this book was written not for the classroom but for royalty income.

I don't know what many Americans say.  I do know that Christians and Jews do not think of themselves as God or a god.

If you don't know many Americans who believe that then you don't know many New Age folk.  That IS the core of his writing and belief.

I have spoken to and have read books by people who claim to have spoken directly with God.  I don't personally know anyone who has spoken directly to God.  Then, again, some of them might really be saying that their prayer life is direct communication with God and with that I cannot argue.

The pattern with the kingdom of God.

As far as I know the only "distinctive" American Religion is the sect known as the Church of Latter Day Saints which, by the way, is Bloom's great example of American Religion and Joseph SMith is Bloom's hero of sorts.  In fact, Bllom predicted that the US would be mostly Mormonized by the year 2000.  So much for his prognostications.

How Americans differ in their religious preference is the subject unto itself and cannot be adequately treated or discussed in a few lines.

Reb, there probably is not.  It is just one I used.  I have others.  

It is just that you have a way of twisting statements to fit your argument.  That is not to say you do it all the time.  Please continue if it pleases you, I am sure I will recognize it when it happens  

Your statements are well documented and, as I said before, you are a learned man and quite well read.  I would be interested in knowing in which discipline your engineering degree was obtained (i.e. Electrical, civil, aeronautical, etc.).

I would be honored to post my paper but for two very good reasons.  One is Ron would croak if I were to do so.  But the most compelling reason is that I cannot put my  hands on it having purchased a new home and still having half my life in boxes.  Besides, this was stored on a series of 5.25 inch floppies ... you remember those  

[This message has been edited by Interloper (edited 11-01-2001).]

Brad
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27 posted 11-01-2001 01:35 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hmmmmmm, Bloom wrote this book to make money. It's an interesting idea but I never thought of Bloom as a popular writer -- his style always seems too turgid for that.

What he does like to do though is stir up debate and in that he's been quite successful.  

But what, if anything, can we say about the practice of religion in America, in particular the practice of Christianity?

Here're a few hypotheses:

1. An emphasis on experience over and above exegesis.

--By this I simply mean that the acceptance of Christ is more important than laboring over the Bible.

--the feeling is more important than the understanding

2. In respect to that, an emphasis on the Bible as a predictive, apocalyptic text rather than a transformative tool.

--I sometimes wonder if Revelations is read more often than the Gospels.

--I hear people explaining what's going to happen from reading the Bible but I rarely hear them speak of reading the Bible as an experience unto itself.

4. A strong evangelical streak.

--I've never been accosted by Australians asking if I know Jesus.

5. A downplaying of ritual versus spirituality.

--we've talked about this already

6. A focus on the verse instead of the chapter.

--sound bites, easier to digest that way.

--a tendency to look for quick and easy answers

------------------------

I am not saying these are 'true' -- I'm not even sure it'd be appropriate to use that term here. What I'm looking for is 'feel', what common characteristics can we talk about roughly to help us understand who we are and in what ways belief manifests itself in the American experience.

I had a much longer list but I found I was talking more about Americans in general than the ways they specifically practice their religion.

Funny thing, if you look at this, I still am talking about Americans in general.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about HOW Americans believe, not what they believe.

Looking forward to the response,
Brad

PS If any of these make you (general you) say something like, "Well, duh ..." than I'm right.  
Local Rebel
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28 posted 11-01-2001 07:33 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

No Bloom predicted that the Mormon population would increase from its 2% level in 1991 to 10% by 2020.

And what's wrong with Joe Smith or the Mormons?  

He focused on Mormonism and Southern Baptists because they were his best examples of 'the American Religion'

Brad, I'd agree to all six of your premesis.

Don't forget 'Book of J' was a best seller... this one came right after it -- and what's he up to on published works now?  Way past 20 -- gotta be making a profit or the publishers would have quit long ago eh?

Still don't have time for this guys -- sorry -- try to catch up with everything by this weekend though.

Until then just play through... lol
Local Rebel
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29 posted 11-01-2001 07:36 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

oh.. and interloper... how about a thesis, outline, and conclusions?  I'm sure Ron wouldn't mind

and I'm an ME but my expertise is in advanced manufacturing, process design, tooling, automation, dfma, qfd, etc. ad nauseum

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 11-01-2001).]

Interloper
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30 posted 11-01-2001 12:35 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Brad,
The acceptance of Christ is paramount.  However, one does not labor over the Bible unless you would call it a labor of love.

Before one can enjoy the feeling of salvation, one must understand the offer, the acceptance and the reasons therefor.  Once salvation is achieved, the feelings are extremely important.  This is but, as Confucious said, the first step in a long journey.  That is why we call it a "walk with God" and we grow spiritually along the way.

I would hardly call the gospels "apocalyptic."  Neither would I place the other books of the New Testament in that category.

I find it interesting that you use Revelation as the one book you mention in that statement regarding an apocalypse.  The book of Revelation may be THE most difficult book to discuss in this forum.  It is hard enough for biblical scholars let alone those of us in this forum.

I believe the gospels and Paul's epistles are read by Christians to a much higher degree than Revelation.  There are books in the Old Testament that are read to a much higher degree than the book of the Revelation, among them, Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah ... even Genesis, I believe.

Few of my acquaintances have ever sat down and read the Bible cover to cover.  It is, as Reb would probably agree, a daunting task.  Yet I know a couple of people who have memorized many books of the Bible.  

The Bible is a font of information from which to gain new insight no matter how many times one has read a book or chapter ... maybe even a verse or three.

Evangelism.  There is something upon which we could build a whole new thread.  Suffice it to say that Jesus gave us that imperative in Mark 16:15-16, for instance.

I would submit you are seldom accosted by Australians for any reason at all

Now another subject that could be a thread of its own ... sound bites versus context ... quick and easy answers ... interesting.  

First, there are no quick and easy answers to Christianity. The decision for or against salvation and atonement for sin on the cross by Jesus is an eternal one.  You can accept or deny up until you draw your last breath.

Second, there are verses that stand alone like the ever popular John 3:16.  Then there are phrases (sound bites?) that do not stand alone like the also ever popular "judge not ..., etc.

Third, one must accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God.  Just as God is accepted through faith, so must the Word of God.  Yet, today, it is very much easier to believe than say 100 years ago because the Bible has been proven to be historically correct.

As for "how" Americans believe, you would need a poll 'cuz I'm not going to speak for them.

Reb,
I don't think there is anything wrong with Joseph Smith or Donny Osmond.  I believe Mormonism is a sect.  They have attempted to add to the Bible with the Book of Mormon against specific admonishment against such action in the Bible.

Any one who charges that Baptists, Southern, Northern, Conservative, Liberal, Moderate, or otherwise, are a distinctive American religion has probably forgotten about a certain fellow called John the baptiser, or John the Baptist, who preceeded Jesus and in fact personally baptised Jesus.  I don't know is this was done in the Southern part of the Holy Land or not

Local Rebel
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31 posted 11-05-2001 10:50 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Bloom on the New Age

quote:

California, for most of this century, has been our new Burned-over District, replacing the western reserve of New York State, which was the religious hothouse o the nineteenth century.  Though the New Age cults have no more than about thirty thousand members, their fellow travelers are an untold multitude.  Virtually all our bookstores feature a New Age section, ranging from Shirley MacLaine recallijng her previ9us incarnations to the memoirs of prehistoric warriors, Schwarzkopfs of 35,000 years ago.  Networking in our America, these days, takes place either among the politically correct acedemics of the high camp of Resentment, or among the dank cranks of the belated Aquarian Conspiracy, trying to float our planet off into cosmic consciousness.

Religious criticism cannot be applied to Scientology, or to the Moonie Unification Church, any more than literary criticism can find its texts-for-discussion in Alice Walker or in Danielle Steel.  The New Age is a borderline case, like Allen Ginsberg or John Updike.  The warlocks and the mediums of California Orphism aren't exactly Emanuel Swedenborg or even Madame Helean Petrovna Blavatsky, of whom W. B. Yeats sublimely remarked: "Of course she gets up spurious miracles, but what is a woman of genius to do in the nineteenth century!"  The spurious miracles of the New Age are the comic outreaches of the American Religion, and might yield a few amiable insights to a properly disinterested religious criticism.

Bloom 'The American Religion' pp 181,182



Bloom on Mormonism and Southern Baptism as compontents of the American Religion

quote:

Since this is a study in religious criticism, I will center upon what I judge to be the two most American of our faiths, those of the Mormons and the Southern Baptist Convention.  I approach both of these, in the pragmatic spirit of William James, as varieties of religious experience, and will emphasize equally questions of irreducible spirituality and of the temperament of the believer in her or his encounter with God.  The Mormons rightly stress their indubitable status as an American original, with a precise genesis in the visions granted to their prophet, seer, and revelator, Joseph Smith.  The Baptists, true to the American grain (as are the Mormons), trace their origin in a great American myth, the primitive Christian Church of ancient Israel.  I follow religious historians in relocating Southern Baptist origins in early nineteenth-century America, but I break with those historians in finding the true and belated father of Southern Baptism to have been Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), who redefined the faith in his great manifesto of 1908, 'The Axioms of Religion'.  So far as I can tell, Mullins invented the term "soul competency" for the most crucial Baptist freedom, when he insisted that "the doctrine of the soul's competency in religion under God is the historical significance of the Baptists."  Mullins prevailed in that judgment until the current takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention by Know-Nothings masking as Fundamentalists.  Ironically, much of the Mullinsesque or Moderate Southern Baptist heritage now so severely jeopardized by the supposed Fundamentalists may well have been of African-American Baptist origin, as I will show much later in this book.  That makes it all the more appropriate that Texas Know-Nothings are destroying the Southern Baptist Convention, and so are obliterating the last organized stand of a religion of the Inner Light in the United States.  The priesthood of the believer is being replaced by a hierarchy that will be at once more dogmatic and less intellectualized than the structure of authority in the Roman Catholic Church.  A highly individualized, even eccentric religion of Enthusiastic experience will dwindle down into a vapidity.

Bloom, 'The American Religion' pp 46,47



Bloom on Joseph Smith, the Bible in American Religion and Christianity
quote:

Joseph Smith was a religious genius, though only a mixed orator and an indifferent writer.  His followers, for at least a century now, have backtracked from his radical newness to a public stance sometimes difficult to distinguish from Protestantism, but Smith himself was in no traditional sense a Protestant, or indeed even a Christian.  Mrs. Brodie saw the truth when she beheld the rleigion of her ancestors as having the same relation to Christianity that Christianity had to Judaism, or that Islam had to both the religion of the Book and the religion of the Son of Man.  The two crucial branches of the American Religion, in my judgment, are the Mormons and the Southern Baptists, violent opponents of one another, yet each American to the core and neither having anything accurately in common with what historically has been considered Christianity.  Both insist otherwise, but so does nearly every other American sect and denomination, every American variety of our pragmatic and experiential religion.  To myself, culturally an American Jewish intellectual but not an adherent of normative Judaism, nothing about our country seems so marvelously strange, so terrible and so wonderful, as its weird identification with ancient Israelite religion and with the primitive Christian Church that supposedly came out of it.  The largest paradox concerning the American Religion is that it is truly a biblical religion, whereas Judaism and Christianity never were that, despite all their passionate protestations.  Normative Judaism is the religion of the Oral Law, the strong interpretation of the Bible set forth by the great rabbis of the second century of the Common Era.  Christianity is the religion of the Church Fathers and of the Protestant theologians who broke with the Church, and Catholics and Protestants alike joined in the rabbinical sages in offering definitive interpretations that displaced Scripture.  The American Religion, unlike Judaism and Christianity, is actually biblical, even when it offers and exalts alternative texts as well.

Joseph Smith's alternative texts-the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price (itself made up of several rather distinct works), and the Doctrine and Covenants -- are all stunted stepchildren of the Bible.  I need to say something like "stunted" because what we now call the Bible is the result of a complex process of canonization for which the criteria were surprisingly aesthetic, or at least reconcilable with the aesthetic.  The Song of Songs is in the Bible because it had enchanted the great Rabbi Akiba, and somethin in that enchantment was not altogether different from my bewitchment by our Song of Songs, Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Blom'd"  But all of Mormon Scripture is the work of Joseph Smith, and his life, personality, and visions far transcended his talents at the composition of divine texts.  

Bloom, 'The American Religion' pp 81,82



Bloom on Gnosticism as a componenet of the American Religion
quote:

What is so tentative here has become consistent, fierce, even raging in the Enthusiasm of the American Religion, where Southern Baptist or Pentecostal conversion invariably is felt, manifested, and exuberantly communicated.  Wesley, in the American perspective, must now be seen as a bridgine figure between a more resttrained English mode of Enthusiasm and the violence, both internal and external, of the American Religion.  Experiential faith, largely divorced from doctrine, would have left an emptiness in America but for something more vibrant that replaced doctrine, a timeless knowing that in itself saves.  Wesley still believed that God had performed in history, but the American knowing cancels history, even the history of God before he discovered America.  Gnosticism, ancient and American, has gotten a bad name, from Saint Irenaeus down to Tom Wolfe, but here I dissent.  President Eisenhower is notorious for remarking that the United States was and had to be a religious nation, and that he didn't care what religion it had, as long as it had one.  I take a sadder view; we are, alas, the most religious of contries, and only varieties of the American Religion finally will flourish among us, whether its devotees call it Mormonism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, or what-you-will.  And the American Religion, for its two centuries of existence, seems to me irretrievably Gnostic.  It is a knowing, by and of an uncreated self, or self-within-the-self, and the knowledge leads to freedom, a dangerous and doom-eager freedom: from nature, time, history, community, other selves.  I shake my head in unhappy wonderment at the politically correct younger intellectuals, who hope to subvert what they cannot begin to understand an obsessed society wholly in the grip of a dominant Gnosticism.

If you have a religious temperament, or a yearning for religion, and yet you cannot accept Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim explanations as to why an omnipotent God permits the perpetual victory of evil and misfortune, then you may be tempted by Gnosticism, even if you never quite know just what Gnosticism is, or was.  Personal experience and meditation upon history alike make me impatient with all attempts at justifying the was of God to man.  The God of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad seems indulgent toward schizophrenia and the Holocaust.  There is also the God of the Gnostic speculator Valentinus of Alexandria, and of the Kabbalist rabbi Isaac Luria of Safed, and that God is estranged or withdrawn from our world of hallucinations and death camps.  The Alien God of Gnostic vision can be regarded as the projection of an ancient heresy, if you wish, or as a living reality, though one to whom no churches or temples are overtly dedicated.  Gnosticism, to me, seems less of a fossil than are our organized, socially accepted mainline religions, but I scarcely intend this book to be either a Gnostic manifesto or a treatise upon conversion.
  
Bloom, 'The American Religion' pp 49,50



I think where this conversation is lacking is in a fundamental misunderstanding between the words 'espouse' and 'critic'.  Bloom writes on the American Religion and what he defines as a kind of contemporary Gnosticism as a critic, an analyst -- not an apoligist.

As a critic he writes about what exists -- or what he sees -- in the culture -- not about what should be -- as a critic he may give his 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' to things he sees here and there but doesn't ultimately make any reccommendations or prognostications.

It is understandable, interloper, why -- as a Southern Baptist -- that you find his critique irritating.  I'm sure the Mormons would too -- as well as New Agers, Christian Scientists, and everyone else critiqued in his book including practicing Gnostics.

This started out not when you accused Bloom of espousing New Age religion -- but me.  Again a fundamental misunderstanding of the word espouse.

You have pointed out that Gnosticism is hard to define -- as does the Encarta entry I posted a link to -- and this is because most of what was written about it was written by the detractors of it after destroying all the original texts.  The Naj Hammadi texts appear to be close to originals (of the Christian Gnostics) but may have, in fact, been written by ascetic Monks in Egypt as a treatise against it as well.... we don't know -- but -- one can obviously write about a subject without espousing it -- or else in your own detraction of Bloom and Gnosticism -- you would be espousing it.

At one point you, and others, wanted to say that America is a Christian Nation.  If that were true then there must be some common thread that weaves through the religious fabric of the country.  Bloom, with whom I agree on this point, suggests there is a common thread, but that it more resembles Gnosticism than Christianity.  

Since I am an Agnostic -- which is clearly pointed out in my writings -- it is nonsensical to assume I am espousing Gnosticism in my agreement that it seems to be the prevailing force in the American dynamic.  

But, overall it's been a fun thread.

Thanks
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32 posted 11-05-2001 01:18 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Reb,

You are certainly allowed to believe any way you wish.  However, when you said "It is understandable, interloper, why -- as a Southern Baptist -- that you find his critique irritating"  I'd like to know how you labelled me as a Southern Baptist.

Maybe, more correctly, you lump me in with Bloom's "Texas know-nothings."

FYI, I am a Methodist, if you want a label for me.  I was, however, baptized in a Southern Baptist church and was a member for 20 years before I made a change and pursued my ministerial education.

Yes, this has been an interesting thread.
Local Rebel
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33 posted 11-05-2001 02:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well hey.. once again.. we absolutely agree on something!  
quote:

You are certainly allowed to believe any way you wish.  



Why do I think you're a Southern Baptist?  You talk like one.  Maybe because you were for 20 years.  Of the Methodists I know and grew up with you would be about 30 miles to their right... lol... but of the Texas Methodists I know you're still probably close to center.

quote:

Maybe, more correctly, you lump me in with Bloom's "Texas know-nothings."



no I don't lump you with anything -- but I'd say some of your opinions expressed here and elswhere, such as the Proud to be American thread, would qualify as such -- of course Bloom wasn't saying Texan's know nothing -- he was referring to the (now defunct) 'Know Nothing' party -- so named because it was secretive and when members where asked about it they said 'I know nothing about it' -- of course its official name was the American Party -- as to it's Texas brand http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/waa1.html


Interloper
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34 posted 11-05-2001 02:40 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

I guess I'd better learn to put a smiley face next to all my tongue-in-cheek comments.  I am now infamous for that  
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35 posted 11-08-2001 11:19 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I'll have to read more... but from the quotes I've read here, it seems Bloom said an awful lot, in order to say he believes in nothing.... or at least almost nothing.

The quote of Bloom about schizophrenia being a characteristic of the God of the Jews and  Christians, seems to me an expression of failure on his own part to reconcile an evil world with a good and just Creator.  However the only problem with that is that he doesn't really offer anything substantial in place of the "orthodox" explanations.   He says they are unacceptable, but seems to give little more than irksome complaints about how they can't be true (just because), and how the organized religions are all stuffy and out of touch... a charge which may be true enough in many cases but hardly grounds for rejecting the message of the Bible as the truth.  The vague gnosticism he talks of as a necessary substitute seems but a spectre of a Christianity he himself cannot accept.   But the ghost is not of Christianity.  For Christ is risen.  It seems to be his own belief  which  has died.  

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 11-09-2001).]

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36 posted 11-09-2001 01:20 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Stephen,

Gee, I wish I had said that

Fool, said my Muse to me, look in thy heart and write.

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37 posted 11-15-2001 07:39 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Stephanos --

Don't get too distracted by the critique -- it isn't Bloom's purpose (or responsibility as a critic) to present something better -- merely to offer an analysis of what is (as he views it) and to substantiate his thesis statement -- that there is a distinctive 'American' religion and that it is not 'Christian' in the form of European / Mediteranean origin.

But since you brought up the point of reconciling the existence of evil in the presense of an omnipotent and omniscient creator (which he seems to believe Gnosticim may better explain than traditional Judeo/Christian theology) -- I'll just ask -- how do you reconcile it?
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38 posted 11-15-2001 09:32 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Local Rebel,

I guess the honest truth is that I myself  cannot reconcile it.  It is an issue of trust.  But I do believe that God is all knowing and good without degree.  And what he has revealed about himself through history, the prophets, the scriptures, and especially Jesus Christ, tells me that God is good despite this perplexing sin-fallen world.  So I simply  believe these "orthodox" explanations though I don't agree with everything religious communities have done throughout history.  

And by the way, these concepts did not originate with "American Religion"... the reconciling of a Good and All-powerful creator with a world tainted with evil, is well documented in the Judeo-Christian tradition...(ie it's distinct scriptural tradition).  This nation is only a little over a couple of hundred years old... So I tend to look back to the writings of Moses for explanations about the why the world is the way it is.  If Bloom is saying that American  Religion in general is far different than the historical expressions of Christianity... then okay,  I agree.  But that does not negate the foundation stones of Christianity... the writing which originated around  Palestine a few thousand years before Christ.  The Genesis account adequately explains that sin and rebellion of God's creatures is what caused death and evil to be prevalent in the world.  I believe it for several reasons... 1) I have experienced it in my own life, in my own heart, 2) I have been convicted of sin by the Spirit of God, and feel that it lines up perfectly with the world-view presented in the Bible and 3) I have found this revelation to be trustworthy ... the only one that really makes sense of what is going on.

I know the following questions like... well if God were all powerful how could he create flawed beings who were capable of rebelling against him?  I guess like C. S. Lewis, I feel that this is one of the greatest wonders that ever could be... to be able to create beings with the capacity  to turn against you.  Anything less would be an automaton... robotic obedience.   So free will is to be considered, and it's playing out in history.

But to be honest with you the scripture only lets us in so far on the reason, and seems to suggest to us that God has  purposes far beyond us in things he chooses to do.  He doesn't have to ask our permission.  He is sovereign and is not accountable to us.  But neither he has  been niggardly to withhold from us things to help us understand.  While some might see the fall of creation as a failure on God's part... they have not seen the whole story... they have not seen the end result.  The Bible also seems to suggest that the glory of restoration is going to far outshine the original splendor of an unfallen world.  So if this is true... the reconciliation of it all would be easy to accept.  Consider the following question:  "why does that door have to be stripped of paint and look so bare and unattractive."  It would be answered without words as soon as the newly painted door was seen by the asker. Why would a good God allow evil?  To demonstrate his own glory and power and divine abilities to take even what is evil and turn it around for good... more good that we ever could imagine.

You hit a deep subject here... perhaps good for a whole other thread (or two...lol).  But if you ever want to read a well written and intelligent presentation of this whole question... try reading "The Problem of Pain" by the above mentioned Lewis.  No matter where you stand theologically this book will be a great read.

God bless,

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 11-15-2001).]

 
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