We had about a dozen people at Pub Theology last night over at Right Brain Brewery in the Warehouse district.
There’s nothing like coming in from the cold in Northern Michigan to a good brew and good conversation with friends and strangers!
On tap last night:
Here were the topics and quotes to get conversation rolling:
1. What about time? Does eternity exist?
From Introducing Radical Orthodoxy by James K.A. Smith:
“Modernity eternalizes the present. A modern ontology is characterized by a flatness and materialism that ultimately lead to nihilism – a loss of the real squandered into nothing. When the world is so flattened that all we have is the immanent, the immanent implodes upon itself.”
“Only a participatory ontology – in which the immanent and material is suspended from the transcendent and immaterial – can grant the world meaning.”
2. Is reason reliable?
Immanuel Kant in the introduction to Critique of Pure Reason: “Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of the mind.”
More from Introducing RO: “The myth of secularity relies upon the modern dualism of faith and reason.”
“We must protest equally against assertions of ‘pure reason’ and ‘pure faith’ as against theology as an internal autistic idiolect, and against theology as an adaptation to unquestioned secular assumptions… The apparently opposite poles are in secret collusion: the pursuit of pure faith is as much a modern quest as the pursuit of pure reason.” We must seek a via media in which the theoretical foundations of secularity are dismantled – whence the spaces for public discourse will provide new opportunities for the expression of a properly theological account of reality
3. What about ghosts?
I don’t have time to give a full recap here, but there was some good debate about modernity/pre-modernity and conceptions of time. About what does it mean to be fully present in the here and now, and does this present awareness become overbearing when approached from a materialist perspective? There was no consensus on that, though one person, referencing Eckhart Tolle, noted that ‘all we really have is the present moment’.
Is reason reliable? Again, some good discussion, and general agreement that it is. No consensus on faith/reason as a false or appropriate division.
There were also some ghost stories shared.
Have a thought about the above topics? Post a comment below.