Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Religious Person is One who is Open to the Call of History

9/25/2010—My friend tells me that, in the view of the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, the religious person is the one who is open to the call of history. This strikes me as exactly right. Think of Moses in Egypt. Jesus. Lincoln, Gandhi. Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr. All of them were willing to be led to address the great need of the hour and sacrificed their lives and comfort to do so.

My friend’s point is that this is a more fruitful way to look at religion than through the lens of the natural/supernatural divide. And it does raise the question of just what the difference is between the religious and the secular.

How does the secularist respond to this formulation? Does she say that the secularist also responds to the call of history? Or does she respond that the notion of “the call of history” is a woolly-headed and dangerous concept?

If history speaks, we already have God. Or is history just a jumble? And is this, rather than belief in God, the real question of faith?

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