Friday, July 14, 2006

On Being an Intellectual Heretic

I may never live down the fact that I don't equate traditional theology with either critical thought or Gnosticism, or the fact that I don't give undue respect to the powers and authorities. So, I guess I'll just have to be a Gnostic. ;)

I wrote the following in a comment, but thought folks might miss it.

“In a real marketplace of ideas, it is the the ideas, the intellectual work, that matters. Everything should be open to honest serious scrutiny. Even the notion that all we are doing sometimes is playing a formalized game of make believe. Which also, by the way, is not saying that playing make believe has no value either. We conduct thought-experiments all the time, they are very valuable. We just distinguish between them and descriptions of reality.”

You may claim that the objections to my objection to traditional theology is of this sort. However, I do not think that they were. To be able to even approach the subject of the assumptions involved in the theological method, I had to try (in vain I might add) to get past the assumption that the norm and status quo for the studying of religious ideas that developed from the tradition that rejected Gnosticism represents the one true way to approach things Gnostic. It was a dismissal based upon the status quo in people's minds. Which lead to more assumptions than I care to think about.

At this point, I'm just going to join in and declare myself an intellectual heretic and get on with serious intellectual work that includes continuing to question assumptions, methods, and the status quo.

You're all welcome to become intellectual heretics as well. C'mon it's fun!

2 comments:

Jordan Stratford+ said...

" the assumption that the norm and status quo for the studying of religious ideas that developed from the tradition that rejected Gnosticism represents the one true way to approach things Gnostic."

I have yet to encounter this assumption, having never seen it posited or endorsed by anyone at any time.

Rev. Troy said...

Jordan,
It was indeed "the assuption" not "the assertion." There is quite a difference.

Assumptions are also not always easy to see. Explicit assumptions are rare beasts. Implicit assumptions are rarely recognized.

Of course, the real issue is how literally does one take the obvious reference to "orthodox" in a humorous framing of something as "heresy?" ;)