We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Type 2"

In a better circumstance, we could dispense with all the "Isms" and other political party words. Nothing is advanced thereby, as the debate typically turns on semantics, or "that's not what I call x-ism!"

I think, at root, the divisions in the modern world can be resolved into three basic types. (My arrival at one of these "types" stems simply from my inability to accommodate to the other two.)

[The following quotes are from Munz, The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought, pp. 5-6.]

Type 1: "To the first view there corresponds the idea that human nature is depraved and that a man, if left to himself, is essentially wicked. Psychologically there seems to be at the bottom of such a negative view, the fact of conversion ... reacting against the inclinations and propensities of their earlier life ... In the specifically Christian context such men are usually prone to base their devotion to the next world on a hatred of this world rather than on pure love for the object of their devotion. Such an attitude will in general be marked by a fervent hatred of all half-measures and compromises which will always appear as concessions to the power of evil ... On the first view a great probability of contradiction between the dictates of reason and revelation is assumed, but truth will be ascribed to revelation alone and the results of rational inquiry will be disparaged as satanic illusions likely to contradict revealed truth."

Type 2: "To the second view there corresponds a theory of human nature which is much more balanced in that it takes equal account of the human and the divine. The all-permeating spirit here is one of love, a love for the world which is indirectly a creation of God and as such good, as well as a love for God Himself. Psychologically one finds here a firm faith that has arisen naturally without conversion, sufficient trust to accept the natural parts of life without suspicion or bitterness and yet enough humility to recognize their ultimate imperfections and the need for a higher supplement, the divine revelation."

Type 3: "To the third type, finally, there corresponds a theory of human nature that is over-confident. Here we find a full acceptance of all purely human powers and faculties and a sturdy optimism that this world, as it is, is a whole that needs no further supplement or help from beyond. If it were not for the fact that so many men who subscribed to this view have in all sincerity protested their adhesion to the Christian belief in the transcendent end of human life, one would be inclined not to take this last attitude as a Christian attitude at all. At any rate we must note here a strong tendency towards a bifurcation of life in that this last view makes for an encouragement of Christian beliefs together with a toleration of a purely pagan conduct ... The third view, having postulated an absolute independence between the two spheres of reason and revelation, will gladly tolerate the co-existence of two contradictory truths."

"It is only according to the second view that a complete harmony between reason and revelation ... is presupposed."

(I won't muddy things by assigning contemporary sorts to this typology. But I suspect that most of us have encountered all three.)

The first used to be dominant but has been gradually eclipsed, since the Enlightenment, by the third. You could call them 'Cosmic Pessimism' and 'Cosmic Optimism'. I've never been a fan of either.

Via media.

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