Christianity and the Modern World-View

“World-view” is a semi-technical term that names something we all have, whether we are conscious of it or not. It is a way of seeing reality – of what is real and what is possible. In German, where I think the notion was coined, the term is Weltanschauung – the way the world appears to us, how we think of it. Not just “world” in the sense of “the earth” or “the globe,” but the whole of reality.

What is commonly called the modern world-view was born in the European Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries. It continues into the present, even as some speak of our having entered “post-modernity” with a “post-modern” world-view. Often called a scientific world-view, it affirms that what is real is that which can be known by science, namely, the space-time world of matter and energy and how it operates. Of course, many contemporary (post-modern?) scientists think that understanding is inadequate and venture beyond it into string-theory and multiple dimensions of reality.

But at the level of popular culture, the modern world-view is still widely even if unconsciously accepted not only by secularists but also by many Christians, especially fundamentalist and many conservative Christians. That is why they argue for the factual interpretation of biblical stories: the stories of creation, Jesus’s conception by God, his miraculous deeds, and a literal material physical resurrection. Within this way of thinking, if these stories aren’t factual – if they didn’t happen in the space-time world of matter and energy, then they’re not true and are no better than fables.

Progressive Christians are often said by other Christians to elevate the modern worldview above the Bible and Christian tradition. That is one of the issues in the dialogue between Tony Jones and me about the resurrection of Jesus. Namely, that I (and other progressive Christians) believe that modernity defines what is possible and not possible, and that that is the reason that I do not believe in the material physical bodily resurrection of Jesus’s corpse. Even as I do affirm the central meaning of the resurrection: that Jesus is a reality of the present who continues to be experienced and also and importantly experienced as Lord, as vindicated by God.
So also Roger Olson, whose Patheos blogs I read and value, defines “liberal Christianity” as one that makes modern knowledge normative.

I acknowledge that I did so earlier in my life. From my mid teens through my early 30s, I took for granted the modern world-view: that what was real was what could be known through modern ways of knowing. And so I became skeptical about anything that didn’t fit within that world-view, including God and everything said to be done by God. What mattered to me was ethics, personal and social. I could see that emphasis in the Bible, and it mattered even as I was skeptical about God.

Then in my 30s I had a series of mystical experiences. I knew nothing about mysticism at the time, even as I had a doctor’s degree in religious studies and New Testament. In those moments, I saw everything filled with light, luminous, glorious. I later learned that the phrase “the glory of God” means the radiance of God, the sacred. What the word “God” referred to became real to me.

Those experiences shattered the world-view that I had absorbed growing up in a modern Western culture. And I began to see the central figures of the biblical
tradition, including Jesus, and the central figures of other religious traditions, as people for whom “God” did not refer primarily to an article of belief but an element of experience. Those experiences convinced me that “God” is real.

But they did not convince me that God intervenes on the behalf of some people and not others. The evidence against divine interventions to rescue some (and perhaps punish others) seems to me to be overwhelming. And not primarily because of the modern world-view. Rather, the issue is theological: if God sometimes intervenes, how can one possibly account for all the non-interventions? God rescued the Hebrew slaves by dividing the sea in the time of the Exodus, but didn’t during the many pogroms since, culminating in the Holocaust? If God intervenes, why do the wicked often prosper and the good often suffer? God fed hungry people through Jesus by multiplying loaves and fishes, even as hundreds of millions have died of hunger since? God raised Jesus in physical material bodily form from the dead, but nobody else? And the stories of Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter and the son of the widow of Nain are not really exceptions. If they were, the question would still remain: why them and not anybody else?

Some people today have experienced rescue when it seemed impossible. Some with a diagnosis of terminal illness recover. A few survive a plane crash when everybody else is killed. All of us an provide examples.

People who have these experiences will often say, “Thank God, praise God!” The exclamation is utterly natural. Gratitude is natural and to be applauded. How could one not be grateful? But to construct a theology of divine intervention out of such experiences is to ignore the elephant in the room: what about all of those who don’t get rescued?

So I do not think God intervenes. That is, I do not think that God is the direct cause of some things that happen.

Yet I am convinced that God is real, and known in all of the enduring religions of the world, the ones that have stood the test of time. And as a Christian, the paradigms of those who have known God are the great figures of our tradition: Moses, Elijah, the prophets, Jesus, Paul, and post-biblical folks like Augustine, Aquinas, Francis, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila, and a cloud of witnesses too numerous to name.

A Christianity that robustly affirms the reality of God and the many who have known God is not deficient, even as it lets go of the notion of special interventions. It may well be the Christianity of the future. To quote Karl Rahner, often called the most important Roman Catholic theologian of the second half of the 20th century: “In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic (one who has experienced God for real) or nothing at all.” And “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.”

I would soften Rahner’s words, as he might also have: if God is not an element of experience and not simply an article of belief, then there is no reason to take the notion of God, the sacred, seriously. And affirming the reality of God, the sacred, as the one in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17.28) counters the modern world-view. There is a way of being Christian that goes beyond the modern world-view without affirming special divine interventions.

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  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    I agree with you that God does not intervene in the details of our lives as many Christian think, and as I used to assume.
    We do not need God to account for good or bad things that happen to us and others; favorable and unfavorable impacts are often random and coincidental, while others are natural consequences of our actions.
    However, I do believe the Father loves and cares for each one of us.

  • Agni Ashwin

    Would you say that your series of mystical experiences were a divine “intervention”?

    • Wisdom Bodhisattva

      Certainly this cannot be the case.

  • Agni Ashwin

    “So I do not think God intervenes. That is, I do not think that God is the direct cause of some things that happen.”

    I notice that this still leaves the possibility of, say, the saints of the Ecclesia Triumphans being the direct cause of some things that happen.

  • http://meafar.blogspot.com/ Bob MacDonald

    The phrase God intervenes deals with another aspect of the modern view – cause and effect. It’s troubling that we can’t put God at this level of reasoning. Troubling to reasoning that is. A phrase came to me from the Psalms in the middle of the night: Did you suppose that being so, I would be like you? It is Psalm 50:21 in a section surprisingly like Romans 2. The fact is that God may not intervene – but we do. And we often intervene in a way that is not for good. Can we do otherwise?

  • Larry

    One wonders why God does not provide everyone with a ” a series of mystical experiences” confirming a divine reality. Why you and not Dawkins and Harris? Seems you claim a divine encounter while disputing the claims of biblical characters. Is this just a existential claim with personal significance while other claims are disputed as mere fabrications or mere illusion? In other words, do you claim you experiences to be “special divine revelations”?

    • Josh Magda

      Mysticism places the claims of dogmatic religion into a larger context, the world over. What Marcus describes is not unique to him; the experience of the real is a universal human experience found in all cultures and time periods that fundamentally alters the lives of those who undergo it. The best comparative modern introduction I know in written form is Brother Wayne Teasdale’s “The Mystic Heart”.

    • Wisdom Bodhisattva

      You are assuming supernatural theism, a human-like deity that intervenes in the affairs of humanity. Dr. Borg does not ascribe his experiences to the actions of an outside thinking agent that could have choosen to do otherwise.

      • Larry

        So is Dr. Borg a theist or an pantheist? If there is no “thinking agent” outside space and time who “could have chosen to do otherwise” are our personal stories predetermined by some kind of determinative impersonal force? If this is what Dr. Borg believes he has opted for a view of God far removed from that of Abraham, the prophets, Jesus, and Paul.

        • http://www.evolvingchristianfaith.net/ irreverance

          I suspect the best attribute for him would be panentheist (note the “en” between “pan” and “theist”).

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

        • R Vogel

          Why do you feel the need to put a label on it? (Honest question, not smart-ass retort)

    • R Vogel

      Perhaps the divine reality was manifest to Dawkins and Harris but in a different way? I don’t mean to posit that their ‘religion’ was atheism as many try to say. They found meaning and wonder in the physical universe – perhaps for them that was sufficient. There are plenty of people who look at science and yawn, sit on the couch and put on the football game, so clearly science was important to them in a way that is not as important to the average yeoman. In a strained way I think of it like poetry. I can share a poem that almost brings me to tears with someone who may have no reaction at all. Now I could try to convince them they should be moved, threaten them if they aren’t and they could respond that is simply a collection of words in ungrammatical structure and therefore mostly unintelligible and any meaning I gain from it is some sort of psychological trickery (to borrow a phrase from another poster). Did the poem ‘reach out to me’ in some sort of special revelation or did something move within me in response to it? Because they were not moved, does that mean there is something wrong with them, or perhaps they are simply moved by something else? Why must all of our responses to a divine reality, if it exists, be the same? And if they aren’t, why look skeptical on someone else’s that does not conform to your own?

      • Larry

        I’m just trying to make sense of Borg’s worldview that claims personal mystical experiences yet disputes “special divine revelations” in time and space. Maybe, as some have noted, the conflict hinges upon a different view of God or divine reality and the way that God might encounter creation. I have no intent to in anyway limit or exhaustively define how God might stir within one a sense of the transcendent, however that presence might be defined. Although personally I have never had what some Christians call a personal encounter with Jesus, or an experience of God that left no doubt it was a divine encounter, I do not dispute that others may have had such an experience. I have no basis to dispute the claims of others except by the fruit produced by that experience. When a Christian or Muslim claims God told them to kill others I would challenge that claim based upon God’s revelation in Jesus. My inquire is not to challenge the experience but to inquire how one interprets the meaning of the experience.

        • R Vogel

          I hope I didn’t come across as accusatory as it was not my intent. I was simply trying to offer a framework where a divine experience, without specifically naming it as Jesus or anything else, may exist without it requiring a ‘special divine revelation’ directed toward me but rather me experiencing the divine in some personal way, and, hopefully in my ham-fisted way, not assert that my or anyone else’s experiencing of the divine is, or should be considered, universal. (that ‘left no doubt’ is a tough one that I will let be since there is very little that I don’t doubt even if just a teensy bit) I am probably far more of a universalist than most Chirstians, so I don’t claim that my views speak for anyone else. I think we are in complete agreement that religious revelation still needs to be judged under the light of morality, so if your religion, or for that matter your humanistic philosophy, leads you to do reprehensible things, you don’t get an out because G*d or logic told you to (sorry, Abraham and Ayn Rand). In the end I don’t want someone telling me my experience is invalid because they have not had it, and I agree to not tell them that their lack of an experience is invalid, or worse yet means they are going to some sort of eternal punishment. Further I agree that I cannot use my personal religious experience solely as a basis for making laws, or judging the merits of a scientific theory.I learn so much from my friends over on the Atheist channel. I love to see how other people can experience the world in a rich and meaningful way, yet very different from my own. It has opened up my eyes to a world that my fundamentalist upbringing lead me to believe couldn’t exist.

  • R Vogel

    Thank you, Marcus. The description of your journey closely mirrors the journey I find myself on, although there are many things I am still wrestling with. It is comforting to know that there is a third way – there was no choice but to abandon the what I know judge as childish fundamentalist religion of my youth, but replacing it with nothing does not seem satisfactory. Even if it is only a G*d-delusion, it is a strong one, and one that seems to real to me to ignore.

  • http://meafar.blogspot.com/ Bob MacDonald

    Here’s another brief meditation on this post stimulated also by Psalm 76. http://meafar.blogspot.ca/2013/10/the-survival-of-fittest.html

  • Guest

    Tying in with the resurrection discussion going on right now between Marcus Borg and tony jones, what mystics can never get across to people like Jones is how much vaster, intense, certain, deeper, saturated, and in every sense of the word REALER than ordinary experience mystical awareness is. Ordinary consciousness is where the ground of being is for them, not for us. I have never, for example, heard anyone say what I believe- that a physical resurrection, in and of itself, would not have been enough to birth the church. Decades later, under intense persecution and interrogation and suffering, eyewitness testimony and data perceived with the physical eye could be held up to question- even the experience of walking along the shore eating fish with Jesus would fade. The knowledge of the living Christ seen with the eye of the heart does not fade! Sure, you can go in afterwards and rack your brain trying to figure out how THIS reality fits in THAT Reality- but That Reality can never be questioned by anything in everyday rationality. It is simply too Real.

    So even if Jesus’ cadaver were involved with the resurrection, talking with it would be no where near enough to release the spiritual energy that the church released, or be able to bring its members the peace that passes understanding- for that you need to touch a reality that goes beyond the boundaries of this world. Zombie sightings and ghost hunts can’t do that.

  • Josh Magda

    To tie in with the resurrection discussion going on right now between Marcus Borg and Tony Jones, what mystics can never seem to be able to get across is how much vaster, intense, certain, deeper, saturated, and in every sense of the word REALER than ordinary experience mystical awareness is. Ordinary consciousness is not where the ground of being is for the mystic. For instance, I have never heard anyone say the following: that a physical resurrection, in and of itself, would not have been enough to birth the church. Decades later, under intense persecution and interrogation and suffering, eyewitness testimony and data perceived with the physical eye could be held up to question, and even the experience of walking along the shore eating fish with Jesus would fade. But the knowledge of the living Christ seen with the eye of the heart does not fade! Sure, you can go in afterwards and rack your brain trying to figure out how THIS reality fits into THAT Reality- but the truth of that Reality can never be dismissed by anything in everyday rationality; it is simply too real.

    Even if Jesus’ cadaver were involved with the resurrection, simply encountering it would be nowhere powerful enough to release the spiritual energy that the church released in the wake of the Resurrection experiences. Nor does a physical Resurrection bring the peace that passes understanding, as is evident from the repeated discussions about, as Marcus often says, something that may or may not have happened concerning a reality that may or may not exist. The Church didnt survive, and can’t survive, on that kind of reality- for that we must deeply touch a Love that goes beyond the mind. Zombie sightings and ghost hunts can’t do that.

    Indeed, it is the perceived need to sacrifice at modernity’s altar that causes us to perpetually doubt the truth of our experience, wonderfully layed out for us by the lively old Protestant hymn:

    He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
    He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
    He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart.
    You ask me how I know He lives…
    He lives… within…
    My heart!

  • Pofarmer

    would like to hear more about these mystical experiences. Thing is, you seem to be trying to have it all ways here. You admit that God doesn’t intervene, but then insist that God is always present. You admit that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, but insist that Jesus is also eternally present in our lives. At some point, you will realize that this is all in your head. The reason that there are Gods, and many of them, is that it is a crutch to understand what we can’t explain. The reason that many religions, but, especially the Christian religion, has endured, is that up until about 200 years ago, you could be killed for merely disagreeing publicly with it’s tenants. Being an open atheist can still be cause for shunning today. In progressive Christianity I see a mish mash that is almost as incomprehensible as Catholicism. This or that didn’t happen, but this or that other is Dogma, so it must be accepted that it happened. I think this logical failing, is what is going to drive more and more people out, even as some religions are trying to be more accommodating. The more you admit isn’t real, or true, the more everything comes under scrutiny. You might also consider, that the plurality of mystical experiences across cultures and religions has less to do with God and more to do with Humanity.

    • Josh Magda

      God is something that is not separate from humanity for the mystic. Humanity is part of what God is, and vice versa. What is fantasy is supernatural theism, not God and not the World. And fantasy can have a healthy role to play in our lives as well. But supernatural theism has become the most effective means of preventing people from experiencing divine immanence, God in this world, and transcendence, this world in God, because we are indeed lost in our conceptual configurations given our civilizational allegiance to the god of supernatural theism. This conceptual god has largely become a non sequitur for understanding What Is.

      • Pofarmer

        So, now we’re in the realm of the simply mystical? A conversation between yourself and Sam Harris would be interesting.

  • Marshall

    Why doesn’t for example providing a vision to Paul (or to yourself) count as a divine intervention? I mean, there would be detectable physical events associated with it … activation of the visual cortex that would show on an MRI or suchlike. And Paul’s vision certainly altered the course of history.

    If God DOESN’T intervene, then what distinguishes “true religion” from “psycho-sociological trickery”?

    … and BTW string theory and the multiverse and so on are speculative, but they are not at all anti-scientific or trans-physical; they are an attempt to get to “the next turtle down” … to ground our current understanding of cosmology in something deeper, in the same way that Biology is grounded in Chemistry.

  • Gene Stecher

    As I have tried to say several times throughout these conversations, Paul set out the reality of the Jesus/Christ experience quite clearly. One may but need not label it as mystical or anything else. It simply is personal experience in which it becomes clear that spirit-faith/trust-fruits is a higher value than flesh-law-works. And spirit-faith/trust-fruits is cherished by Reality. As a representative of Reality, the parables and aphorisms and trust of Jesus point us to the spiritual fruits, against which there is no law. All of this could be, but need not be characterized as the intervention of an objectified deity, but it is the discovery of Reality.

  • David Elliott

    Well, my friend, I don’t understand why you employ your critical abilities when considering providential issues and discard them when considering the existence of God. If your object is to affirm the existence of God, then you will always find a way to do so; however, as Freud observed many years ago, this sort of wishful thinking hardly qualifies as scholarship. Your reason for knowing is your own untested experience? All sorts of people have claimed all sorts of things based on this sort of “reasoning.”

    • Josh Magda

      Rationality of the kind you speak of is one tool in humanity’s epistemological toolbox. There has been a dialectic between religious experience and reason going on for millennia that many of humanity’s greatest minds and hearts have participated in; it is actually a rather intellectually unsophisticated stance to discard all human experience that you cannot manage to stuff in the tiny suitcase of the modern worldview. The mountains of experiential data are still there to contend with once you have finished your arbitrary and prejudicial negations.

  • David Elliott

    So, we are into name calling, it would seem. The “tiny suitcase of the modern world view,” as you call it, is the intellectual engine that has fueled human progress for at least two thousand years, but it does not exhaust human understanding. I would never say it does. Definitions, which are by their very nature arbitrary, and propositions of value, which require us to make judgements, constitute a significant portion of the human conversation and give meaning to our lives. But it seems to me that propositions of fact, such as, “There is a God,” that cannot be verified in any reliable way, are suppositions at best and should neither be affirmed nor denied. I am with David who is reputed to have said, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” My instincts, and my hopes, tell me there is a God and I believe it would be foolish to say he/she/it does not exist, but in all honesty, I don’t know this to be the case, so I feel obliged to remain agnostic on this question. And I would never assert that God exists based upon my own subjective feelings. That kind of subjective stance would open the door to all kinds of nonsense and would oblige me to accept the experiential claims of all of my fellow humans, no matter how absurd they might be.

    • kwdayboise

      You may have found, as I have, that those people who are very rational aren’t as open to metaphor in explanations. And yet, rather than “name-calling”, a “tiny suitcase of the modern world” seems and apt description even from a scientific perspective. How else would you describe in few words a scientific worldview that seeks to describe the world in the most reduced mathematical terms, avoiding superstition, bias, and mythology? And yet, as someone clearly read in science, you’re surely aware that reductionism doesn’t exist without criticism even within the scientific community.

  • anselm13

    My likely not too unique journey is one of growing up as an evangelical free methodist with some fundamentalist notions to having my faith challenged and my mind opened in college through great professors (particulary religion). From there I moved away gradually from faith through authors like John Shelby Spong to agnosticism then atheism for 5-7 years (as a layman I learned alot from Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind which contributed to my atheism). Eventually I began to come back to an appreciation of religion through religion naturalists: first Ursula Goodenough, then heavily Loyal Rue (particularly his books Everybody’s Story and Religion is not About God). I then started learning about the depth and diversity of the Christian Tradition and Christian Spirituality starting slowly with people like yourself, N.T. Wright, Rowan Williams, G.K. Chesteron, Annie Dillard, Dorothy Soelle, Jean Vanier, and then some of the emerging folk like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and Scot McKnight. The Heart of Christianity was and is an invaluable book on my journey and I thank you for it! I’ve now returned in the past three years in a significant way to the faith of my youth but have a more generous orthodoxy (thank you Brian McLaren) and resonate with a deep engagement with the beliefs and practices of the entire Christian tradition. I identify with the paleorthodoxy of Thomas Oden and though progressive myself, my interest is in Christian reconciliation within the bounds of the traditional creedal consensus: Nicene, Apostolic, Athanasian. On this matter, the orthodoxy described by Ross Douthat on pages 9-12 of his book Bad Religion is very compelling to me. Sorry for all the names. I think it just helps trace my journey.

    It’s interesting how you do not place yourself in the modernist camp, as I think you are sometimes placed there because of what is perceived as a “demythologizing” on your part. I do imagine you are more complicated than that and I think I get a sense for what you say here in how you once found yourself there, but now do not. However, your analysis of the modern world view’s impact on fundamentalists and on secularists seems too sweeping if you are implying that someone like Mariyln McCord Adams is a modernist or if that is the case for many of the Christian mystics you reference because they believed God actually acted in history through the incarnation and physical/material resurrection of Jesus the Christ. And that you equate the importance/centrality of the creation pre-history stories with the resurrection seems unsound. I think it is clear that Augustine affirmed the bodily ressurection of Jesus and a figurative interpretation of Genesis in his “The Literal Interpretation of Genesis”, and obviously he predates the Enlightenment.

    Finally, your theological aversion to divine action does not vindicate God from being implicated in evil and suffering in my view. From that perspective, it makes God uninvolved out of a sense of fairness, but God still instantiated a universe where horrendous evils occur and allows them to occur unabated. I prefer to avoid a movement away from God’s action in history through Jesus of Nazareth and I think your view is sometimes accused of being modern because it seems to resist mystery and paradox. I have no clear solution to the question of God’s action in the world, and the degree to which God acts through processes he initiated in the beginning and continues to sustain and ways he continues to work in his creation through people, institutions, and the natural world. But because of this ambiguity I am not prepared to surrender divine action. I think much is gained by a literal resurrection. In fact I think it provides more nourishment in the face of evil then attempts to vindicate God by denying divine action. I submit that Marilyn McCord Adams’s Christ and Horrors is as good a submission as any in response to the problem of evil and the need for a literal bodily resurrection for Christ to be an ultimate “horror-defeater”.

  • David Tinker

    I like Marcus Borg and find his books eminently reasonable. I am also a follower of Jesus in that I find the teachings of Christianity on sharing, love and justice compellingly attractive. Having said that I think Prof. Borg is off the mark in this post. First, if we can invalidate belief in an interventionist God by the much more frequent instances of non-intervention, why are mystical experiences not invalidated by the much more frequent absence of such experiences? Second, the experiences and witnesses he draws on for authority are exclusively Christian. What about the equally abundant mystical experiences of non Christians, for example Siddhartha Gautama and the millions of followers of Buddhism for whom the concept of God is meaningless, or the followers of the Bahai faith for whom The Bab is the universal personification of divine experience? Finally, having being subjected in my youth to four years of Basilian divines beating the dead horse of Summa Theologica, I would probably not include Thomas Aquinas in my personal list of spiritual heroes!

  • kwdayboise

    In my Catholic faith the mystical experience is described and even taught in some depth, but, like jazz, seems to be one of those things you only truly understand as an insider and not from without. As such, the experience often brings grief and suspicion to the person experiencing it. Even in this century (or, perhaps, especially) many with a mysticall bent are censured or driven out of the church. One thing I can say from brief brushes with it is that it does confirm a perception that there is a presence underlying existence, and while it’s very loving is also just there, not pushing or pulling or interfering, just open. Most modern miracles are … miraculous … but matters of chance rather than intervention. Even if they were guided by some invisible hand, the last thing one would want to do is insert ego to say “God thinks I’m special or needs me”. The world would improve greatly if we would just be miracles and invisible hands for others.

    • Gene Stecher

      “Mystical experience…does confirm a perception that there is a presence underlying existence.”

      It is certainly more important for the mystics to share this insight than to keep it to themselves. However, it is personally limited to the fortunate few. My point is that the Spirit-Trust-Fruits orientation is available to the experience of anyone who understands the shortcoming of flesh-law-works. That’s why I see it as the central Jesus-follower experience. And it remains unscathed by ancient, medieval, modern, or post-modern world views.

      • kwdayboise

        I agree totally. With the blessing of electronic publishing I’ve been finding a wealth of books, many out of print or painfully expensive in hardback, that try to collect writings of the Christian mystics and make rational sense. In some ways it’s the complete opposite of the goal of mystical experience — to stop intellectualising and just experience — but they also help understand some of the common pitfalls of the journey. Many have written, but the language can be obscure or dated. I’m always struck, however, how the Christian mystics often sound like the Buddhists sounding like the Sufis sounding like the Hindus.

  • Robert Hunt

    A worldview that does not accept the possibility of God as a direct cause of events, which is certainly “modern,” has two problems. First it is irrationally self-limiting in its understanding of the Divine in an unnecessary effort to preserve human autonomy. And secondly it is increasingly irrelevant to both Christians and non-Christians. The effort of modernity to exile the Divine to the realm of mystical experience, an effort that many theologians have collaborated in willingly, ultimately creates a God relevant only to a tiny minority of psychological and intellectual adepts. It has created what has been justifiably called a “stillborn” God who is worthless in the face of human need and unworthy or worship.

    • ortcutt

      There is a problem with the active conception of God, however, in that there isn’t a shred of evidence that any such being exists. Non-existence also makes a conception worthless in the face of human need and unworthy of worship.