Sunday, July 17, 2005

A First Draft is Due Monday

So, I entered college, right? And I knew it was going to involve more writing, right? Right. So I have a Descartes-related paper due on Monday. It'll be quite interesting when it's finally finished. But right now I've barely managed to get past my paraphrase of his Evil Demon hypothesis (admittedly, at 500/1200 words, that's a pretty big chunk of the paper, and the work I did today brings it to just a bit under 800. Which leaves a bit over 400, ideally, for tomorrow. So far I'm thinking I'm going to do well in my summer classes, but I'm betting that whatever the letter grade is I'll do better in Theology than in Philosophy.

BTW, I've now missed two days total of blogging (those who say I've missed more, note that I am counting the early AM hours of days as my posts for the previous day. So this is Saturday's post, even though it's currently 12:10 AM Sunday.)

I wonder if there's anything from my old writings I could dig up...well, no, because those are on the other computer. Still, I have to say something. Or do something. Or contend something. That's what I do with this blog. I contend things and challenge things which, to me, seem to be untruthful or theologically bad. I suppose I should give a paragraph and better give my argument against pluralism (for those of you who want to know, that argument was first given in
this post, and in retrospect was more of a complaint about a double-standard.)

The new argument:

Pluralism and exclusivism both set up certain standards, ideals we may say, in relation to the word "tolerance." However it is my purpose to show that while exclusivism meets its own definition of tolerance, pluralism by definition does not meet its total, complete ideal of tolerance--there must be an exception to its rule. The exclusivist's ideal of tolerance is simple: While I believe truth is exclusive and certainly cannot reconcile my beliefs with the disparate beliefs of my neighbor (e.g. a Christian system and a Buddhist system) I will respect my neighbor's right to his belief, and, should some moral principle or ritual action seem to be thought of in the Buddhist system than in the Christian system, I shall adapt it and make it part of my belief insofar as it is compatible with Christianity. This is my take on exclusivism--I like to call it "tolerant exclusivism." Really, the only part of the definition that is really central is the part be fore "and, should I see"--the last part is something I embrace, but I do not believe that all reasonable exclusivists are bound to it.

The pluralist's ideal of tolerance is as follows: I will presume that truth is relative in order that the beliefs of all may be reconciled, and, should I see something that seems to be better thought of in another system of belief than in mine, I will adapt it and make it part of my belief without regard to any conflict between the two systems. This is what I call "tolerant pluralism." However, once we consider the implications of such a system, we see that it does not meet its stated ideal. There is one idea which pluralism is bound to reject, because it prevents the presumption that truth is relative: exclusivism. Therefore pluralism, to be honest, must have an addition to its definition of tolerance which makes it known that "all beliefs may be reconciled save those of an exclusivist nature." From these two paragraphs flow two essential points:

1. Tolerant exclusivism meets its own standard of tolerance--its definition of tolerance allows people to believe whatever they want.
2. Tolerant pluralism can never meet it own standard of tolerance, if this standard is to be the same as in its original, ideal form--its revised definition of tolerance allows people to believe whatever they want, so long as it does not contradict the idea that truth is relative.

Given the way the systems work even with themselves, tolerant exclusivism seems the natural choice. Of course it does not sound as good as far as ideals go. Pluralism is very appealing because it seems to foster dialogue and coming together and other wonderful things. But we see in discussion of its implications that the ideal of pluralism, seeming to be "too good to be true," really is.

It is worth noting that some will notice that exclusivism is often, even by tolerant exclusivist standards, quite intolerant. Those who are intolerant exclusivists find themselves automatically placed outside of the realm of reasonable exclusivist action by default; this meaning that, if we are to force others to believe what we believe in order that they be "saved," we really have no guarantee that they are saved, because they have been forced into their "salvation" by the sword, or the law, or whatnot. Therefore while it is good to remind the exclusivist of his/her potential intolerance--keeping him/her on his/her toes--it does not in and of itself make a good critique of exclusivism to say that it pushes some to intolerance.

God bless you all, and good night.

1 comment:

nana said...

tolerance is relative term. do you really think anyone can be totally tolerant? Or did I miss that point totally?