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Aug. 25th, 2006 | 11:42 pm
posted by: maybemonday in casual_order

"When I talked about these matters with Dillard in person, we discussed C.S. Lewis's notion that we must not go to nature to construct theology; she will fail us every time. Rather, we go to nature once we have our theology and let her fill the words -- awe, glory, beauty, terror -- with meaning."

What do you all think of this?

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All the Strange Hours

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from: mendaciloquent
date: Dec. 1st, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)

The first thing I think is that I find it strange that I just found Dillard for the first time, only a few days ago, and felt motivated to check this community for the first time in many months.

Lewis is right, in a way, but there's no easy or even good answer here. On the one hand, if we do go to nature for theology, we will come out of the forest with something that might capture something of nature's beauty, care, and dignity, but we will also return with something monstrous, cruel, and capricious. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing -- after all, men are cruel -- and a theological perspective that admits and incorporates this into our understanding of ourselves perhaps leaves us in a better place than one that can only think to banish our darkest parts.

On the other hand, if we do not go to nature, we are stuck with something artificial and removed from it. This is the tradition from which Christianity has sprung forth. I think here of Hegel's The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate. Any theological impulse which sets the source of its power as something apart from nature will, I think, be necessarily predisposed toward renouncing, exploiting, and possibly destroying it. In the attempt to purge ourselves from the monstrous, we end up creating yet another monster with a different face.

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