Anglican Samizdat

April 25, 2009

Substituting tolerance for truth

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 4:12 pm
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The person who wrote this is retired from a job as hired help for a certain denomination; guess which one (it begins with “A”):

Something far more radical and painfully sacrificial is needed if we are to ever engage meaningfully. We need to bring about a world of mutual, outward-going respect, a warmth that far surpasses mere tolerance. And I think here of kenosis, or self-emptying.

Traditionally the term has been used to denote the process whereby God empties himself of his divinity in order to experience the reality of our humanity. But in eastern orthodoxy and the writing of the mystics it refers more to a fresh spiritual beginning, a cleansing of our negative thought patterns so that we slough off all resentment, mistrust, prejudice and exclusivity, leaving the soul free for divine love to pour in.

The compassion and acceptance generated by this soul-purging would undoubtedly bring to birth a new era in inter-faith relationships. It would enable us to understand that truth is elusive and imprecise, and not the prerogative of any one religion, and it would allow us to see that all bigotry and fanaticism is anti-God.

If you guessed Anglican, you were correct. The writer, David Bryant is a retired Anglican vicar who is obviously uncomfortable with the proposition that Christianity is true while other religions are not: to think in such a way is fanatical and bigoted – just like St. Paul and the other apostles.

With the benefit of 2000 years of Christian thought to draw on, Rev. David Bryant has concluded “that truth is elusive and imprecise”; after all, what is truth?

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1 Comment

  1. “truth is elusive and imprecise”

    Including this statement?

    When people like Bryant question “truth”, they are usually referring to someone else’s beliefs. Not their own, pet “truths”, of which they are absolutely certain.

    Comment by Ellie M. — April 26, 2009 @ 1:03 pm


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