Tearing Down the Temple

Reactions to reading the book of Romans

My Photo
Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

curator, Christian Quotation of the Day

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Romans 1:18-24. The Unholy City—II. Omniscience

One might argue that the City’s principle is omniscience, that it is pan-human and does not discriminate. Nothing within our experience is to be excluded from the comprehensive, biggest-available, online knowledgebase. Everything will be classified, organized, fetched on demand, each thing an object to be culled and placed beside other objects of the same class, a thing among other things—

like us.

But, this kind of indiscriminant omniscience, or better, omni-acceptance, is not a guiding principle: it demonstrates the lack of a guiding principle.

The documentation of a culture is a worthwhile undertaking, and the feedback of the great documents into the culture has produced the stabilizing impulses that have given Western culture direction and sometimes turned us aside from dangerous courses.

Today, that feedback loop is broken. The sheer volume of documentation is so staggering and the weight of it is so immense that the good inputs cannot be separated from the bad ones. There is no time to sort the inputs, and so, those that might redirect us are lost. Fifteen minutes is the maximum time allowed for any prophet to speak to us.

So, what would the prophets say to us were we to give them enough time? Would they speak to us about means and ends? Would they condemn our fixation on material wealth? Would they address our careless attitude towards things moral, things ethical, things spiritual, things mystical, things eternal? The trouble is, there are prophets and prophets, some true and some false: they do not all say the same thing. But, prophets can be treated the same way as anything else, that is, characterized, classified, filed, and brought up on a menu, to be chosen from among the available universe of prophets, like anything else in a marketplace.

The fact that I can choose the message I hear conceals the fact that there is no choice. All messages are given equal representation, but the principle for choosing has been hidden. In effect, the choices have all been made for me, and the machinery of spiritual slavery hides the mechanism of that slavery.



Post a Comment

<< Home