Saturday, October 18, 2008

Experience, Word, and Truth

In the comments to the review of Frank Schaeffer's Crazy for God, TS asked a series of excellent questions. I would say that the questions here pertain not just to that post but also to this one at Deep Furrows: the Catholic priesthood: an inversion of the ancient system of gurus and shamans.

Upon reflection, I guess I see that there needs to be a balance between experience and Christian ideas lived without experience.

Does God promise us experience? Does he ask us to act on our experience or on His Word?

The notion of intermediaries seems to suggest otherwise. I've often wondered why God did not just physically appear to every person individually and say, "Hey, I exist!".

God chose to reveal Himself to only Moses on the mountain. The people's experience of God was somehow derivative. Jesus chose only Peter, James & John to witness the Transfiguration. Isn't there a part of us that must be content with ideas without lived experience, i.e. obedience without understanding?

Since Christian ideas are true I'm not sure how without experience we are worse than worthless in espousing them. Surely we do tremendous harm in triumphalism and in turning off unbelievers. But isn't it better that a society be closer to truth?
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