Now for some more godless ramblings...
Since Silly Sally and her acolytes object to my godless attention to Tiber-Swimmer Robert Koons, perhaps it's time to return to that article in which Koons was training for his swim.
But maybe you didn't know about my godlessness? Well, first from Silly Sally (aka Harvard Man):
I "sense" a thin coat of religious profession behind the surface of Gypsy Scholar's heart, hiding the inside from view; ... I sense ungodliness alive beneath.Next, from Silly Sally's anonymous acolyte:
Maybe, there is a huge resevoir of ungodliness underneath that religious exterior.I don't know quite when my 'religiosity' became an issue since I've neither focused on my private views nor ever suggested that I possess any special sanctity. I guess that I'm nevertheless a hypocrite because if I discuss religious issues, then I'm presenting myself as religious but must be pretending because I won't reveal my personal religious views in detail. But as I once told Silly Sally, I'm not interested in discussing my personal faith online with her, for I don't trust her -- nor do I know that I can trust all of the hundreds of people visiting my blog daily. Anonymous Acolyte is a fine example of why I shouldn't reveal too much of myself online, for The Acolyte -- being unsure of how to attack me spiritually -- attacks my 'priggishness' instead:
You are a prig using his own arbitrary standard as a hammer of malice against a unique personality. You can call your Procrustean bed simple blog propriety. But, to others it looks like mean spirited priggery. Discerning inspection reveals Sally to be quite proper.Anonymous Acolyte was defending Silly Sally's right to self-expression of this sort:
Sonagi, You Buddha-bitch ex-Mormon niggard.That was Silly Sally's 'humorous' (I suppose) response to Sonagi's criticisms. I reckon that I should be grateful to Silly Sally and The Acolyte for demonstrating to me the way, the truth, and the life through their own online behavior. But their pseudonymous and anonymous status leaves me wondering to whom I should be so grateful for such scriptural forthrightness and spiritual courage.
But let's turn again to Robert Koons, who avoids ad hominem and signs his own name to his words. Here, speaking still as a Lutheran -- in the pdf file of his "Lutheran's Case for Roman Catholicism" (July 13, 2006) -- he makes an intriguing analogy between Lutheran views and Gnostic ones concerning the nature of the body:
The Lutheran conception of glorification embodies a kind of Gnosticism, wrongly identifying our sinfulness with our physical bodies. Lutheran theologians assume that the death of our mortal bodies will, all by itself, free us forever from the propensity to sin, as though sin's reality in our lives is grounded entirely in our physical aspects. In fact, Paul uses the word 'flesh' (sarx) to refer to aspects of our lives that are entirely mental, intellectual and spiritual in nature (such as envy or pride). If our soul is still 'fleshly' at death, the mere separation of that soul from our bodies will not suffice to correct its disordered state: a process of purification after death will be required.Why does Koons say this? Because in his studied opinion:
The core of the Lutheran position then, seems to be that this transformation [into a sanctified state] (i.e., our final glorification) must occur instantaneously and willy-nilly at the death of the believer -- that no active cooperation by us is involved. Lutherans in effect insist that sanctification has nothing to do with glorification -- we are all equally and immediately glorified at death, regardless of how far our sanctification has progressed, and this final step requires no cooperation or suffering on our part.In other words, once free of the corrupt, physical body, the Christian soul is instantly sanctified. Hmmm.... Well, Lutheranism isn't my tradition, so I can only accept (provisionally, anyway) what Koons has stated, but I confess that I have noticed a tendency in Protestant rhetoric toward a sort of Gnostic denigration of the world.
Take an example from Silly Sally's comments:
The world is ever the same; one huge mass of sin and ungodliness . . . . It must be you who are changed; it must be you who die to it. Now, is it not true that it is the meeting of the two worlds in one embrace, which gives the [outside] world all its power to ensnare and entangle your feet? . . . . Let the worldly spirit be but crucified in your breast, then you shall be like the dying man who has no sympathy with the living world. You will be transformed: transcendent orientated. You will gladly seek pie in the sky.Some of this I can agree with, but the concluding remark leaves me wondering. Pie in the sky? Lurks there here a quasi-Gnostic denigration of things physical, of an evil cosmos, of a hopelessly corrupt body?
I don't know, but rhetorically, Silly Sally's words indicate denigration of the world. My question partly turns on the ambiguity in the term "world." What is meant here? Is one not to enjoy things of the created world as gifts from God? Is life just one vale of tears, a painful pilgrimage through the shadow of death?
Or is one allowed to enjoy a fine wine -- maybe even, along with C.S. Lewis, an occasional pipeful of tobacco?