OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

America, pharisees and debate

America, pharisees and debate

As a European… I found Alario’s comments, concerning the prevailing assumption of American imperialism and of the presence other equally or maybe even more repugnant aspects of the world system, to be a helpful balance. (I refer to a general prevalence, without reference to Bob’s article.) It struck me as a thoughtful piece of writing and far from being a knee-jerk reaction.

In contrast, Bob’s response - seemingly posted just three hours after Alario’s posting - seems to be exactly that. I hope he will, on reflection, also take the opportunity to re-read Alario’s comment’s, as he requests Alario to do in respect of his article. For reason’s less than obvious, Bob seems annoyed that someone would differ from his point of view and imply that to do so was out of place, that his message was, after all, primarily for a different audience: “all the young people at FBC.”

Bob, once you place your views onto a site like this, it’s up there for public debate - as a point of view - and, hard as it is, any contributor needs to be ready for those who put forward a different point of view.

Interestingly, the Jewish rabbinical method of learning is called midrash, meaning “search” and is based upon a particular form of debate: a debate, in which every participant is asked to contribute their point of view. The debate moves forward with an emphasis on understanding the other’s point of view, rather than any attempt at harmony, consencus or agreement, let alone the dominance of the teaching rabbi’s point of view (as is the tendency of hellenistic methods of learning). Following the debate it is up to each individual to decide what they perceive to be the “truth.” This method produces a vigourous form of discussion and debate, in which there is little incentive for taking other’s thoughts in a personal way. (It is mainly because of this method of debate that it is said (by Jews!) that if you have two Jews discussing a subject, you will find at least three or four opinions!!)

On the other hand, returning to the issue of the USA, Alario summarises:

I must say this whole tired notion of American Imperialism, American arrogance and a hostility towards the United States hiding behind a veneer of christian spirituality is rather disgusting.

Perhaps we ought to examine ourselves with a critical spiritual eye and pick the logs out of it before we take on the sins, past, present and future, of an entire nation?

While personally, I have some sympathy for this viewpoint, I think it is probably naive to hope that the world’s most powerful nation will not continue to attract harsh, unbalanced and unfair criticism. It is, perhaps, a factor of “to whom much is given much will be demanded,” however, it is a useful reminder that Christian veneers of all kinds are much more transparent than we ususally realise!

Shalom!
 John

Profoundly Disturbed on the Fourth of July (Redux): God, the Flag and the End of America By: Bob Hyatt (13 replies) 25 June, 2004 - 00:24