Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steel Ceiling

Huff Post today....

Gina Welch's, In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church,

This book looks fascinating. I couldn't resist homing on one sentence in particular:

"Why would they open themselves up to influence from a culture that made no space for their beliefs?"

This closely echoes The Ken's position on religion and spirituality. My good friend Daniel reminded me of the term Steel Ceiling describing this situation. Traditionalist religion has no place to grow up into. For an individual to grow into a rational world-view they have little choice but to leave their religion. The forces of modernist rationality reject religion as mythic nonsense and the traditionalist religions reject modernism as satanic devolution and godlessness. The battle lines are drawn. Ms. Welch crossed the front lines in disguise to bring back tales of her traditional enemy and finds that, guess what, they are human beings who are far more thoughtful, reflective, and diverse than she, a Berkely educated atheist, would have given them credit for.

This is why I have little patience for Hitchens and company. They are still fighting a battle that modernism has clearly won. They are shooting fish in a barrel. Surely there is something else they can do with those big brains?

Granted, there may be a valid role for them, but this tone seems to dominate the conversation between the traditional world and the modern world. We have to find constructive ways to let the faithful grow into rationality without having to reject their religion. This is The Ken's opinion on it, and I pretty much buy it. I think Ms. Welch has done a very good thing.


  1. It occurs to me that while a rationalist can participate and view the faithful, the traditionalist cannot participate in the modernists' world. A traditionalist's view of the modern world is necessarily kept to first person viewpoint, while a rationalist can use second and first person viewpoints to understand the traditionalist's world.

    I say this because it seems to me that a traditionalist would forever be changed if their ability to view second person unfolds while touring the modernists' world. Wouldn't that bring them into rationality?

    OTOH, faith is not the sole domain of the traditionalist IMO. Unfortunately, the only way that is known in a larger scope to become rational is to break with faith and leave the stories behind.

    What can we do to leave the stories intact, the faith unbroken, and the relationship with Spirit unbereft of the anger that is so like a teen realizing that the parent is not all-knowing and all-powerful?

  2. Yes, and maybe you should clarify about 1p, 2p, and 3p as in our offline conversation. :)

    I think you've given a great description of the Steel Ceiling. The notion that faith is not the sole domain of the traditionalist is at the heart of what I'm talking about.

  3. I was referring to objective perspectives, not subjective. For instance, a person who is in 3p can only really objectively see 2p and 1p. They are subjective to 3p and cannot disengage from taking things personally in 3p (which is ironic, I know ;).

    So 2p and 1p are tools for the modernist and a traditionalist can only use and manipulate 1p.


  4. Yes, perfect.

    "Where's that confounded bridge?"


Please keep it civil, folks.