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Conflict over the conflict

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When my daughter was applying to college ten years ago, she asked if she should choose a school based on how it might affect her future employment. I told her, if that’s why she was thinking of college, perhaps she’d rather go to a trade school. Thankfully, she chose a liberal arts college.

The purpose of higher education is to open the minds of young adults, to make them ponder the world around them and their place in it, to think deeply about ideas, in fact to be made uncomfortable by ideas. After all, they are going to be disturbed by ideas for the rest of their lives. They have to figure out how to navigate ideas if they are to become critical thinkers, an important skill for any profession.

How do we navigate difficult issues? I first started thinking about this question when I was a young lawyer in Portland, Oregon, working on progressive cases (American Indian activists, the homeless, etc.), and then the 1982 war in Lebanon occurred. I joined the protests against Israel’s actions, but saw antisemitism expressed by some of my compatriots (claims about Jewish power, control of the media, and the like). And when I pushed back, it was impossible to have a reasoned conversation. I was, it was said, harming the Palestinian cause by referring to any antisemitism, even if I had a point.

What exactly makes having difficult discussions on third-rail issues, like this one, so difficult?

The answer, I believe, has a lot to do with how we as human beings think when our identity is challenged, particularly by things related to social justice or injustice, and most especially when there is conflict.

For the last twenty-five years I have been working to build the academic field of ‘hate studies.’ Hate studies is defined as ‘Inquiries into the human capacity to define, and then dehumanize or demonize, an ‘other,’ and the processes which inform and give expression to, or can curtail, control, or combat, that capacity.’

 

'I was concerned that each side was using the campus as a battlefield, where the goal was to chill, if not outright suppress, speech on the other side.'

 

This interdisciplinary field suggests that as human beings we are primed to see an ‘us’ and a ‘them.’ Our brains were formed millennia ago, when the group over the hill might be a danger. Evolutionary psychology, brain science, social psychology, and other fields tell us that our thinking changes when we see an ‘us’ and a ‘them.’ Flip a coin and divide a group into two, everyone knowing their selection was totally random. After each group forms an identity, it will think its members are brighter and more attractive. Our brains also crave simplicity, and binary thinking makes things simple — black and white, good and evil. Complexity can be exhausting, confusing, hard work.

When I teach a course on antisemitism, I start with readings about hate, because while antisemitism has its unique aspects, it isn’t as though it’s the only hatred in the world. Understanding how we see an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ and how we crave simple answers, especially when we perceive things going wrong in our lives, help my students understand how antisemitism works.

I found these lessons useful in other venues too. I’ve worked with Gonzaga University — a Jesuit school in Washington State — to establish a hate studies center there. A few years ago some friends from Gonzaga called me, perplexed. They were part of a community peace and justice group, and the local Jewish community was calling them antisemites, largely because the peace group’s website had a static page supporting the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. My friends wanted a way forward, so I helped both sides get together and spend a day studying, first about hate, then about antisemitism, then about the ‘conflict over the conflict.’ They emerged from that meeting with a vocabulary to speak across differences, and to find a way to work together in a community where Jews, progressives, and people of color are too often threatened by the white supremacists. They are still talking and learning from each other.

About the same time as that meeting in Spokane, I decided to write a book on the campus wars over Israel. I was concerned that each side was using the campus as a battlefield, where the goal was to chill, if not outright suppress, speech on the other side. Each side, at times, compared the other to Nazis. You wouldn’t have a conversation with Nazis, would you? So there were instances of trying to stop speakers coming to campus, for boycotts of Israeli academics, for use of law to stop teaching pro-Palestinian perspectives that some Israel supporters believed were antisemitic, but pro-Palestinian people saw as simple calls for equal rights and justice.

So I started out the book, before getting into the ‘conflict over the conflict,’ with a chapter drawn from hate studies, based in part on the successful discussion in Spokane. I called it ‘thinking about thinking,’ because I wanted the readers to be aware of how their thinking is informed by identity, views of ‘us and them,’ ideas of justice.  

The main point of the book is that the campus is really the ideal place to tackle such thorny issues. It is a safe place to examine all ideas, even — or perhaps especially — those that people find offensive or disturbing. The sad fact, though, is that there is a push these days to send the opposite message to students — that they should be shielded from intellectual discomfort. A college has an obligation to prevent its students from being harassed, intimidated, bullied, or discriminated against. But it must not shield its students from examining ideas, even clearly hateful ones. After all, if thousands or millions of people believe certain ideas, how do we learn how to combat them if we don’t study them?

 

'A college has an obligation to prevent its students from being harassed, intimidated, bullied, or discriminated against. But it must not shield its students from examining ideas, even clearly hateful ones.'

 

In my book I also highlight model courses that invite students to have the intellectual approach and emotional empathy to engage the different narratives around Israel/Palestine. One is a simulation class about the Peel commission in the 1930s, when the British had the mandate over the area, and they sent Lord Peel to speak to Jews and Arabs and figure out what was to be done. The students had to spend weeks faithfully representing a figure from that time — including the commissioners — in the simulations; and where possible they were given roles against type (a Muslim as a Jewish leader, an Israeli as the Mufti of Jerusalem). It was like sending students in a time machine, so they really engaged the complexities. The goal wasn’t to change their minds about the equities of the conflict, but to give them the ability to understand the other side’s point of view more realistically.

I also recommended full-semester interdisciplinary courses on antisemitism. From my experience teaching such a course, even students who have markedly different views on Israel/Palestine, by the time we reach the sections on Israel and Zionism, have a framework for discussing their different perspectives reasonably. Colleges should also offer incoming students exposure to ideas of free speech and academic freedom, so that they better appreciate the unique and important role of the educational process to explore ideas.

I spent a lot of money sending my children to college. That they are thoughtful and thinking and successful young adults is, in part, because of their college experiences, navigating issues that made them uncomfortable.

 

 

Kenneth S. Stern is the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate. His most recent book is The Conflict over The Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate (2020).

Main image: Protesters chant during a demonstration outside of Zellerbach Hall on the U.C. Berkeley campus in Berkeley, California. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Topic tags: Kenneth S Stern, Palestine, Israel, Antisemitism, Conflict, University, Hate, Dialogue, Complexity

 

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Existing comments

Christians are not allowed to hate sinners, and sin if they do.
However, Christians are allowed to disparage something as a 'sin' if it is truly a sin, although to do so is often perceived to be 'phobic'. At some stage, 'hate' studies notwithstanding, 'zeal for the Father's House' is going to be translated into direct action for
not to do so is to slide the matter under the carpet, because 'zeal for the Father's House' is a canonically allowed behaviour. When the truth is canonical, how can it be permanently negotiated down into a settlement of compromise?

You can argue that the Citipointe Christian College contracts in their zeal contained clumsy wording which led to theological ambiguity and the risk of inaccurate interpretation or that they were presented to parents too late to leave time to explain why they were necessary, but their intent to protect the Christian faith of adult and child members of the school by insisting that children should not affirm a homosexual identity and expect to remain in good standing with a Christian school is canonically
correct.


roy chen yee | 08 February 2022  
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Who said Citipointe 'Christian' College (a Pentacostal 'Heritage' Church' of the kind that Kenneth Stern will recognise as having been imported from the United States) is 'Christian', other than in terms of arrogation and self-approbation?

Where does it meet the 'liberal arts' standards that Stern elucidates at the commencement of his essay?

Given that the term 'Christian' is too amorphous to define one set of beliefs derived from the Judeo-Christian scriptures, in the context of an article printed in a Jesuit Magazine what anti-Jesuit and indeed anti-Christian or other sectarian values, either political or theological or even in his instance, gender-based, does he seek to import into this discussion?

Where indeed are the gender-based prohibitions, belonging within Roy's so-called 'magisterium', and tempered, if not blended with Christ's exhortations to 'Love our Enemies' and do good to those who harm us, fit into Stern's remarkable liberal arts curriculum?

Or is Roy actually opposing the entirety of Stern's proposition, saying it has no place in a Catholic view of the universe, which is instead properly intended to be suffused with Hate methodologies drawn from Leviticus, themselves imported from pre-historic Gilgamesh and Pyramid accounts?

Is the problem here, not Stern's, but Roy's theology?


Michael Furtado | 16 February 2022  

‘Who said Citipointe 'Christian' College…is 'Christian'’’

Your Church? If the pastors associated with the school baptise in the names of the persons of the Trinity, the baptisms they perform will be recognised by the Catholic Church.


‘Where does it meet the 'liberal arts' standards’

I don’t know what that label has to do with Christianity but I can’t see the school having much of a problem with the Ramsay Centre.


‘Given that the term 'Christian' is too amorphous to define one set of beliefs derived from the Judeo-Christian scriptures’

If the baptism is good enough for the Catholic Church, they are Christians. However, what does the amorphous phrase ‘liberal arts standards’ mean? Does it include cultural Marxism?


‘Where indeed do the gender-based prohibitions….fit into Stern's remarkable liberal arts curriculum?’

You mean, does Stern believe in female rabbis? If he practises Judaism and believes in a women rabbinate, he’ll no doubt encounter the same scepticism from his co- religionists in the different streams of Judaism that synodalists advocating women priests face from their co-religionists.


‘the entirety of Stern's proposition’

The entirety is to have a civil discussion. ‘Discussion’ does not include refusing to address a point you can’t answer (eg., the moral problem of the trophy child) because you’d rather do a song and dance with smoke and mirrors.


‘Is the problem here…theology?’

Odd question. This article has nothing to do with theology but about civil discussion.


roy chen yee | 16 February 2022  

With respect, your posts seldom correlate with the requirements of/for civil discussion. Here's why:

You consistently introduce elements relating to your view of a fixed Catholic magisterium. Thus, if Citipointe baptisms are recognised as valid by the Catholic Church, for you everything else they do is acceptable.

The Western canon, in History as much as in Literature, and which the Ramsay Centre promotes, has nothing to do with the Catholic Church, which has a neutral position about ACU's cynical but anti-intellectual decision to cave into the offer of a large bribe, in the view of many an amoral grab for money in return for promoting red-neck values.

Stern's raison d'etre is the precise opposite of anything advocated by Marxists or 'cultural marxism'.

Marxism is a conflict theory setting out to do the opposite of what Stern proposes, which is to promote a liberalism that privileges an understanding of tolerance.

Stern should know that what you really object to is this Jesuit magazine's firm policy to ensure that your homophobic remarks about 'trophy children', like all other hate speech, are firmly and categorically interrogated as I have consistently done in a journal committed to promoting the values of justice and peace.


Michael Furtado | 11 March 2022  

‘You consistently introduce elements relating to your view of a fixed Catholic magisterium.’

False. The magisterium evolves because Revelation unfolds. However, evolution is conjunctive, not disjunctive.

‘Thus, if Citipointe baptisms are recognised as valid by the Catholic Church, for you everything else they do is acceptable.’

Non sequitur. Ctitipointe-type Pentecostals might think the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon as other Pentecostals have been known to think.

‘The Western canon, in History as much as in Literature, and which the Ramsay Centre promotes, has nothing to do with the Catholic Church’

Actually, it keeps the Vatican safer than the Patriarch of Moscow who is under the thumb of a canon that isn’t Western.

‘an amoral grab for money in return for promoting red-neck values.’

The same ‘red-neck values’ which keep the Vatican safer than the Patriarch of Moscow?

‘Stern proposes, which is to promote a liberalism that privileges an understanding of tolerance.’

The purpose of liberalism and the willingness to hear other points of view is to understand where the truth may be. It’s not to be tolerant of untruths. 


roy chen yee | 02 April 2022  

Interesting coincidence that this article is presented on ES same day as "Rock the Boat" by Dr Clarke. If we put both positions in a blender and made a puree it'd be a fish milkshake of sorts. Perhaps we need to consider the temper and resilience of others before we embark on conversation (or conflagration) over potentially conflicting views. Too often we're chided with the miserable "if you're not with us you're against us"; in my way of thinking this is the equivalent of defending a poor argument by avoiding exploring the basis. Most of us will have opinions formed over a (life)time; some will be case-hardened and others more malleable but contrary views; the idea that Rock the Boat will float your boat is more about preaching to the "converted" than enlisting the impartial or actually converting an opposed thinker. It is equally likely the converted weren't ever changed to an opinion but amassed because of it. Flip a coin within a BLM or KKK rally and the divided groups similarities are unlikely to be the primary cause; the importance of numbers in mutually inclusive or exclusive groups becomes the consideration. If the coin toss selection resulted in unequal group numbers then we're examining majority/minority influences without selection criteria.


ray | 08 February 2022  
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You wrestle eloquently with the topic, Ray, but fail to conclude, because of the underlying fear that there is no such thing as a development towards something better, assuming momentarily that there's the status quo is an unhappy one.

Given that Kenneth Stern ventures only into those murky corners where angels fear to tread, are you really saying that such matters should be left alone, unaddressed for fear that they lead towards more strife: a sort of pragmatic acceptance of a status quo in which truth, rather than speaking to power, is best left unaddressed, or at least unsought after?

Could it be that Stern raises a deeper question, one more profound and, in a sense less contestational than of one side winning and the other, inevitably, slinking away to plan a come back or revenge?

If so, such a victory would indeed not be worth having and should properly be 'counted against' the numbers of dead on the battlefield.

But what if Stern actually alludes to the kind of personal and spiritual growth that 'transcendeth all rational understanding'? What if` he refers to 'metanoia': a change of heart, involving all sides, with no losers but only winners all around?


Michael Furtado | 17 February 2022  

Michael, there are a few key factors to consider in matters of conflict and persuasion for both the protagonist and the opponent as a potential convert, depending on the nature of the argument. My concern is the perceived necessity to garner another "convert" to a cause; is the primacy valid and why does the group need more numbers? There's no Two Legs Matter movement because it is undisputed. Similarly, person of color is unlikely to disagree with BLM; I'd suggest it's a form of conscription. In years gone by it was acceptable to refer to persons to be described as "of a particular persuasion"; perhaps refuted today, but the notion was because of a person's nature it was plausible they'd think or act accordingly. Some will align with a cause because they have a common opponent. #MeToo should be by rationale exclusive but there's many supporters who aren't victims. Consider the mercenary (n & adj) who really has no purpose to enlist but can take advantage of being a part of the wider group. Most people tune into WII-FM (What's In It For Me); in your Elysium dreams of everyone thinks they "win" who evalutes what was lost or if they really possessed title?


ray | 18 February 2022  

Nice try, Ray; but you are wrong again in saying that most persons of colour would support BLM. The largest group of persons of colour on the Globe are Asians, who have manifestly shown themselves to be neutral towards, if not conservatively opposed to BLM, especially in those polities, such as the US and UK, in which Asians are safely counted as being among the most conservative and, one might say, politically individualistic (by which I mean self-serving) sectors of the overall polity. In fact, and with respect, its clear to me that most of them, placing their personal interests above those of group solidarity and a broader commitment to righting social and historical wrongs, would, join you in opposing me. Thus do non-inclusive Whites and Blacks often coalesce to oppose the inclusive impulses of authors of an article like this, because their world views are fixated on individual advantage factors rather than those that enhance the common good (and which precisely supports the WIIFM phenomenon that you misapply). Of course, where your analysis falls further apart is that you typecast all people of colour in this regard, while the evidence points to their 'shut the gates behind me' position.


Michael Furtado | 11 March 2022  

Both the Holocaust and the partition of Palestine were violent and have had severe, long term consequences: one the heinous murder of 6 million Jews, the other the displacement of numerous Palestinians from their homes and their long term exile, mostly in Arab countries which don't want them and use them as political football. The policy of the current Israeli government towards the Palestinians is not good, but the actions of the undemocratic Palestinian governments do not help. This is definitely a 'hot' issue. Antisemitism in Western Christian societies has a long history which has often resulted in violence, pogroms and worst of all, the Holocaust. The demographics of the USA have changed, with a much larger Muslim population than Jewish one. Much that is said about the Middle East is incorrect. This Muslim/Jewish conflict in the States can lead to violence. Ditto the current dreadful white/black situation. I can understand your concern with hate speech, Professor Stern. It inevitably leads to violence.


Edward Fido | 09 February 2022  
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There is no Muslim-Jewish conflict in the States, Edward. As one who has been there I can safely say that there is, as you rightly touch upon, a Zionist/anti-Zionist conflict in which many educated and liberal Jews are on the anti-Zionist side.

Similarly, there is no 'white/black situation', whatever you may mean by this. Middle-class African-Americans, like the Obamas, Vice-President Kamala Harris, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and UN Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, are widely respected and accepted in those echelons of educated and human rights respecting White American society in which race and its scandalously disproportionate underbelly of poverty are fully understood as well as constitute the basis of a more just and equitable politics that some disenfranchised Whites object to.

It is surely Kenneth Stern's objective to advance awareness, respectful discussion and attendant remediation in regard to such a thing, instead of the beat-up that Armageddonists on this site - no different to those that Dr Stern encounters in the States - choose to import in their stern objections to the publication of his solicitous research concerns, itself consequent upon Eureka Street's open and courageous policy in promoting his important work.

Tragically, that's their loss!


Michael Furtado | 27 February 2022  

A center for the study of hate? I don't get it! Either the world or me is going mad! We human beings are as we are, as we were created. That is the truth for the believers. Maybe there should be a center for love - better still combine the two as one.


john frawley | 09 February 2022  
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But isn't 'love' what Kenneth Stern promotes, John; or is your concern only with semantics?


Michael Furtado | 16 February 2022  

‘A center for the study of hate?’

As in whether, Sin being the reason why we’re all here as we are, the Church has a Congregation for the Propagation of Faith as opposed to, say, a Congregation for Defence against Sin?

It could be argued that when ‘sin’ is treated as an analytical subset of ‘faith’ instead of as a phenomenon in its own right, you’ll have a glossing over of sin in favour of nice phrases such as ‘breaches of trust’, as used in a nice church west of the Brisbane Central Business District, where nuns are known to try and call down the Spirit like dewfall from the pews.

The naming of major Vatican departments of state not being a canonical issue, one might say that to study sin in its own right will deliver a clarity similar to the studying of hate as a phenomenon in its own right and not as an analytical subset of something else such as indifference or even love.


roy chen yee | 20 February 2022  

The word 'Phobia' has suffered a change in meaning. Originally it meant fear, as in scotophobia, fear of darkness. Now it often means hate, as Islamophobia. And it is used accusingly. Hence so much confusion.


William John Burston | 09 February 2022  
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So are you saying, William, that to address or combat or study 'fear' as a means of mitigating the impact of reactions derived from expressions and action arising out of fearful experiences are not worth tampering with, examining, dissipating or confronting?


Michael Furtado | 16 February 2022  

Good observation, William; it opens the conversation to if the fear or hate is rational or unfounded. One can have an "irrational" fear of heights; standing on a chair to change a light bulb is fine, just like abseiling a cliff... until it goes wrong. I guess there are a few spinal injury cases who thought differently, you don't hear about acrophobes falling because they don't take the risks due to an innate fear. The implication of xxx-phobia in today-speak is that the phobic is either or both hateful or irrational; it is a judgemental terminology too frequently used to frame an accusation or make a character smear. "Xenophobes" are alleged to be irrational or hateful to make a case in summary but as you observe it may be a personal fear, not necessarily a point of advocating to hate-speech. I'd ask what duty of care those who admonish phobics offer if the fear becomes material; I estimate none. "Am I my brother's keeper...?"


ray | 16 February 2022  

And the answer to Ray's question is, 'Yes; one is!' because, depending on the issue, one would be demonstrating a lack of due care if one didn't take the time and trouble to investigate.

Neutrality's a fine position but not at all costs, and certainly not because of the fastidiousness of some to prefer public speaking especially when the context demands urgent action.

One thinks here of the issue of rape or child assault and the many years of making it impossible for victims to come forward, a history that has emerged in recent years to properly shame those accustomed to responding to claims of injustice with no more than a polite sheep's cough.

Wasn't it seemliness rather than cowardice that was the undoing of the guy who declined to intervene while his wife and kids were being ravished by blokes claiming that they were being friendly or just innocently politically incorrect without noticing the moral buttock-cramp that pontificating from on top of a pulpiteering wall often induces?

Hate speech is wrong and should be called out whenever it raises its loathsome head. Part of that hatred can be traced to those who make the bullets for others to fire.


Michael Furtado | 27 February 2022  

I attended one of the major Australian Universities in Australia, before it had produced any graduates and was affectionately called 'The Farm', well maybe not so affectionately by those who attended the only other university in Melbourne at the time, with its vague semblance of university buildings of Europe.

It really was a melting pot of ideas, and the staff who put their oars in the water encouraged students to explore ideas, to seek out the basis for the theories that were put about, and although there were wild meetings, and there was a lot of emotion generated, students were encouraged to explore, and opposite points of view were sometimes entrenched; there was also an intellectual and lived acceptance of the other sides. A Bruce Petty cartoon of the time had fully armed police presence addressing a large protesting crowd with the caption balloon reading "Don't just stand there .... polarise" .

This university was a great place to be and even though the Vietnam War did polarise, but then so did visiting speakers like Manning Clark, Senator Frank McManus, Jack Munday, and history lecturer Ian Turner, who entered sans gown, [looking like a lost builder's labourer, there were hundreds of them at the campus], until he pulled his notes from his back pocket; each with their forceful arguments, and students from all ends of the spectrum went to most speakers. The art of counter arguing had skill and substance, it was not based on hate, and even though there was an air of disbelief at times, it never seemed to engender hate. The great Colin Tatz had much to hate if he chose to, but he chose reason and argument. Call me an old Romantic, but rigorous debate had a home in that open world of youthful debate.

Perish this idea of 'flags' in lectures and in unread texts, it is a road leading to nowhere.

One of these days the kaleidoscope will be shaken again and we can get on with our lives.


Tony | 09 February 2022  

As someone who went to the 'other' Melbourne university Tony mentions, called 'The Shop' (cynically where you purchased your passport to a good career) I remember some excellent and stimulating lecturers, such as the late Fr D'Arcy in Philosophy; the late Hume Dow in English, who inspired my interest in American Literature and the wonderful, kind, inspirational John Foster in History. University life was a bit of a wet fish, but that may have just been me going through a soggy period. We did have controversialists like the late Frank Knopfelmacher, who, as a Jewish Central European refugee to England and former British Army soldier, knew what opposing Hitler meant. I am afraid racial and religious hatred, as you see on the streets of the USA today, is like a genie. Once you let it out of the bottle it's hard to get it back in.


Edward Fido | 11 February 2022  
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The John Foster I knew (at Strathclyde) used History to explore and disturb, which alerts one, Edward, to the fact that History, as indeed all memory, serves a purpose greater than the nostalgic or of kindness for fear of filling space with 'sogginess'. There are, in fact, lessons of justice in it.

Nothing good ever came of bottling up the past because there were considerable untold histories that are still told and will be continued to be.

If we don't do that we can't gain a handle on the truth. One example is the History of the Crusades, of which there are many and which may be germane to this discussion.

Apart from the standard interpretations of Pirenne and Bloch, the record shows that the dominant casus belli was the powerful belief of several Popes in Revelation and its eschatological End Times significance.

I see close parallels here in the objections of those with a touching yet unbudging view of the Magisterium, which they frequently fail to satisfactorily define.

What's missing, of course, is that, more often than not, they are unable to acknowledge that Scripture study and interpretation trumps (ugly word) didacticism, which is hardly the same as faith.


Michael Furtado | 27 February 2022  

'Nothing good ever came of bottling up the past because there were considerable untold histories that are still told and will be continued to be.'

So? Write it off like a depreciated asset and say it was a mistake of the past, with no one today to blame. That's what we do with old invalid baptisms, or that's what some would like to do.


roy chen yee | 03 March 2022  

No one is invalidly baptised. All are validly baptised who are baptised in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Stop splitting hairs, Roy.


Michael Furtado | 25 March 2022  

How do you know? Can your eyes see the grace descending? Faith comes from hearing, so listen to the Magisterium. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of order, ie., a spirit of methodical, perhaps even pedantic to avoid a future Socratic self-contradiction, analysis in the search for truth.

After all, water seems to be an essential element. Why? What has water per se got to do with becoming a child of the Church? What's with the hands-on stuff? Why can't you baptise by email?

The doors of perception aren't opened by hippie emotional spontaneity but by scholars sitting around a table exchanging words. That's why anything an angel tells you still has to be tested against what has been studied in scholarly fashion.


roy chen yee | 30 March 2022  

Having come to this embarrassingly late, I dare to profess that to know, Mr Chen Yee, because:

*we are taught;
*we have faith;
*God loves all of us unconditionally, whether we are formally baptised or not;
*the knowability of such things isn't a matter of proof-provision but that God 'is'; and
*while scepticism and empiricism undoubtedly have their important place, the epistemes within which belief is based are not necessarily founded upon a view of science but another cosmos of knowledge that seeks and is open to wisdom, deep understanding, patience and a knowingness that transcends belief.

Thus, while religion applauds and supports the methodologies of science, it inhabits a distinctly separate cosmology of knowability, far beyond what is acknowledged by all good scientists as the limits of the natural sciences.

In sum, to proffer only refutations based upon an absence of scientific evidence is to misunderstand the place of the Holy Spirit in enlightening those who may be clever scientists but hopeless visionaries.

Therefore sciences has to work alongside spirituality to offer a picture more complete than either episteme would be able to offer on its own.

I suspect that this is what Dr Furtado means in his remark.


Sr Bonaventura | 25 April 2022