The world of dew
Is the world of dew.
And yet, and yet --
-- Kobayashi Issa
I am convinced that certain geographical areas “prefer” certain religious traditions. In certain areas of the Nation – I will concentrate on the US, though I think analogous remarks apply elsewhere – climate, topography, and history conspire to render the spiritual climate favorable to what I will call “rule-based” or “command-based” traditions that emphasize a Deity Who stands outside human history, but occasionally intervenes to formulate rules of conduct and to issue commands. Members of these traditions tend to speak in terms of God being “in control” and in political metaphors of monarchical sovereignty. It is quite common, also, especially in the American tradition of conservative evangelical Prot
I had been reading about Rudolf Otto’s concept of the numinous and studying his classic The Idea of the Holy for a few decades, and it all made perfect conceptual sense. But on our recent trip to Hawaii in April of this year (2018), Diane and I actually experienced the Holy, the numinous, on a very raw and visceral level. In The Idea of the Holy, Otto, who coined the term “numinous”, describes it with the Latin phrase mysterium tremendum et fascinans. Literally translated, that phrase means “the tremble-inducing [tremendum, the same Latin root as “tremor”] and attractive [fascinans, the same Latin root as "fascinating"] mystery [mysterium]”. Despite the title of his book, Otto makes it clear that the Holy is not only, or even primarily, something about which one entertains ideas. Rath
Sometimes even smart and literate people are somewhat naïve when it comes to science. We had an example just recently when educated and sophisticated people compared prevalent conservative skepticism about climate change / global warming with almost non-existent skepticism about the causes of the recent solar eclipse. But this turns out to be a case of dueling misconceptions about differences in scientific methodology: the methodology used to substantiate climate change and the methodology used to account for solar eclipses. The differences are subtle, requiring a working knowledge of the history of science, but important in appreciating the extent to which the two cases – climate change and eclipses – are not quite comparable. Almost. But not quite.
I am riding this partic