1.8.12

Faith's Freedom: Technologically Obscured Other

"The problem is that our technological capability has created a world of physical and social systems that, in the most concrete sense, eliminate the otherness of creation. Those living in industrialized, computerized lands rarely if ever encounter the world as other, but only a hominized world that is precisely constructed according to human reason and will. 

...Society can eliminate otherness by its coercive power, shaping members into smooth conformity; or by its censoring power, suppressing difference in thought or belief or action; or by its segregating power, placing those who are different or deviant into safe compartments. 

But a lie is no less a lie because it is often repeated, stated loudly, or written in stone and circuit. The person who experiences electricity only by flipping a switch or monitoring a generator may grow confused about power and who controls what. The person who encounters lightning in an open field is not confused. Bouncing a healthy baby on my knee, I can think that my life is simply a series of problems to solve. Staring into the ravaged eyes of my raped daughter, I must know that life is a mystery that must be suffered. Even in our closed-circuit world, God can grace us with otherness and call us to a project larger than our own. And even in this hermetic, homogenized, hominoid world, we can respond with the fundamental choice of denial or acceptance, closure or openness, sin or faith."

- Luke Timothy Johnson, Faith's Freedom

I'm not sure what to think here. This is one of the more thought provoking books I've read in a while,and I am really enjoying it. I understand that through technological control we live in a world less 'other' than ever before, in the sense Johnson is talking about, and I resonate with a lot of what Johnson has to say. But that line about babies and daughters hits hard, and it quickly reminds me why I, and most everyone else, regularly prefers to live in a controlled, technological, homogeneous world.  On the other hand, maybe Bultmann was more right than he knew.

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