Future, Present, & Past:

~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.

Oυδεὶς άμουσος εἰσίτω

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And another one.

As an addendum to my last post:

Just a few hours after I posted it, I stumbled on a post at the New APPS Blog about philosopher Michael Sidduth, who converted last year from a Christianity of the Reformed flavor to a Hindu devotion to Krsna. The post's author, Helen De Cruz, observes in terms that fairly closely match my own, but also render the matter a bit more subtle:
I think religious conversion is rarely, if ever, a matter of disinterested rational thinking. There are always pragmatic and contextual factors involved. For one thing, had Sudduth not taught world religions, he would probably not have been sufficiently familiar with hindu writings to know what they are about. And his religious experiences postdate his familiarization with this. But obviously, religious conversion is also a matter of making a conscious live choice (as William James said). The fact is that people tend to underplay contextual factors for conversions they do like, and overplay them for conversions they don't like.
Sidduth's own account of his conversion was posted on his Facebook account, and reblogged frequently. It can be found, e.g., here, courtesy of the Maverick Philosopher, and in numerous other places online. So, alas, can a lot of the depressingly reductive critique I am talking about. "He was on antidepressants...." "How do you know it was Krishna?" Sigh.

In addition to the rather obvious point this story raises (it's not just Christian conversions at issue), this reminds me that I'd mean to suggest a tentative analogy between, on the one hand, the terms Leah Libresco used -- Truth and Person -- when she described her intuitions about Morality, and on the other hand, the Indian tradtitions pertaining to Jnana(roughly "wisdom") and Bhakhti yoga. I talked a little bit about these in a post on the problem of evil for Gospel and Dharma. This is, as I say, only a rough-and-ready analogy, but I think it holds up.

1 comment:

  1. I've written a note on this topic i.e. 'rational' versus mystical reasons for conversion from atheism to Theism (Christianity)