I listened to this conversation this afternoon and found it very enlightening. Many of the issues ive been trying to work through with regards to the two types of truth, modernity and conciousness were brought up in the conversation. Well worth the watch. Some of the insights I gained:
- The idea of the “modernist Christian” as one who sees the world in a mechanistic, materialistic way, except with God. This Christian defends the literal truth of the bible, while oposing symbolic meaning. Matteau made the point that when all you have left is the sort of factual litteral history, you will defend that to the death.
- Two types of materialist Christians which can be roughly conceptualized as heaven and earth. The earth materialist Christian is the conservative Christian who reads the stories in a reductive litteral way, without appreciating the meaning. This is absurd, because as Matteau noted, the facts are just the dwelling place of meaning. The heaven materialist christian is the liberal Christian who dismisses the factual reality of the stories and just floats off into heaven with his interpretations. The interpertations he places on the text are not grounded in “the earth” and anything goes. Our role is to mediate between heaven and earth, to have grounded interpertations that speak of the nature of reality.
- Symbolism isnt arbitrary, it is the grammer of Being. It is the building blocks of our concious experiance.
- Sciece has progressed by excluding the phenomological and abstracting out the observer to view the world ‘objectively’. Science doesnt describe the world we experiace or the grammer of Being.
- Words have different meanings in different historical contexts. Matteau used the example of a fish. To the ancients, a fish was something that lived in the water, to us, a fish is a narrowly defined biological category. We dont apply the same symbolic meaning to the word fish that the ancients did.
- There are principles for a correct symbolic interpretation, it must apply accross a range of contexts, for example, your interpertation of the symbolism of a snake must apply to all or most cases where a snake apears in traditional stories. Your interpretation must tell you something about the nature of experiance/reality. Jonathan used the example of a guy who argued that the biblical texts were about mushrooms: that interpretation doesnt tell you anything of value.