Home > Uncategorized > A Secular Age: The Calvin Seminar: Expanding Unbelief (ch. 10)

A Secular Age: The Calvin Seminar: Expanding Unbelief (ch. 10)

What is unique in Taylor’s story is the significance he accords to both the Renaissance and Romanticism…

One of the features of post-Romantic art, he suggests, is a fundamental shift from art as mimesis to art as poeisis—from art as imitating nature to art making its world. This was necessary precisely because the flattening of the world meant the loss of reference…  the best we can do is “triangulate” meaning from our signs, through historical nostalgia, to our present…

What we look back on as ancient “art objects” were, in fact and function, liturgical instruments, etc…  This is a “desemanticisation and resemanticisation” whereby the art is decontextualized from its religious origions and then recontextualized as “art”… And so we get the new sacred spaces of modernity: the concert hall as temple; the museum as chapel; tourism as the new pilgrimage, etc…

“the appeal of scientific materialism is not so much the cogency of its detailed findngs as that of the underlying epistemological stance, and that for ethical reasons. It is seen as the stance of maturity, of courage, of manliness, over against childish fears and sentimentality” (365). But you can also understand how, on the retelling, the convert to unbelief will want to give the impression that it was the scientific evidence that was doing the work (365b). Converts to unbelief always tell subtraction stories…

While such a universe might have nothing to offer us by way of comfort, it’s also true that “[i]n such a universe, nothing is demanded of us” (367). Now the loss of purpose is also a liberation: “we decide what goals to pursue.”

via A Secular Age: The Calvin Seminar: Expanding Unbelief (ch. 10).

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