Monday, June 22, 2015

The Murky Waters of Insanity

"Anthropology is the enemy of reductionism, be it naturalistic explanations of human skin color variation, the ascertainment of human presence via exclusive archaeological arguments or the belief that linguistic classifications are only skin deep."-- German Dziebel

Alice C. Linsley

Biblical Anthropology has helped me to detect the deficiencies and falsehoods of Feminism, Process Theology, and religious reductionism, for as anthropologist German Dziebel has said, "Anthropology is the enemy of reductionism."

Reductionism take various forms, but all attribute religious beliefs to non-religious causes. Some view faith as a by-product of human evolution. In this view, religion enhances survivability for members of a group and so is reinforced by natural selection. Others reduce the religious impulse to susperstition, as a way to explain the inexplicable. When it comes to morality, some reductionists view divine law as merely Man's attempt to determine conceptions of right and wrong.

There is also the psychological view that religion is a way to cope with our anxieties. This view has some basis in Scripture because all the evidence suggests that the priesthood emerged among Abraham's ancestors out of a need to address blood guilt. The primitive principle is one we recognize as animal sacrifice; blood for blood, and the sacred law that already existed among Abraham's ancestors, pertained in large part to blood; for life is in the blood. In the Biblical worldview, blood both pollutes and makes clean. Ancient law codes, such as the Law of Tehut, which existed long before the code of Hammurabi, addressed transgressions of boundaries between God and Man, and between the individual and his neighbor, and between the individual and his community.

One of the errors of reductionism is that it blurs the distinction between God and Man. The creation is not perfect and changes. God is perfect and immutable. There is a boundary between God and Man that no mortal can deny. God alone knows all things. The lie posed to Eve was that eating the forbidden fruit would make her like God, knowing good from evil. This blurring of the distinctions between God and Man, between life and death, between good and evil, between male and female, and between black and white is pure hubris and plays out to its logical end in the recent stories of two deluded individuals: Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolezal.

Sadly, many have rejected the Biblical worldview in favor of pseudo-psychological explanations. People can be whatever they want to be. There is no fixed reality of male-female. Instead, there is a gender continuum which requires the State (as here) to recognize bisexual, transgender, unspecified, indeteriminate, and gender diverse, etc. There no longer being a fixed reality, our grip on permanent virtue is lost and we slip beneath the murky waters of insanity.

I am reminded of something G.K. Chesterton wrote in The Ball and the Cross:

Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities. ...The Church always seems to be behind the times, when it is really beyond the times; it is waiting till the last fad shall have seen its last summer. It keeps the key of a permanent virtue.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Robert Barron recently wrote that the new "trans" mania is a form of Gnosticism. He may be right for all I know, but your quote--"the murky waters of insanity"--and the Chesterton quote--"mild insanities"--seem to sum it up better.

Jerry Woods

J Eppinga said...

I knew of a "Caitlin" growing up. I remember the dialogue was more rational.

I suspect that part of the insanity is caused for the culture du jour's disdain for all things white and male. Whoopi Goldberg is all for Rachel Dolezal's "transformation." Would she be as phlegmatic if say, Tina Turner agreed with her doctors, that she was really a white man? Probably not.

I am curious about something. Do you see the insanity making inroads into Anthropology, the same way it did within Psychology a few decades ago?

Thank you,

Alice Linsley said...

Jay, There is pseudo-psychology and there is pseudo-anthropology. I see a great deal of the latter among anthropologists who disdain religion in general and Christianity in particular. The difference is the quality of scholarship. People need to discern distinctions, to think critically and constructively, and to recognize and honor God-established boundaries because these are real.

Consider the physics of sound waves. If you shout in a large canyon the sound will reflect off of the solid walls of the canyon and you will hear an echo. The echo is proof that there is something there, something of substance and solidity. Biblical Anthropology involves doing "soundings" that confirm God's existence and the veracity of Scripture.

J Eppinga said...

RE: "soundings"

I would love to be a fly on the wall, if ever you found yourself in a hotel lobby with disciples of Kline and Seitz. :)

Yale said...

I propose the possibility that there is an omnistic way of looking at the concept of deity and the practice of religion, which might be spiritually acceptable to many of us living in these post-modern, post-millennial times. An introduction to more details of that possibility are found at .

BTW, as you would see, what is addressed is anthropological in the Gregory Bateson and Roy Wagner senses of that term.

Alice Linsley said...

I have touched on this here:

Monism, the one-ness of all things, is a concept that appears to have emerged in the Axial Age. Before that binary distinctions of heaven-earth, male-female, etc. were recognized. The divinely appointed ruler was the mediator between heaven and earth.