Enough with the black and white hats

A problem with an excessively dualistic approach to ethics (or politics) is that it can seduce people into believing that they are in the right simply because they're on the right (religious or political) team. When the truth is we all fall short. This is not to suggest that there is never a moral distinction … Continue reading Enough with the black and white hats

Coincidentia Oppositorum In Nicholas Of Cusas Sermons

I just finished reading a fascinating paper on Coincidentia Oppositorum In Nicholas Of Cusas Sermons by Jasper Hopkins. The closest thing I can compare it to is the philosophy of the Buddhist sage Nagarjuna, with its echoes of Nagarjuna's teachings on co-dependant origination. Those familiar with Zen or Taoism may get what I mean. And yet, … Continue reading Coincidentia Oppositorum In Nicholas Of Cusas Sermons

N. T. Wright on Dualism

Excerpt from N. T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God, Vol. 1 of the series "Christian Origins and the Question of God" (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), pages 252-256. (iv) Types of Duality It is often said that some types of Judaism are characterized by 'dualism', or are in danger of falling into it. 'Apocalyptic' … Continue reading N. T. Wright on Dualism

The Yin Yang of World Hunger

"The yin and yang of world hunger" by Imgur I think this yin-yang inspired image nicely illustrates the complete lack of balance between developed and developing nations! And as a citizen of a developed nation I find the prophecy of Jesus quite sobering: "Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go … Continue reading The Yin Yang of World Hunger

Are good and evil equal and opposite?

In many ethical systems good and evil are seen are equal and opposite. In monistic systems, like Taoism, good and evil are seen as equally relative and illusory. This is reflected in the design of the Yin Yang symbol. In dualistic systems, like Zoroastrianism, good and evil are seen as equally absolute and hyper-real, originating … Continue reading Are good and evil equal and opposite?

The yin and yang of Christian ethics

  What if, instead of exploring Christian ethics exclusively through the lens of Aristotelian either/or logic, more disciples opened themselves to exploring Christian ethics through the lens of more eastern style both/and logic as well? What would it look like? Well actually I think it would look a lot more like the ethics of Jesus, who, … Continue reading The yin and yang of Christian ethics

Have we understood “dualism” and “otherness” too narrowly?

"I have been suggesting that the way in which we think dualism is often unnecessarily subject to oppositional, hierarchical patterns. Samkhya has shown us one way in which  dualism – the difference of spirit and matter – need not imply the subordination of one to the other but can denote a dynamic, necessary relationship between two non-reducible … Continue reading Have we understood “dualism” and “otherness” too narrowly?

Disentangling some competing dualisms in the church / state conversation

It has long been my observation that anti-war Christian "pacifists" and pro-war Christian "realists" often talk past each other because they understand the church / state distinction very differently. Each labels the other dualist to the puzzlement of the other. Here is my attempt to try and graphically illustrate the problem. Basically I think it's a problem … Continue reading Disentangling some competing dualisms in the church / state conversation