Why I'm Getting More Calvinistic, Part Deux
I've got a lot of good summer reading to add to the pile, including Dorrien's essay.
So I'm puzzling through this, and I suspect some of the recommended readings will help me. It also helps me to consider what both Philocrites and Fausto have said: namely, that what's missing from UUism is careful discernment of theological claims we've been fairly casually making for a long time (too long, really), and realism in our religion. What I see in contemporary UUism is this kind of pushing back the night with our humanist will, i.e., "we know it's terrible but you and I can make a difference!"
And we can, and of course we need to keep preaching and living that.
But we're I'm coming down is that while I believe in natural religion and an instinctual sense of the Moral Law (because,as Channing so beautifully posited, we're possessed of God's own nature), what I'm coming down to is a personal conviction that --whether within religious communities OR left to our own devices -- we're more prone to delusion and justification, sin and erring, than to virtue.
Why? Not necessarily because that's how we were made (a la the Puritans' idea) but because our age is so fraught with toxins of body, mind and spirit that we are functioning less well morally as a species because of them.
Many of our daily practices (like spending hours on the internet, for instance, gathering points of view, articles and conversation) subject us to such an onslaught of perspectives, while our lack of sleep and sabbath rest, overstimulation, environmental and dietary poisons, goods and services to feed our myriad addictions available 24 hours a day (a new thing under the sun, indeed!) and rampant materialism -- not to mention the dozens of other temptations and anxieties to which our age is prone -- have what I am certain is a highly deleterious effect on our moral sense.
As a modern gal, I do believe that a lot of our moral sense is developed along with our cerebral cortex, and I think that not only are our children's attention spans shrinking due to Electronic Childhood, but their moral reasoning also suffers. Meanwhile, their parents are spinning out on life lived the speed of light, with constant media buzzing in their brain, every possible entertainment, pleasure, distraction and indulgence available to them in either fact or in fantasy, and daily evidence that the seven deadly sins aren't so much deadly as just great fodder for consumption over the Stairmaster via Dr. Phil.
I suppose every age believes it's especially corrupt. Don't think that while I'm writing this I don't feel like a 21st century Cotton Mather. Which I'm not sure is such a bad thing.