The Myth of Christian Modernity

In the spirit of Adam’s post earlier today, we have proof that he & I talk about this kind of stuff even when we’re not blogging.

(02:52:11 PM) Adam Kotsko: Speaking of Altizer, today I had a kind of breakthrough on the “divinity in all of us” thing.
(02:53:30 PM) Brad Johnson: Do tell.
(02:54:20 PM) Adam Kotsko: Well, practically everything I’ve been reading points in that direction.
(02:55:03 PM) Adam Kotsko: If you take the advent of modernity seriously as an event, one could say that the category of “divinity” no longer makes sense as a transcendent one, and the energy devoted to it spills out into the “immanent realm.”
(02:55:14 PM) Adam Kotsko: Law of conservation of piety, or something.
(02:55:39 PM) Adam Kotsko: Anyway, I still think that my students approach it in an unreflective and ahistorical way that seems to be based on the idea that it wouldn’t be “fair” for Jesus to be more divine or something.

[Twenty minute pause in the action while I take the dog out for a walk.]
(03:15:55 PM) Brad Johnson: That’s the problem, though — the taking modernity seriously as an event.
(03:16:12 PM) Brad Johnson: That’s something that Christianity has never been able to faithfully own up to — or even want to own up to.
(03:18:12 PM) Adam Kotsko: Because it would mean the dissolution of the institutions.
(03:18:38 PM) Brad Johnson: Exactly
(03:19:10 PM) Brad Johnson: I think that’s why the institutions have begun to embrace a bastardized version of postmodernity (e.g., emergent church, etc.).
(03:19:54 PM) Brad Johnson: Modernity might be the only philosophical “event” that the institution of Christian theology could not fully appropriate.
(03:21:35 PM) Adam Kotsko: Yeah, “postmodernism” allows the church to wall itself back into its own little “ontology.”
(03:22:04 PM) Brad Johnson: It even flirted w/ empiricism for a while, but realized it could only go so far. Postmodernity was a boon.
(03:24:01 PM) Adam Kotsko: “Could only go so far” with empiricism — beautiful.
(03:24:25 PM) Adam Kotsko: Maybe we should post this conversation on AUFS.

[A discussion about who has an uninterrupted transcript and thus who should post.]

(03:26:15 PM) Brad Johnson: I can do that.

One thought on “The Myth of Christian Modernity

  1. Could someone explain the “Modernity might be the only philosophical “event” that the institution of Christian theology could not fully appropriate” comment? Maybe be a little more specific? — and I do realize that Adam’s response is one regarding ontology, so…

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