The working assumption in development of this model is that the rejection of violence, whether the direct violence of the sword or the systemic violence of racism or sexism, should be visible in expressions of Christology and atonement. Developing an understanding shaped by nonviolence then lays bare the extent to which satisfaction atonement is founded on violent assumptions. Thus proposing narrative Christus Victor as a nonviolent atonement motif also poses a fundamental challenge to and ultimately a rejection of satisfaction atonement. (7)
While it is not necessary to adopt my specific suggestion for understanding the historical political connotations of the text of the seven seals [of Revelation], it is important to locate Revelation in the first-century world. With the first-century context in mind, it is clear that the symbolism of conflict and victory in the reign of God over the rule of Satan is a way of ascribing cosmic significance to the church's confrontation of the Roman empire in the first century....It is the imagery itself and not a particular historical interpretation that presents the Christus Victor motif. Most importantly, the theological message that in the resurrection of Jesus the reign of God is victorious over evil remains true even if the sequence of evils and destruction symbolized in seals one to six is interpreted only in terms of general references to war, famine, pestilence, earthquake, and other natural disasters. (27)
The resurrection as the victory of the reign of God over the forces of evil constitutes an invitation to salvation, an invitation to submit to the rule of God. It is an invitation to enter a new life, a life transformed by the rule of God and no longer in bondage to the powers of evil that killed Jesus. For those who perceive the resurrection, the only option that makes sense is to submit to the reign of God. Christians, Christ-identified people, participate in the victory of the resurrection and demonstrate their freedom from bondage to the powers by living under the rule of God rather than continuing to live in the power of the evil that killed Jesus. Salvation is present when allegiances change and new life is lived "in Christ" under the rule of God....
The resurrection reveals the true balance of power in the universe whether sinners perceive it or not. Sinner can ignore the resurrection and continue in opposition to the reign of God, but the reign of God is still victorious. It is this revelation of the true balance of power, whether or not acknowledged by sinful humankind, that distinguishes narrative Christus Victor from moral influence theory. (45)
Jesus' confrontation of evil and his eventual victory through resurrection thus do not appear as completely novel events in the history of God's people. It is rather the continuation and culmination of a mission that began with the call of Abraham. (67)
This book actually threatened my enjoyment of Armed Forces, not because of any its "revelations," but out of sheer tedium. I'm glad I finished, so I c...moreThis book actually threatened my enjoyment of Armed Forces, not because of any its "revelations," but out of sheer tedium. I'm glad I finished, so I can go back to listening to the album rather than reading about it.(less)
Roberts, while attempting to be comprehensive in his treatment of the coming end of the oil age, omits several crucial points in his attempts at "bala...moreRoberts, while attempting to be comprehensive in his treatment of the coming end of the oil age, omits several crucial points in his attempts at "balanced" reporting.
The author discusses the centrality of the politically volatile (and at times uncooperative) OPEC nations to the oil economy, and notes that the lion's share of geopolitical strategy and military adventurism is over energy supplies. The impending peak in oil production is as much a danger to our energy economy as are geopolitical machinations, but he downplays the consequences of peak oil after a cursory review of the literature, concluding rather tepidly that, "the picture for long-term oil is not encouraging." Given that the developing nations, specifically China and India, are expanding their energy consumption, this picture is definitely not encouraging.
Roberts also discusses the technological options that we may use to extend the oil economy as well as to transition into the next energy economy. He presents the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed hydrogen economy, of increased energy efficiency, and of combinations of different energy sources, yet he does not also note that many alternative sources of energy presuppose an underlying petroleum economy. This latter idea, connected to the concept of ERoEI (energy returned/energy invested), would seem to be essential to understanding our energy options, and its omission from Robert's analysis and reporting was conspicuous.
The author is also far too optimistic in his assessment of solutions delivered by the deus ex machina of free market technoscience; the sense of "can-do" that permeates this book is reminiscent of an ostrich with its head in the sand. I agree with Robert Anton Wilson that resources are less about what exists "out there" and more about our creative use of what exists, but I simply cannot imagine approaching this impending crisis creatively solely in the context of the "free market." As Roberts himself notes repeatedly, the free market has little incentive for investing in alternative ideas or marginal technologies when the existing economy is so lucrative. Instead of driving innovation, it seems that petrocapitalism stifles through its preference for the profitable, if catastrophically unsustainable, status quo. Roberts seems to recognize the need for intervention into the free market (like including "externalities" in the prices of the oil economy), yet his reliance on market solutions fills the book.
Thankfully, on the penultimate page, Roberts' facade cracks and he admits, "frankly, though, the thought of any kind of delay, no matter how rationally justified, terrifies me." This recognition of the seriousness of the problem, belated though it was, restored a bit of my confidence in the reporting that had preceded it.(less)
Morris Berman begins his exploration of the "hidden history" of the West with a discussion of the nemo, a word he borrows from John Fowles' The Aristo...moreMorris Berman begins his exploration of the "hidden history" of the West with a discussion of the nemo, a word he borrows from John Fowles' The Aristos which connotes the sense of non-existence at the core of the existential condition. The experience of this nemo, according to Berman, results from a developmental split between the felt sense of embodiment (somatic awareness) and the mental self image that comes from how others see us (specular awareness). Berman uses the history of mirrors and the human relationship to animals to demonstrate how this split has led historically to a de-valuation of somatic, embodied experience, a consequent preference for "cognitively top-heavy" abstraction, and various attempts to heal the breach between the two.
The core of the book is an exploration of four different periods in Western history---the origins of Christianity and Gnosticism, the Cathar/Albigensian heresy in Southern France, the rise of modern science from the practice of alchemy, and the modern phenomenon of Nazism. Berman investigates how these periods relate to the suppression of the body in favor of the abstracted intellect and to the return of that suppressed somatic experience in different forms (e.g,. Gnostic mysticism, romantic love, scientific abstraction, and Nazi mass murder).
Finally, Berman looks at our prospects for the future. Since the abstraction/experience split and our attempts to smooth it over are still going strong in modern Western societies, Berman fears the potential for a resurgence of fascism. (Given the tenor of the 21st century so far, it would seem that his fears are well founded.) Instead of advocating another mystical or political attempt to heal over the split and to fill in the nemo, Berman discusses the possibility of a "gesture of balance"---learning to accept the split and the feeling of the nemo without being compelled to fill it in or smooth it over. This radical acceptance of the gap might be the key to "resolving" the gap altogether.
In short, this is a book that demands serious attention from students of history, politics, religion, philosophy, psychology, and also for those dedicated to pursuing a spiritual path.(less)