Preacher on WWU Campus (Red Square)

Preacher on WWU Campus (Red Square)

Posted in the Bellingham Forum

Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#1 May 21, 2012
Haven't heard the man preaching in Red Square, but read of him in last (WWU) Western Front newspaper. Brought to mind William James 'Varities of Religious Experience'--written in 1902--(see other thread as well). Particularly:

"...No! the Book of Job went over this whole matter once for all and definitely. Ratiocination is a relatively superficial and unreal path to the deity:...An intellect perplexed and baffled, yet a trustful sense of presence--such is the situation of the man who is sincere with himself and with the facts, but who remains religious still."

"We must therefore, I think, bid a definite good-by to dogmatic theology. In all sincerity our faith must do without that warrant...." (p. 439)

Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#2 May 21, 2012
Has anyone brought this up in discussions in Red Square?...

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

--That's one version. Context has it taken to mean burned to death. That verse, and those supporting slavery, etc., make for a good argument the bible is not infallable--that it was manipulated by patriarchs along the way, etc.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#3 May 21, 2012


1: the process of exact thinking : reasoning


Also, Evgeny Zamyatin's 1920 dystopian novel 'We'(Orwell's 1984 derived from), makes a point that the square root of minus one cannot be solved by reason alone (it requires faith in an imaginary system of numbers). Etc.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#4 May 22, 2012
Have always wondered too if 'Confessions of St. Augustine' was manipulated along the way as well. It seems inconsistent--he writes really well, then all of a sudden the writing turns hateful, as if the State took over and was putting forth ideas.

William James 'Varieties of religious Experience' has an excellent passage by St. Augustine.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#5 May 22, 2012
Found interesting reading--on a Google search of "William James Reinhold Niebuhr", at bottom of first page is a link to:

'The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture' by Martin Halliwell

--I'm unable to have a full understanding, but if any scholarly students happen along and see this thread, they might find it interesting too.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#6 May 23, 2012
There are quite a few paragraphs available online of 'The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture' by Martin Halliwell. The easiest way to pull it up is by Google search: "William James Reinhold Niebuhr"--it is the last link on the bottom of the first page. It's very interetsing.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#7 May 24, 2012
"This kind of interdisciplinarity was par­ticularly important for Niebuhr in his role as public thinker, both in his desire to challenge the specialization of experts and in his growing sense that America was being run by technocrats and politicians who had a vested interest in obscuring these connections.":

Neibuhr railed against the plutocrats, as he referred to them, at the time. And so much of what he was saying applies today which is what is so depressing. People can speak the truth about what's going on and it's no different than talking to a wall.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#8 May 24, 2012
That link of 'The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture' by Martin Halliwell....not so good as thought on first glance. Like so many things put together *about* a writer, it can give a spin in a most clever manner so that after reading there is a negative impression left. Have noticed that with 'The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr'(the only one available when searching "Reinhold Niebuhr" in public library here), and with 'The Essential Victor Hugo", and also many about Dostoevsky. Better to stick with the writer's books themselves...if you can get them (and can trust they haven't been manipulated).
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#9 May 25, 2012
Online encyclopedia snippet (compare to Halliwell's referring to Neibuhr's "Marxism" (instead of socilaism--Niebuhr belonged to the Socialist Party of America before leaving it at some point; Francis Bellamy, author of The Pledge of Allegiance was also a Christian socialist [the words "under God" not his--they were inserted by Congress in the 1950's]):

Reinhold Niebuhr

born June 21, 1892, Wright City, Mo., U.S.died June 1, 1971, Stockbridge, Mass.) U.S. theologian. The son of an evangelical minister, he studied at Eden Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School. He was ordained in the Evangelical Synod of North America in 1915 and served as pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit, Mich., until 1928. His years in that industrial city made him a critic of capitalism and an advocate of socialism. From 1928 to 1960 he taught at New York's Union Theological Seminary. His influential writings, which forcefully criticized liberal Protestant thought and emphasized the persistence of evil in human nature and social institutions, include Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), The Nature and Destiny of Man, 2 vol.(194143), and The Self and the Dramas of History (1955).

Read more:
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#10 May 25, 2012
This might be a good counter-point to Halliwell:

Reinhold Niebuhr: Does His Legacy Have a Future?
by Robin Lovin, Southern Methodist University

(not enough time to read it completely, but some good points were found)
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#11 May 27, 2012
Reading Neibuhr's 'A Nation So Conceived'--it's good, helps to understand things. Have read numeorus books of his, and they all seem to have good insight. 'Christianity and Power Politics', etc.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#12 May 28, 2012
'A Nation So Conceived' is really good. Neibuhr explains so much that has always been in the back of mind.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#13 May 28, 2012
For example...

...."Radical Protestantism, on the other hand, has a tendency to perfectionism which makes it irrelevant to the political order. Catholicism never doubts the social and communal substance of human existence, whereas Protestantism is inclined to a radical individualism.

When this individulaism is compounded with orthodox Calvinistic moralism, which ascribes prosperity to the virtues of thrift and industry on the one hand and poverty to the moral defects of laziness and dissoluteness on the other, it may become a source of confusion in dealing with disparities of privilege which are the consequence of undue centralization of economic power in modern industry. When this type of Calvinism became related to the Social Darwinism prevalent in conservative circles in the late nineteenth century, the moral confusion derived from religious presuppositions was great indeed."....

'A Nation So Conceived'; P. 54
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#14 May 29, 2012
Interestingly, on pluralism, Niebuhr cites Will Herberg's 'Protestant, Catholic, Jew' in pointing out:..."The peril of religious pluralism is that tolerance may induce the conviction that it is important to 'believe in something' though the content and object of the faith remains undefined."

Also,..."While religious pluralism is always in danger of degenerating into a consistent homogeneity on the lowest level of common belief or common sentiment, there can be no doubt about the advantages of pluralism on the religious level of a culture."...Pgs. 62-63 A Nation So Conceived

And found this online--a Kirkus Reviews of Neibuhr essay 'Pious and Secular America' concludes:

..."In Christ, Dr. Niebuhr affirms repeatedly, is to be found that assurance of final forgiveness for the ineradicable evil in the human heart that can lift the self from despair to newness of life. This is the final answer to the mystery of human existence."

Brings to mind once again Dostoyevsky's 'Notes from Underground'...

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