The Old and New Grand Narratives
Robert Brinsmead talk recorded by Julia Tyack
The evidence is that the old story is contrary to the facts of science and history. The old story starts with everything good and getting worse and worse. This old story, history demonstrated produced very bad results of war, violence such as the holocaust, the great slaughters in the progress of Christianity, the violence by which Christianity spread etc. Look at Leakey’s out of Africa – life started diminished, in savagery, groveling for sustenance, the small beginnings of discovering fire to cook some meat to grow bigger brains. This is the dark past of the human race, a past that knew nothing of love, compassion, or nurturing but brute force, survival of the fittest, fear, and great instability. The ages moved on…..
Out of such a dark background emerges consciousness to the evils of warfare, of cruelty, injustice in all its forms.
After world war one there was the theological movement of neo orthodoxy, the social gospel as advanced by Karl Bart 1914
Now before world war 11 there was a heady vision of advance – the social gospel emerged.
The war came and it threw a bomb into the play ground of the theologians, a very negative view replaced neo orthodoxy, a theology of despair, but they couldn’t return to the old orthodoxy.
Marx came on the field – the son of a protestant clergyman and Jewish family background. He revamped the old story and history tells the devastating consequences that came out of the story of man alienated from his own works at the beginning of history. Marxism failed.
Marxism is now replaced by modern environmentalism, a world socialism. The old story revamped of man alienated from nature. We are yet to see the results of this world movement.
As Schroeder writes; ‘What is necessary is a whole new paradigm, the old is flawed, damaging to human psychology and every aspect of humanity, The old is based on what St Paul said, ‘ Death came by man, sin entered the world.’
Rocks and fossils show us a different story. In the modern world there is a lot of stimulus for people to look at the new story. Something about the old grand narrative’s history demonstrated that it breads violence.
Take the over sweep of history. Look at Jewish apocalyptic, for instance the book of Daniel breed the dark days of Anticus Epiphanies and the Maccabeen revolts. Unbelievable what they did. They were absolutely blood thirsty, this old grand narrative is born in violence. In the doctrine of the fall of man, one strike and you are out. Then followed generations after generations of suffering and death that were founded in violence.
How is the remedied? There is the Christian answer, by another grander act of violence. As the Catholic Theologian Carrol writes. “Christianity has the most violent symbol imaginable, ‘the cross’.
Next in the Christian remedy is another great act of violence – the second coming and the traditional doctrine of Hell, again this is unbelievable violence.
Why be surprised why a history based on such a world view produces violence.
Many pretend that they are not influenced by these myths. An illustration of its all pervading effect is like this. I don’t believe in astrology, but I might say, “Yes I’m a Leo”. These myths are like floating filaments.
I don’t propose we discard the Bible. We won’t be the first generation to work on a New Grand Narrative. The story that stands at the beginning of the Bible is not even figured in the Old Testament. I’ve been intrigued for years at the use of justice in the O.T. I’ve looked at every text and context and became startled at what justice means in the prophets. We think of justice as getting our own back – pay back day.
But the Old Testament. sedakah means compassion for humanity and all who need our help. O.T. uses other verbs and nouns for punishment.
The New Grand Story and where God fits into that New Grand Story? Karen Armstrong – God is totally indescribable, unfathomable, mystery. The nature of God is a fruitless search. This is clearly recognized.
The prophetic vision of Justice is the preeminence of compassion. At their best this prophetic vision embraced all nations. Israel couldn’t carry this vision through. Not only was compassion destroyed by apocalyptic but great violence resulted.
Then the Christian movement and the New Testament word for love, agape. Sedak (Old Testament) agape (New Testament) both were destroyed by apocalyptic. Our own reflections tell us that love requires nothing less than universal, all inclusive without discrimination and unconditional acceptance.
Sedak, agape couldn’t be carried out with all this baggage that compromised it. Human nature can’t believe in love if there is damnation. If there is a declaring of certain ones dammed, of wicked, then it follows that there is a getting angry if the dammed are not punished. This is inescapable logic.
So we are pressed in the whole question to maintain that love is universal and unconditional. There is no beginning to love and no end.
An illustration is Bill Bright’s campus crusade movement with their four spiritual laws. 1 God loves you and has a great plan for your life.
It follows if you don’t accept an awful apocalyptic whacking is in store. The Calvinist were more logical in opposing Bill Bright’s four spiritual laws, when they said you can only say that to the elect. Now that is more logical. A friend sent around seven good points on the evil fruits that are the result of anything less than universalism. Taking God’s love universal is the constant message of The Near Death Experiences. The great teachers of history had NDE illumination. Who knows if the story of Jesus 40 days and 40 nights has credence but if it does then at the end when he was near death he had a NDE and was illuminated to see the old story of John the Baptist for what is was and had a revelation of the universal love that gives the rain and sunshine to the just and unjust and his wole concept of Abba Father.