Thursday, July 28, 2005
Check out this essay, "The Anti-Theology of the Body," by David Hart, in the latest issue of The New Atlantis. Here is a tantalizing bit:
The difference between John Paul’s theological anthropology and the pitilessly consistent materialism of the transhumanists and their kith—and this is extremely important to grasp—is a difference not simply between two radically antagonistic visions of what it is to be a human being, but between two radically antagonistic visions of what it is to be a god.
Here is the conclusion:
It may well be that the human is an epoch, in some sense. The idea of the infinite value of every particular life does not accord with instinct, as far as one can tell, but rather has a history. The ancient triumph of the religion of divine incarnation inaugurated a new vision of man, however fitfully and failingly that vision was obeyed in subsequent centuries. Perhaps this notion of an absolute dignity indwelling every person—this Christian invention or discovery or convention—is now slowly fading from our consciences and will finally be replaced by something more “realistic” (which is to say, something more nihilistic). Whatever the case, John Paul’s theology of the body will never, as I have said, be “relevant” to the understanding of the human that lies “beyond” Christian faith. Between these two orders of vision there can be no fruitful commerce, no modification of perspectives, no debate, indeed no “conversation.” All that can ever span the divide between them is the occasional miraculous movement of conversion or the occasional tragic movement of apostasy. Thus the legacy of that theology will be to remain, for Christians, a monument to the grandeur and fullness of their faith’s “total humanism,” so to speak, to remind them how vast the Christian understanding of humanity’s nature and destiny is, and to inspire them—whenever they are confronted by any philosophy, ethics, or science that would reduce any human life to an instrumental moment within some larger design—to a perfect and unremitting enmity.