Oikophobia in Western Religious experience

Discussion in 'Religion & Spirituality' started by Pangloss, 20 May 2016.

  1. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    I wonder if you guys have noticed, and perhaps find it a tad queer, that when western men and women go through a mid-life crisis, or some other existential crisis, rather than turning to and exploring their own religious tradition, they tend to look east and take a completely alien one?

    This seems to epitomise the modern world, a hatred and rejection of the native world spirit that you have grown up in (or at least has been your heritage), in favour of the exotic and the orient. Whether it is the traditionalist conservative choosing Eastern Orthodoxy, rather than investigating Catholicism or the rich High Church Anglican tradition, the tired party girl deciding to turn Turk after getting worn out with a nihilist and hedonistic youth, or the anti-Modernist embracing Vaishnaivism over Calvinism after being disgusted with liberalism and individualism.

    So, I was wondering if you have noticed this, and have got any explanations to why this has happened?
     
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  2. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    I will make clear I am not denigrating other religions and their prophets, and the kernels of truth they contain (we are Pereniallists here after all). Just the fact that they are so happy exchange their entire identity for another that developed in another cultural context.
     
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  3. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    Multiple reasons. The West and its traditions are taught to be not cool or even outright evil as per leftist anti-Western ideologies, whereas other traditions (particularly Buddhism for some reason) are fetishized by the same. Another reason is simply an attraction to the exotic or strange, something that has roots older than the modern world and in different civilizations (Rome's taste for Oriental cults, China's attraction to Tibetan Buddhism and Manichaeism historically, etc.) The secularized state of Western societies also could put lesser men in a precarious situation where, looking for stability, they might go Saracen.

    That said, it is the project of the New Agers and leftist who convert to other traditions to toss away their identity in the process, but this need not necessarily be the case. Take for example ancient Greeks exploring the wisdom of Egypt, they never lost their identity as Greeks or Romans converting to Christianity who never lost their identity as Romans, keeping their traditions and culture largely intact with such a conversion. When Japan became Buddhist they didn't become Indians or even Chinese who they received Buddhism from, but maintained their native identity and culture.

    So it seems to be based on conditions. The modern Western condition is one of self-hatred and willing dissolution, and hence conversions to foreign faiths are often motivated by a desire to be rid of their Westernness and absorption in the other.

    A smaller minority might have also come to the conclusion that their own tradition cannot lead them to where they wish to go (like Guenon) or, based upon philosophical or theological premises might have been lead to accept a foreign tradition and reject their own.
     
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  4. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    I just remembered Bishop Barron made a video somewhat related to the topic:

     
  5. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    I don't know. Where is there a living, Western Christianity to turn to? It exists but who sees it.
     
  6. Josaphat

    Josaphat Junior Member

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    Last edited: 22 May 2017
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  7. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    How is it natural to move from Catholic mysticism, whether orthodox (Silesius) or heretical (Eckhart), to Buddhism, exactly?
     
  8. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    Here's a piece of interest by DT Suzuki discussing Eckhart and Mahayana Buddhism/Zen:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mcb/mcb03.htm

    Silesius had much the same to say as Eckhart and indeed was influenced by him, much in the same way as Nicholas of Cusa. That they were orthodox and Eckhart was a heretic doesn't seem to hinge so much on the essence of their message as the more daring mystical language and socio-political circumstances surrounding the condemnation of some of Eckhart's writings (Bernard McGinn discusses this in detail in various places.)
     
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  9. Josaphat

    Josaphat Junior Member

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    Last edited: 22 May 2017
  10. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    I've read the claims made by Eckhart which were condemned as being either openly heretical or as leading towards heresy. It entirely hinges on the essence of what he said.

    Anyway, I have a deep suspicion about the sort of easy perennialism which breezes from Christian mysticism into that of other systems, for one simple reason: These arguments pay very little attention to the Christ. I am more than willing to say that there are a lot of connections between mystical reflections on the One-ness of God in one system and One-ness in another, or that there are lots of connections about apophaticism, or about personhood, etc. But it should go without saying that the Son is the defining core of Christianity: That it is a unique understanding of the ontology of Divine personhood, and that He has a distinctive role in a metaphysical conception of salvation. Yet He is mostly ignored by accounts of Christian mysticism which focus instead on whether some mystic is or is not pantheistic, and He is not considered relevant in a subtler understanding of Christian rites. I think, in these accounts, the Christ is mostly regarded as a literary figure, or at best as an allegorical symbol (in the same way that pagan deities are often interpreted, nowadays), which adorns a more generalisable mystical (or as it is seen: esoteric) core, - and which leads to, well, religion "in a purely sentimental sense." If, however, the primacy of the Christ were recognised in Christian mysticism, then I don't see how such comparisons could be sustained. He is not simply some God-incarnation like Krishna, nor some guru-like "Teacher of Love" (as the liberal "Christian" argues), nor even an "awakened" entity(?) like the Buddha.

    Could you elaborate?
     
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