Friday, April 13, 2007

Christian Revelation On Traffic Lights and Fundamentalism

“…traffic signal technology has greatly expanded and has become a critical element in the safe and efficient control of traffic on our streets and highways. By providing alternate right of way to various traffic movements, traffic signals are used to control the assignment of vehicular or pedestrian right of way at locations where potentially hazardous conflicts exist.”-- Traffic Signals

“The Church is no stranger to this journey of discovery, nor could she ever be. From the moment when, through the Paschal Mystery, she received the gift of the ultimate truth about human life, the Church has made her pilgrim way along the paths of the world to proclaim that Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). It is her duty to serve humanity in different ways, but one way in particular imposes a responsibility of a quite special kind: the diakonia of the truth.(1) This mission on the one hand makes the believing community a partner in humanity's shared struggle to arrive at truth; (2) and on the other hand it obliges the believing community to proclaim the certitudes arrived at, albeit with a sense that every truth attained is but a step towards that fullness of truth which will appear with the final Revelation of God: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully”(1 Cor 13:12).”--John Paul II- ENCYCLICAL LETTER – FIDES ET RATIO

“..., the belief that there is indeed truth, valid and binding truth, within history itself, in the figure of Jesus Christ and in the faith of the Church, is referred to as fundamentalism, which appears as the real assault upon the spirit of the modern age and manifested in many forms, as the fundamental threat to the highest good of the age, freedom and tolerance.” Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal, Truth and Tolerance – Christian Belief and World Religions-pg 120

There is something to be said not only of a faith that express it self in concrete, discernible fashion, but also of material that exist or was created for dare I say a fundamental reason. Let me draw upon that which is most necessary when all is well and most despised when one is running late, namely a traffic signal. It is without doubt a thing most needed and most come across our everyday life, regardless of our sentiments, deadlines, and pressing needs to be happy at all times. I fancy that at the same time it is safe to say that the traffic signal has no grand design on its own or by democratic election to someday become a light house. It is often said of Christians in general and Catholics in particular that we profess to blind fundamentalism, that does not allow one to live a full life and evolve to encompass all things to all people.

The claim that one who professes a fundamental notion, be it a creed, dogma on ones own or with the whole church, is an individual who is uncaring, hateful and rigid, must be necessarily confronted with the fundamental of what is and has been designed to be. On my daily commute which consist of taking my wife and two children each to their respective locations, it is at the traffic signal where regardless of a personal revelation of faith, or if you are a Democrat, Republican, Pro-War, Anti-War, happy, depressed, fed up, or simply do not care that we all stop before something fundamental in concept, design, implementation and construction. Those who would seek via a notion of self-autonomy and self-determination, and right of self expression, willingly (allow me to use the word) submit to what ultimately has been given or conferred with authority, to show what is right and wrong. The urge to be free and speak and live as one wishes and wants, concedes to something beyond that by itself does not speak solely on its own, but was given to speak on behalf of another. This notion as such speaks of a truth that goes beyond the natural capacity of those who would speak of being able to determine by and for them selves what is right and wrong and would deny any notions of truth.

It is my opinion, that the traffic signal did not derive so much out of a necessity of a certain political or economic theory, so much as an idea of reveling a necessity of a political or economic reality. The individual(s) who considers themselves progressive and open to all and closed to any fundamentalism will soon discover the concrete realty, that if he where to purchase a modern and progressive lock for his door it should be no surprise that if the lock would not yield to a burglar with a crowbar at hand, it should be more understanding to a thrust by the leg. In quoting John Paul II one can read for themselves, that Catholic inquiry in to philosophy and revelation is a journey not one that closes off one self, but opens to where faith and reason converge, in contrast to a fundamental inquiry that starts with the self and accepts only ones experience and feelings. The Church speaks of a certitude she was given in a fundamental fashion, not of our own making or out of self aspirations, but out of a revelation, namely, fundamentally and most emphatically Jesus the Christ, the Logos of God!!!

1 comment:

Ruth said...

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