It's all about balance. The string began by some folk gushing about the wondrous new movie about their wondrous savior. I balanced it. Big deal.
My wife, who is a Christian, went to see the movie last night. She thought it was okay. My son, who's not made up his mind about such stuff, thought it was "all right, but gross".
I think Ray Bradbury's positions on intolerance are well documented. He's an amazingly sweet man admired by millions of human beings.
Pardon to all who were offended by my posts; I mean no disrepect to anyone except bigots and racists. This thread has indeed went a bit too far; why not move away from religion totally and concentrate on something else? Ie; did anyone hear the interview with Bradbury yesterday? (I missed it, though I would love a quick summary of it if anyone is up to the task).
Here's your Bradbury tie-in. Has anyone read Bradbury's "The Man" (1949), in which a spaceship captain keeps arriving on a planet just after a christ-figure has departed?
As a matter of fact, Mr. Dark had quite an interesting post on this not too terribly long ago. It's too bad he's decided to leave this thread, though I don't blame him at all.
In trying to defend the views of others, I may have played more than a small part in keeping this thread going. Wouldn't be the first time. At least I've tried to keep the tone civilized. I apologize to anyone who may have been offended.
Since we're back to Bradbury, here's the post:
Member posted 03-05-2003 02:21 AM
I agree that "The Man" (in A Medicine For Melancholy in my library) deals with this quest thing. Using the terms that the quest is either inward or outward seems to apply to Bradbury's sense of religion except: (1) A lot of the "good" searching man does in Bradbury is outward (space, etc.), (2) In This story, "The Man," there actually is a "man" (the references to 2000 years of searching, and to the healings, etc., make this a clear reference to Christ -- as opposed to a generic religious figure). So that, while peace is an inward experience, in this story, at least, the finding of peace is tied to the Christ and his teachings. But is does get a bit more complex.
Interestingly, when Captain Hart realizes the person who had been there was Christ, his search for Christ becomes totally external, and thus mises the point. So the inward/outward division is both true and false in this story.
But a lot of perspectives on religion come out of this story.
The original question in the story is posited by Captain Hart when he asked why man always seeks, always searches, is always on the go? Martin speculates that man is seeking peace, as there is none on Earth. So at this point, the seeking seems okay as manifest in an external pursuit. Captain Hart responds that Darwin has done away with traditional beliefs and a belief in a divine power. The scientific process has replaced it.
When they land on the planet, Captain Hart is offended that no one seems to care that they have arrived. Martin indicates it is because a "remarkable man appeared -- good, intelligent, compassionate and infinitely wise!" The people on the planet had been waiting for him for a long time. When he arrived, nothing else seemed important. So in the story, what we see is that this central figure (who clearly represents Christ) has appeared and that that appearance transcends EVERYTHING else going on on that planet.
Captain Hart is suspicious that it is a rival Earth ship, but in either case, his response is that he doubts this "religious" event. He immediately tries to define it ("This man who got here before us, what was his name?") and subject it to empirical scrutiny. Of course, part of the point of the story is that real religion is not subject to scientific scrutiny. It is also hard to say that the scope of God/religion can be circumscribed by our pathetic language. Can we really define an infinite God within the confines of a finite language? But this is what Captain Hart wants -- linguistic definitions and scientific scrutiny.
Martin recognizes that if the Captian can't understand what happened, there is no way he can tell him. In the story, there are people who understand the religious event (intuition? Spiritual sensitivity?) and people who don't. Those who don't will not be made to understand it by words, because religion transcends words. To attempt to encircle the infinite in language is doomed to failure. God is known some other way.
Again, the Captain's focus is on what the man looked like ("it is not important," says the mayor), and what evidence can be offered to prove the healings. When none is offered, the Captain scoffs and belittles it. Without scientific verification, there is no truth.
When the captain challenges the faith of these people, Martin intercedes. He trusts them and tells the captain that their faith is more powerful and meaningful than his rigid cynicism.
". . . they've got something you'll never have -- a little simple faith, and they'll move mountains with it. . . This is what I came looking for. I didn't know it, but this is it. This is for me. Take your filth somewhere else and foul up other nests with your doubt and your -- scientific method! . . . These people have had an experience, and you can't seem to get it through your head that it's really happened and we were lucky enough to almost arrive in time to be in on it."
Martin argues for the phenomenalogical reality of the religious experience. This is a fundamental difference between religion and theology/philosophy. Religion is about real, subjectively lived experience. While thought and reflection are both important parts of religion; religion is rooted in a personal experience. The Captain can't have this because part of that religious experience is in being open to it's possibility. He lives in a world of scientific abstraction, but religion is ingrained in the world of real and personal experience.
The question of belief and free will is in this story also. The Captain won't believe, and Martin accuses him of not wanting to believe. That 'not wanting' is what prevents the belief. In Martin's case, this fulfills what he was looking for. He shares in the faith of these people. He chooses to open himself to thier experience and he can participate in that faith experience with them. The Captain is not interested in this. He yells at Martin to wake up and realize that we live in the real world. The real world, as defined by Captain Hart, is that we are "real, dirty people". This vision is simply not open to the religious experience.
The subjectivity of the religious experience is pointed out by the Mayor when he tells Captain Hart that, "Each finds him in his own way". Each person's encounter with God will be different. The religious experience is real, but it is also subjective. Hart and Martin and the Mayor are having varying experiences of the same event. This subjective variance (in the story, at least) seems correct. Because the religious experience is grounded in the subjective encounter, it will vary from person to person.
When the Captain begins to believe that this event occured, he is still unable to internalize it with an interior experience, so he begins an almost Ahab-like quest to find the physical person. He will travel until he finds him. But as the Mayor points out, Captain Hart will always miss him. He will miss him because the physical being of the body of Christ is not subjectively important. He can be experienced inside each person. The physical whereabouts don't matter. But Hart can't see this. He must get to the physical body. This will never get him to a personal encounter with God.
As Hart leaves the planet, of course, we find that "the Man" has not left, and Martin and the others go off to meet him with the Mayor. The point of the story, though, is that the religious encounter has already occured, because it is a matter of the interior, subjective experience of God -- not a physical meeting of a person himself. The awe, the reverence, the peace, are internal."
"the intolerance, ignorance, and hatred so typical of his religion"
James Robert Smith, you are no better than that man at your work! Ever since I've noticed your presence here on this site over the past week or so, I've heard nothing from you but rude remarks and belittling of others' views on a number of different threads. Now you are offended at ONE PERSON'S comment to you at work, and what do you do? You do exactly what he did. You make a negative generalization about another religion based on ONE bad apple! Shame on you! You could be so much better than that, but because you have stooped to the same level as the ignorant fool at your work, you are no better, and I have no respect for anything you say. I sincerely hope that you will open your mind and heart to humanity.
Folks don't get upset, with James Robert Smith, he's the one who used Ray Bradbury's name a few weeks ago.
Who shot JR!!!!!JRS
Thanks for coming to the rescue. We oughtta gather your posts together and sell 'em as some sort of Mr. Dark's Greatest Hits. Not available in stores! Call now! Etc.
I have not have had the time to even begin to read the last previous posts, but I Will... in the meantime, a quick rundown on this weekend, and my "Drunk and in Charge of a Bicycle"...
Ray didn't show up for the closing night performance of his play, "Drunk and in Charge of a Bicycle". Faithful Patrick was there, and if anyone knew for sure if Ray was going to show up, it was Patrick. And the answer was "No." Ray was not feeling well. Many were disappointed.
I snuck a few pictures, without flash, until the flash accidentally went off (twice)...where I thought for sure I would be thrown out, especially when someone whispered in my ear...No Pictures. I realized after the play that I had actually participated in a one person anthem sprinting, without the anthem. The last picture setting off the flash, I figured I would be bound and gagged and thrown overboard in Irish bog of undetermined locations. Before the applause was finished, I was outside the theater.
So, look for photos on my website a next week. As always, the play was entertaining, all Bradbury...but I miss additional music...and the central figure in the first play (there were 2 stories presented that evening)...was George Bernard Shaw, and the actor definitely looked like GBS himself.
I called Ray up at home the following day and tho sounding cheerful on the phone, he let me know he WAS NOt feeling well, or he would not have missed Saturday night performance, and that he had to go for more tests, and Doctor's reprot like today (MOnday) or tomorrow... We chatted for a few minutes, and he told me that Mel Gibson STILL has involvement with Fahrenheit 451, and an important involvement. So this should all prove interesting in what comes of all this...
Rainy, about 58 degrees
This is Southern California??
Sorry for triplicate posting
(Thanks, Fullerton Library touchy internet machines!!)
[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 03-01-2004).]
Sorry for this triplicate posting
[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 03-01-2004).]
Ha! I liked that. I've had my suspicions.
Maybe we could get Mr. Dark to sign our first edition copies?
That was some bittersweet news. I'm really happy that Mel Gibson is still along with this effort. And of course I hope Mr. Bradbury feels a lot better. Thanks a lot for the news. I know I'm not alone in saying that I appreciate your taking your time to share your friendship with the great author.
Is the new FARENHEIT 451 screenplay online somewhere?
Spoken like a true scapegoater. Your kind's had plenty of practice.
"Your kind?" And what kind would that be?
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