Search This Blog

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fundamentalism And The Talents

I received my comment about my post Drunk On Power, which was a slam on Islamic fundamentalism as expressed by the Saudi ruling elite.
As I acknowledged the comment, it dawned upon me - and I wrote down - that Fundamentalism is actually an escape from responsibility.

 Not very long ago, I posted about the parable of the Talents from the New Testament.;postID=392867342484688671;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=1;src=link

The story is that a man had three stewards. He was going away for awhile, and he entrusted each steward with a certain amount of money. The third steward receives the least amount, just one talent, and he buries his talent in the ground, whereas the first two put theirs to work in the workplace and reap some good returns:
(The third servant, however, has merely hidden his talent in a hole in the ground, and is punished:)

He also who had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours."

But his lord answered him, "You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
I looked a long time for an intelligent explication of this, but I did not look long enough, because I could not find one. Most of them seemed to be fixated on the meaning of "talent" as "God given abilities", rather than "talent" as a sum of money.

The Talents, the sums of money, represent the Torah, the Law given to the children of Israel.

If you receive the benefit of the Law, yet you hide it out of sight and out of mind, you are wicked and slothful; you are, indeed, a fundamentalist who wants to get back to a simpler time and a simpler interpretation.
By burying the Torah, the Law, we remove it from the "market" of mankind, the ongoing history of humanity. Changing times require changing understanding. If God did not want change, the universe would have been immobile and static.
But the universe is dynamic. It is filled with the palaver and negotiation of minds and tongues, of accusations and recriminations, of blessings and prayers, of rights and wrongs, and nothing stays the same. Even in jurisprudence there are some judges who fancy themselves able to go back to the time of the Founding Fathers and read their minds from the Constitution they have buried deep in some political fundamentalist grave.

Fundamentalism is truly an escape from our most serious responsibilities. Fundamentalism is an attempt to break out of the scarey place called Being-in-the-World and jump over the wall to Death-in-Life.
Living in the detailed infinity of God's creation is true Being and Becoming, while Fundamentalism is the Nothingness of the denial of progress in understanding and the denial of increase in grace.

By way of being extra-tedious, I also mentioned in my comment response how I do not use the term "belief".  You must be very tolerant and kind to read my postings.