Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 28th, 2018 by Joel Watts

Interview with Dr. Peter Bellini (via Dr. David Watson)

Dr. David Watson has an interview up with Dr. Peter Bellini about his new book.

This language strikes many Westerners, including Western Christians, as odd, irrelevant, or even superstitious. In ages past, people in the West understood themselves according to what philosopher Charles Taylor calls the “porous self.” They took for granted that the world was inhabited by spiritual beings, some good and some evil. They believed, moreover, that these spiritual beings exerted influence on their lives. Today, however, we have adopted a perspective Taylor calls the “buffered self.” We don’t see ourselves as subject to the influence of a spiritual world anymore. The emergence of the “buffered self” means that, while we may reject the “spiritual forces of wickedness” as a matter of ritual, we really can’t imagine what this rejection actually means for our lives.

It’s important to realize, however, that from a global perspective we in the West represent a minority report. Most people living today understand themselves as “porous” rather than “buffered.” Some Western intellectuals, moreover, are beginning to rediscover what it might mean to think of ourselves as susceptible to spiritual influences. Perhaps the buffered self is not the final word for Western Christians. Indeed, among Western Roman Catholics, exorcisms are on the rise.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

One Response to “Interview with Dr. Peter Bellini (via Dr. David Watson)”
  1. “spiritual forces of wickedness”, demonstrated quite well during the Kavanaugh Senate Hearings, by Democrats. Either that, or just plain stupidity by Spartacus. Clowns, all.

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