Interesting post from Brian Zahnd on the absence of mystery in today’s approach to faith: The X-Files Is Better Than Scooby-Doo. I particularly like the opening paragraph:
Fundamentalism was born as the wrongheaded reaction to the crisis of modernity. Ironically, fundamentalism is an approach to faith that accepts modernity’s now discredited claim that empiricism is the sole source of knowledge. Feeling intimidated by the Scientific Revolution, fundamentalism takes a “scientific” approach to the Bible — which is perhaps the worst of all ways to approach Scripture. The Bible is not interested in giving or even competing with scientific explanations. What Scripture gives us is inspired glimpses of the Divine Mystery. The point is never to “prove” the Bible, but to enter into the mystery through the portal of Scripture. The Bible has no interest in “proving” itself — it has no need to do this and makes no attempt to do so. What the Bible is, is the Spirit-inspired sign that points us to the true Word of God — the Word made flesh. And the Word made flesh is the greatest of all sacred mysteries. Any approach to the Incarnation that does not treat it as a sacred mystery is an act of desecration. If we insist on explaining the mysteries of faith — the bane of fundamentalism — mysteries like the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Parousia, the new birth, baptism, the Eucharist — we inevitably reduce rich mysteries to cheap certitudes. In the search for certitude and a penchant for Bible-Answer-Man explanation, the intrinsically artistic nature of the Christian mystery is turned into gift shop simulacra. Fundamentalism is to Christianity what paint-by-numbers is to art.
I think you can take the mystery aspect too far, and I am increasingly of the belief that something along the lines of Andrew Perriman’s Narrative-Historical approach is the best way to get out of this modernist cul-de-sac evangelicals are trapped in, but Brian makes some good points and adds a valuable perspective.
I also really like this sentence:
Freed from the shackles of scientific positivism, the postmodern soul not only accepts the presence of mystery, it craves it.
Read the whole thing to see where Scooby-Doo and the X-Files comes in.