Foregone Conclusions

Adam Kotsko and others at AUFS have continued to put up engaging posts around religious dialogue and maintenance.  In the most recent post Adam proposes an attempt at ‘baggage-less Christianity’ in which conversation partners can be freed to talk about various aspects of their faith without assuming an intimate dependence on a whole other matrix of issues that the other conversation partner is likely not assuming.  As with the analogy the image is of the relationship in which one partner uses the other for projecting all their prior relationships which have nothing to do with the present.

I have some issues with this post most pointedly with Adam’s claim that his position can enable conversation with actual human beings.  I have no idea what this means other than an assumption that the people Adam is criticizing have no actual interest in real conversation.  Who are these actual human beings?  In any event the post points at a significant experience for many people.  When the topic of religion arises at least one of the conversation partners tends to have a clear goal in mind as to how things should end up.

What is at stake for me in this issue is the notion of whether or not Christians (myself most definitely included) will allow themselves to be surprised by God.  One of my own greatest revelations in reflecting on the Bible is how consistently those who are designated to receive God’s revelation misunderstand it, distort it, or pervert it.  If there is a guiding thread in biblical theology I would suggest it is humanity’s general inability to respond appropriately to God.  If this position can be accepted it would seem strange that the Christian religion would continue to maintain a choke-hold on its truth claims.  Well I suppose it is no surprise as it is the best attested biblical position.  In any event this preamble was mostly put in place to set up a song that Adam’s post reminded me of; David Bazan’s Foregone Conclusions.

I don’t want to believe that all of the above is true
But I could be persuaded if you were to give me proof
So why don’t you come over Thursday?
Maybe we can talk it through
As if some new information were possible
To comprehend or introduce

And after all
You and I are nothing more than
Foregone conclusions

You were too busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
To hear the voice of the Spirit begging you to shut the fuck up
You thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray
And besides, it could not have been the Lord
Because you don’t believe He talks that way

And after all
You and I are nothing more than
Foregone conclusions
Too close to call
Yet we’re still so tightly wound
Around our foregone conclusions

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