A little background information to help understand the Procession of the Holy Spirit
The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in the mid-17th to later 18th century that sought to replace faith, superstition and the acceptance of divine rule with rationality, the belief in one’s own intelligence and a more empirical approach to the world. This brief explanation it inevitably misleading as the enlightenment included a diverse range of thinkers and lasted many generations.
Early Enlightenment thinkers such as Descartes and Isaac Newton had strong connections to the church; some later thinkers such as Voltaire and Spinoza were critical of religion; yet all emphasised rationality. The enlightenment overlapped with the Scientific revolution.
Liberal Christianity developed in the later 18th century, influenced by the rational ideals of the preceding Enlightenment. They tended to disregard miracles and factual views of the Bible; they saw the scriptures as a record of what the Biblical authors’ of the time believed rather than an accurate record of what actually occurred. The teachings of Christ were valued as the potential basis for an improved society, with love, charity and social justice strongly emphasised; superstition, belief in miracles was seen as backward and discouraged.
As the word ‘liberal’ is applied to many political movements, political parties, social reforms and religious ideologies it is easy to get confused. Even in the 19th century Liberal Christianity was confused with political liberalism, and the Pope had to clarify the issues as parishioners were being discriminated against because of their political beliefs. Similarly, liberalism should not be confused with progressive Christianity. The names of movements are often misleading.
It is a little strange that liberal movements that purportedly advocate rational thinking could result in greater religious diversity. Of course liberalism fits with diversity, especially as no one authority is accepted as the source of all beliefs. What is strange is that so many different views can all consider themselves rational. The premises for different perspectives are different, even if the structure of the developing logical arguments were the same. Intelligence is no guarantee that different minds will come to the same conclusion. Something other than rationality is at work here. Different individuals and groups come to arrive at different opinions; each makes sense to then mind that follows them. At least with liberalism we are expected to tolerate the different views, and understand that they are also the product of at least some rational thinking.
*Today’s blog post has been supplied to us by The Procession of the Holy Spirit submitted to the UCS University of California for completing the degree of Master of Theology.