Thursday, September 13, 2012

Final Swedenborg installment

At this point, I believe this will be the final Swedenborg post.  To be blunt, I have no desire to read one more word of his because it is a waste of time.  The stuff is so completely without merit, I can hardly believe that good, serious, decent and educated people have ever given it any credence or found something useful in it.  It is easy to understand why his name and writings have pretty much become obscure and forgotten.  Every time, I mention him to someone, even very educated philosophy people and theologians, they don't recognize the name.  Nevertheless, one comes across his name frequently when reading about other people who were influenced by him in the past.  This is something of an enigma.  And then, of course, there was the encounter with the author at Costco with his angel books, sold deceptively as "Christian romance."

I did have a chance to discuss the reading I have done and my analysis with educated people last night.  I think I'm good and finished now.  We talked about English literature and philosophy and anti-realism, and fact and fiction and the philosophy professor summarized it this way:  there are a lot of English professors doing bad philosophy. -- This could be a clue.

For some reason Imanuel Kant was taken with Swedenborg initially. I still wonder how this early appreciation influenced his philosophy;  (but not much;  I'm not wondering much;  barely, actually.)

Part of the mystique must have been that in times before actual space exploration and travel, people found the idea that all the planets have human life on them compelling.  This must have somehow caught their imagination.  (I am really straining to see what they saw.)

We can see that Joseph Smith was influenced by these ideas and copied many of them.  This is explored thoroughly here.  We already mentioned Quinn's book on magic in New England.  Someone mentioned somewhere that the fact that similar ideas appear with Swedenborg and Joseph Smith must somehow prove that they were divinely inspired.  This is most laughable.  (It must be the collective unconscious which told them both to talk to men on the moon and have many wives.)  

I never got much into writing about his rejection of justification by faith and decent theology taught by ministers in his area.  Swedenborg dismisses all the clergy as puffed up buffoons with their "education", doctrines, robes and offices.  Obviously, Swedenborg's fantastic non-sense did not go down well with them.  So Swedenborg counters the doctrine of justification by faith with the idea that people should have both "truth" (right doctrine) and "good"  (charity).  This he carried into everything he says, but only in the "spiritual" sense, without hardly any practical idea on how one should be good or better than other people.  Of course, one should be "open" on the "interior" like he is, which enabled him to speak to all these angels and spirits. Arguing in sequence from point to point and coming to conclusions this way was not a good thing.  This is likely where the theologians failed in his mind.  So, we have to take Swedenborg's word over the ordained minister's word or rational discussion.

I think not.

And we are also supposed to take it over the Bibles word, as we have seen already.   I think not, that either.

Back to the library with your books, Swedenborg.  They can just sit there.

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