宗教左派(邱慕天)

Source Link:  本文首發於香港《時代論壇》 【全球視野】宗教左派。本文為作者增編修訂版。

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去年12月隨著台灣同性婚姻的街頭對立形式升高,我在《台灣醒報》撰述了〈宗教道德右派在意的不是基督教〉一文(同香港《端傳媒》轉載)並試圖指出,台灣宗教右派最強勢的政治指導綱領,並非來自基督教的歷史信仰傳承,甚至也不是北美的基要主義神學,而是保守群體的既有道德信念,及對其舒適圈利益的合法捍衛。

既有宗教右派,是否有「宗教左派」?據3月底《路透社》所言,在保守福音派力挺的川普總統當選後,美國的宗教左派正化作社運力量、於街頭成形。

該文旋即引發熱烈議論。美南浸信神學院長莫勒(Al Mohler)便是反對有任何已成氣候的「宗教左派」:他認為,左翼思想的信仰人士或許不少,但因關心的議程多元而分散,在與各種「進步價值」力量合作的過程中,群體特徵一下便消散;你分不出他們與世俗進步派的臉孔有何不同。

威斯康辛州聯合基督教會的牧師舒茲略帶挖苦地指出,美國唯一有組織政治行動的宗教左派叫做「民主黨」。民主黨是一個多數成員為基督徒的世俗政治社群,它的非宗教性恰好凸顯了「宗教左派」在社群意識黏著度低、信仰上欠缺明確輪廓。

「世俗左派」在墮胎、移民、經濟、女權、戰爭等都有特定立場。嚴謹的聖經詮釋很難對這些立場照單全收。多年前一項有趣的調查顯示,宗教右派的大宗乃是「常上教會卻不熟聖經」的基督徒;但隨著讀經頻率的加添──從聖經更多讀到上帝的心意,在社經、移民、種族問題上,都會更接近左派的取態,唯獨性道德觀還是趨向保守。

天主教宗方濟各即是如此──他挺移民和經濟重分配、卻反墮胎、與激進女權或性權論述的光譜遙遠。《路透社》報導採取寬鬆的認定將他列為「宗教左派」,卻對「宗教右派」採「樣樣須符合」的嚴格認定,標準可議。

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photo by media.salon.com

終究,以「基督宗教立場」進入各種社會倡議的挑戰,在於以上帝為名的人們,透過「神學」梳理信仰社群矛盾的能力、在於人們是否願意在「一主一信一洗」的啟示傳承下,進行有規範性的思想辯論。500年前的基督教改革以最血腥暴力的方式在歐洲發生,乃因足以協調教內歧異的「規範性權柄」已給改革瓦解。在名為「唯獨聖經」的口號下,竟淪到用武力拳頭決定:誰的詮釋正確?

左右政鬥至今日不曾脫離法國大革命以降的世俗議程。對一個真正在意教會與神學的人,「宗教左派顯影」僅是「公關意義」大於一切:向世人說明基督徒的社關取態不只「右翼道德十字軍」一種罷了。兩者卻同樣不足以作為基督真理的顯揚、不足以與那包覆世界內在框架(immanent frame)的耶穌政治掠美。

當教會上到「外邦人的法庭」進行政治鬥力與控訴,那無疑已是基督身體的破碎、道成肉身神學的失語。從宗教左右派身上,宗教改革的最大挑戰500年後仍在──那便是走出宗教戰爭的公共神學語境。

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[Sermon] 築壇不築城:我不要你們說一樣的話

築壇不築城:我不要你們說一樣的話

By 邱慕天

經節:創世記11:1-9;26-32;12:1-9 (經文閱讀

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人類都市的起源,根據創世記4章,是由人類第二代的該隱開始建造的。種田的他在因罪在外飄盪的日子中娶妻生子,之後建造了一座城,並按著他兒子的名將那城叫做「以諾」。以己名或是子孫姓名命名的做法,表明以城市與文明為自我主體的延伸和延續的心態。

從鄉村(伊甸園)生活進入到曠野,該隱對人身安全極度憂慮,不管說上帝已經給他在外的保護令,決心加速將文從從「農耕時代」過渡到「城堡時代」,此後不單打造了發揚自身技藝和文明的堡壘,更為子孫數代間開展游牧技藝、音樂、銅鐵器冶制等快速文明進步,奠定了基礎(創世記四章14-22節)。

從聖經接續的記載,我們知道這些英勇、先進、自尊自大的人類文明遠離了對上帝的敬畏,因而招致洪水的毀滅。洪水後,上帝雖說不再毀滅世界,但新造城市文明依然反映著「與上帝為敵」的價值觀。挪亞的受詛之子含與他後來的迦南、古實、寧錄等後裔,不僅再現了挪亞同期和前期那些「英武有名的人」之豪強形象,更同樣據地為王成為巴比倫、尼尼微、「大城」利鮮、所多瑪、蛾摩拉等示拿邪惡政權的城主(創世記10章)。

後來,其中一支就在示拿之地的巴別平原,以科技向天際線發起衝擊,不再探索、顧念上帝所造的繽紛世界。這就是巴別塔科技所引含的背景。

與同為跨時代的超級工藝的方舟類比,弟兄姊妹要知道,上帝不是反科技──祂甚至給了挪亞造舟的詳細設計圖。而是與方舟對比,巴別塔科技的美德(virtue)在反上帝、反創造:

  1. 第一,它展現人自我尊崇的企圖,不理會上帝的指示;
  2. 第二,它標榜狂飆突進的人本主義,容不下其他物種與生命;
  3. 第三,它的發展目標帶有攪擾雲、雨、日月、星辰等等屬天力量的強橫意圖,方舟卻是在狂暴的大水上彰顯以柔克剛的力量。
  4. 第四,與方舟游動、水平靈活運動相較,巴別塔如釘木樁一般僵固且垂直的發展模式,背離了上帝對人類發展的引導。

在巴別塔敘事的後半段,上帝「降臨」視察世人所建造的城和塔。仍然需要靠上帝主動地「紓尊降貴」來降罰,暗示了人的榮耀和本質無法企及上天。

上帝變亂示拿人的口音,阻止人類以榮耀己名為目的將資源集中和忽視了對大地甚至整個宇宙的經營,表明了文化與地理多元性的水平開展,是人類歷史的進程匠心獨運的引導。

這種巴別塔的心態,可能存在我們每一個人的老我生命中。我們害怕分散、害怕彼此說不同的語言,以致在舒適圈內把塔愈築愈高,把不是神的當作神。

儘管分散的意象通常象徵帝國的覆滅(如同猶太亡國後人門的四散),但人類往普天下去四散去正是此刻上帝的心意:「生養眾多,遍滿各地」。一如初代教會遭到逼迫而四散的主門徒們,因有聖靈「變亂」他們的口音而得以往普天下去傳講福音,從創世記十一章10節開始,舊約聖經餘下的敘事轉而聚焦在一個從示拿地出走的民族名祖,以及其後裔的故事──亞伯拉罕和希伯來民族。

亞伯拉罕成為「地上萬族祝福」的「多國之父」、「信心之父」並非偶然,而是與亞伯同為游牧為業的他,亞伯拉罕的信心生活,幾乎是刻意地展現一種與「巴別塔經驗」的反差。能夠聽憑上帝的指引築水草而居,而且每到一處,就築壇敬拜神。但他自己卻不為自己留名,也不事城郭的建造,而是以頭生的產業獻給神、將榮神的記號播在他經過的地方,心中「等候那座有根基的城,就是神所經營所建造的。」(希伯來書十一章10節)

「與神同行」伴隨著經濟上的祝福;對後巴別塔時期人類文明延續危機的擔憂,都藉著這段具有文明典範性的民族救恩歷史而得到靈感,和安慰。

作為亞伯拉罕後裔的基督徒要曉得,耶穌已藉「復活」摧毀了「取死的肉體」,將我們的生命轉化為「上帝的殿」,我們不再需要任何祖產、紀念碑、抑或任何巴別塔式的結構來為我們在這個空間存在留下「不朽」的記號──真正能不朽的只有我們「榮耀的身體」;敬虔的生活,要我們以信心向應許之地邁開腳步,獻在祭壇上的,則是我們生命全人的馨香活祭。

(以上以為講章摘要後的濃縮文字,由講員整理,刊登於中興新村浸信會週報 7.17.2016)

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[文摘] Donald Trump Exposes the Split Between Ordinary and Elite Evangelicals

Source Link:  Donald Trump Exposes the Split Between Ordinary and Elite Evangelicals

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/donald-trumps-evangelical-divide/458706/

In the Trump phenomenon, we see there is a growing divide between ordinary evangelicals and evangelical leaders. Michael Lindsay’s class distinction is as relevant as it was when he first explored it.

  • Evangelical populists are working-class Americans who are pragmatic in their politics. One poll shows 63% of them rally behind Trump.
  • Cosmopolitan evangelicals are highbrow cultural elites in business, media, academia, and politics. According to World magazine, high-ranking evangelical leaders favor Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

    They are supporters of the so-called Evangelical Immigration Table included the National Association of Evangelicals, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    When the Wall Street Journal reported, “Evangelicals push immigration path,” they mean them actually.

 

 

On La Croix’s (newspaper) interview with Pope Francis

Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.

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In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.

So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »

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But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »

« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »

Just the other day I was working on the German weekly Die Zeit’s cover story on Christian ecumenism in which ample external evidences are offered to suggest that Francis is a very Protestant-friendly Pope.

That pales in comparison to his internal convictions stated here though. You can see how « Protestant reformed » this Pope is.

[文摘] Ministers at mega-churches may soon have to render unto Caesar

A recent article by the economist addresses the problem of Christianity in South Korea’s [charismatic] megachurches, specifically, « prosperity gospel » and « tax-evasion » (the law in South Korea that exempts religious clerics from paying income tax is undergoing revision, which is welcomed by the general public but opposed by these ‘successful’ church leaders).

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A few crucial facts that are also mentioned in this article include that

  • South Korea is the only advanced country that exempts its clergy from all taxation. Still, many Buddhist monks and Protestant pastors pay dues voluntarily on their personal incomes; all Catholic priests have done so since 1994.
  • In a recent poll of 1,000 South Koreans by the Christian Ethics Movement, a local reformist body, only two in ten thought Protestantism was trustworthy.
  • The capital, Seoul, is home to 17 [charismatic] mega-churches with over 2,000 members each. Ministers manage them like businesses.
  • But Pentecostalism is losing some of its appeal. Koreans are increasingly drawn to Catholicism, which they regard as more humble and serious. According to the latest census, the number of Catholics grew by three-quarters in the decade to 2005, to make up 11% of the population. Protestants were 18%.