"The canonical literature does not offer a settled, coherent account of reality; rather it provides the materials for ongoing disputatious interpretation." - Walter Brueggemann

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The 40 Best Albums of 2015

40. Blossoming Decay - Noisem

39. Amusers and Puzzlers - Sightings

38. Hysteria - Drainolith

37. Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP - Aphex Twin

36. Corn - Arthur Russell

35. Days - Earthly

34. Country Music - Vision Fortune

33. Moonbuilding 2703 AD - The Orb

32. Painted Shut - Hop Along

31. Goon - Tobias Jesso, Jr.

30. La Vie Est Belle - Petite Noir

29. Poison Season - Destroyer

28. On Your Own Love Again - Jessica Pratt

27. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit - Courtney Barnett

26. No Cities to Love - Sleater-Kinney

25. Grief's Infernal Flower - Windhand

24. Portal/Well - Insect Ark

23. Sleeping Tapes - Jeff Bridges

22. Never Were the Way She Was - Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld

21. Every Open Eye - CHVRCHES

20. Art Angels - Grimes

19. Fading Frontier - Deerhunter

18. Remixes Made with Tennis Data - James Murphy

17. Escape from Evil - Lower Dens

16. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper - Panda Bear

15. Elaenia - Floating Points

14. Me - Empress Of

13. Platform - Holly Herndon

12. Deep in the Iris - Braids

11. Nymphs II, III, and IV - Nicolas Jaar

10. Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments - David Borden

9. Have You in My Wilderness - Julia Holter

8. New Bermuda - Deafheaven

7. Thank Your Lucky Stars - Beach House

6. VEGA INTL. Night School - Neon Indian

5. b'lieve i'm goin down - Kurt Vile

4. In Colour - Jamie xx

3. Depression Cherry - Beach House

2. Currents - Tame Impala

1. Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens

Honorable Mention:
Revisionist - Sannhet
Blues: The 'Dark Paintings' of Mark Rothko - Loren Connors
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside - Earl Sweatshirt
Another One - Mac Demarco
The Offer - Yowler

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Music in 2015 - Superlatives


Best Album Covers:

Crooked Doors - Royal Thunder

Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens

The Waterfall - My Morning Jacket

Every Open Eye - CHRVCHES

Currents - Tame Impala

New Bermuda - Deafheaven

Worst Album Covers:

Rebel Heart - Madonna

Policy - Will Butler

Drones - Muse

Best lyrics: Kurt Vile, "Wheelhouse"

"Some bow down a hundred times a day or more

Find a way to get them to the temple one day

Find a temple to bask in the glory of

Roll around on a floor of furry carpet there

Sleep soundly for the first time in forever and

Breathe in deep and sigh"

Best Metal Album:
New Bermuda - Deafheaven

Most Overrated Album:
I Love You, Honeybear - Father John Misty

Most Underrated Album:
Deep in the Iris - Braids

Most Disappointing Album:
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World - The Decemberists

Best New Artist: Holly Herndon

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Queer Love is My Drug: A Marxist Critique of Queer Theology

Being queer is good. I don't think there is anything wrong with it. Queer persons should be accepted the way they are.

I also think the task of queer theology is important, because it provides a much-needed voice in biblical and theological discussions. Queer theologians are right to make faith and academic circles aware of what matters to the queer community, and in what ways theology is serving the queer community.

Indeed, there are many positive characteristics of queer theology itself. It enables queer persons to do theology in a language and with symbols that resonate with them, and it enlightens the very important theological doctrine which states that God identifies with outcasts. James Cone expressed that, for him, saying "Jesus was black" was his way of saying "Jesus was a Jew." A similar thing is being done in queer theology, and I fully support that. 

There is, however, in my mind room for critique of queer theology, or at least certain manifestations of it. Specifically, I see in queer theology the perfect embodiment of Marx's understanding of religion.

Karl Marx wrote very little on religion, but what he did write has become infamous. His classic statement is that religion "is the opium of the people."[1] Whether or not this is true of religion, or even of Christianity, I think it is true of queer theology.

The goal of queer theology is to build theology around the queer community, to use theology to address the concerns of queer persons. It is the "queering" of God, making God in the image of the queer community. In Marx's words, the queer person "looked for a superman [Übermensch] in the fantastic reality of heaven and found nothing there but the reflexion of himself."[2]

In an exaggerated form of Schleiermacher's Gefühl, queer theologians look inward to find knowledge of God. Modelling Nietzsche's transvaluation of values,[3] queer theorists claim that queer is true, queer is good, and so theology is constructed around queer-centered readings of Scripture, queer-centered reason, queer-centered use of tradition, and the end-all-be-all, queer experience.[4]

Included in this is a critique of established social norms. The thinking goes, life has been interpellated for us as being made up of boundaries and binaries, but queer people should challenge these boundaries and dissolve them, and once we do so we find that there is nothing wrong with casual sexual activity with anyone and everyone. Lesbian ethicist Kathy Rudy, for example, suggests that "nonmonogamous sex acts--including anonymous and communal sex--can be viewed in terms of a progressive ethic of hospitality."[5] For Rudy, Christian hospitality can be found in "a circuit part, a gathering for nude erotic massage at the Body Electric School, or a sex party."[6]

In defense of this conception, queer theologian Patrick Cheng says that the radical love of God "is so extreme that it dissolves existing boundaries," and so sin consists of "the reinforcing of the boundaries that keep categories separate and distinct from each other."[7] Here, we have Nietzsche's transvaluation of values: queer persons observe the alienation and oppression they experience from the heterosexual world, and determine that that world is evil, and the queer world, which breaks down boundaries and overcomes binaries, is the good world. 
Subsequently, criticism of one's desires is completely eradicated. Your desire to have sex with a stranger, or to have sex with multiple partners, and so on, are good desires, and acting on them is good. Denying yourself would be the wrong thing.  

My difficulty with this construal of reality is that it seems to me a collective inflammation of the ego, taking the queer experience, projecting it onto the Absolute, and universalizing it. The 'I', then, is above criticism--there is nothing wrong with me, all of my desires and feelings are good, and so on. This, to me, is hedonism, making pleasure the supreme good, and the pursuit of it the ultimate human task. 

One is not surprised to find that there has even been an affirmation of porn-watching as a spiritual activity in the queer community.[8] There is a danger with this kind of hedonistic ego inflammation: queer persons become so preoccupied with the pursuit of their sexual pleasure that they overlook the oppression of others.

One would think the experience of queer persons would lead them to be mindful of oppressed persons, rather than consumed by the pursuit of sexual pleasure. On the contrary, instead of talking about sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of queer persons in pornography, queer theorists talk about the place of porn-watching in queer spirituality. Pleasure, not justice, becomes the aim of life.

Queer theologian Paul Lakeland even proposes "a new 'ecclesiology of desire'": in place of "the notion of a spouse [which] implies a degree of possession and permanence in relationships," he says the church should "use desire as a metaphor to describe itself," which would open up "a myriad of queer relational configurations, from platonic friendships to one night stands to life partners."[9]

Another queer theologian, Robert Shore-Goss, talks about his erotic love for Jesus, describing his fantasy of a "naked Jesus as a muscular, handsome, bearded man," and writing that during "passionate lovemaking, I felt Christ in a way that I only experienced in my solitary erotic prayer."[10]

I think even Marx would be surprised at this use of theology. This isn't just opium, it's Aldous Huxley's soma. In fact, much of queer theology reminds me of Brave New World, which depicts a social world totally consumed by the pursuit of pleasure, especially sexual pleasure. 

Queer theology then projects this activity onto God. Cheng, for example, depicts the Trinity as "a fluid-bonded polyamorous three-way relationship," adding that, "each person in the divine three-way is both male and female as well as top and bottom."[11] Furthermore, Marcella Althaus-Reid believes "the Trinity needs to be understood as an orgy, which breaks down the privileging of binary and pair-bonded relationships."[12]

Freud would describe queer theology as wish-fulfillment:[13] the queer person's feeling of vulnerability after coming out was answered by the support of the queer community, and that experience is then used to fabricate a God that responds to the queer person in the same way. Theology becomes an intimate, even erotic, experience in which one looks deep into one's self and finds in one's desires the truth of the universe. 

And that, I think, is what's wrong with hedonistic queer theology: it is more masturbation than truth-seeking.

[1] Karl Marx, “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” in On Religion (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2008), 42.
[2] Ibid., 41.
[3] See Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003).
[4] See Patrick Cheng, Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology (New York: Seabury Books, 2011), 11–20.
[5] Ibid., 13.
[6] Ibid., 109.
[7] Ibid., 74.
[8] Ron Long, “A Place for Porn in a Gay Spiritual Economy,” Theology & Sexuality: The Journal of the Institute for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality 8, no. 16 (2002), 21–31.
[9] Cheng, 108.
[10] Robert Shore-Goss, quoted in Ibid., 19.
[11] Cheng, 56 and 58.
[12] Ibid., 58.
[13] See Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion, trans. James Strachey (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1961).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: The Uncontrolling Love of God by Thomas Jay Oord

Oord, Thomas Jay. The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2015. ★★★★☆

Thomas Jay Oord is, for me, one of the most compelling open/relational theologians writing today. His particular construction of open theology resolves some of the serious problems that arise in the work of other open theologians. He accomplished this in his 2010 book The Nature of Love: A Theology, by seeking to lay out a coherent theology that revolves around love. In his new book The Uncontrolling Love of God, he uses his theology of love to address the issue of providence, particularly as it pertains to the problem of evil.

He begins in chapter one by claiming that "tragedy needs explanation." If we have any theology, it needs to reckon with the evil and suffering we experience in concrete reality. He names this concrete reality by telling several stories that involve atrocities no good theologian could bear to overlook in addressing the question of evil and providence. Wherever our analysis goes in the forthcoming pages, he says, we must refer back to these stories as the standard for whether or not our theology is compelling.

In the second chapter, he discusses the inherent randomness of life, referring to experience and to science. His discussion of randomness based on science is more compelling than that of experience, (I will return to his treatment of experience in my overview of chapter three) but his overall point is a good one—to demonstrate that, empirically, we don't consider the universe as determined. Scientists recognize elements of unpredictability in the established order, and we in our experience assume such unpredictability.

But randomness, he says, is only one side of the coin. The other consists of life's "regularities"—such as, laws of nature, and morality. These regularities show that the universe is not altogether unpredictable, but is rather partly open and partly determined.

In chapter three, Oord deals with the topic of free agency. He applies his partly-open-partly-determined view of the universe to the human's free will. Humans are not absolutely free, he says, because we, by nature, have limited options:
We all know that we cannot do just anything we might imagine. For instance, we cannot fly to Mars this afternoon. We cannot change from being humans and become toads. We cannot all be president at once. We cannot freely put the entire moon in our basements. There are many things we cannot do, so skeptics say we must not be free at all. They seem to define free will as choosing among unlimited options and having no constraints. (58)
My criticism of this passage is that Oord does not provide an example of a "skeptic" who, seeing that a human can't become a toad, claims humans have no freedom at all. This seems like an exaggeration of the skeptic's case against free will. The passage also seems like a very conservative analysis of the human's limited options. What of the limitations placed on us because of our cultural conditioning, i.e. our presuppositions, established categories, inherent cognitive framework, etc.? Oord's silence regarding human situaded-ness makes me wonder if he thinks a human can assess options in an unmediated manner.

This leads to my next criticism of Oord's chapter on freedom--his argument from 'experience':
The most powerful evidence for free will is our own personal experience. In the way we act, we all inevitably presuppose we are, at least to some degree, free. I call this an experiential nonnegotiable. (60) 
Free will is an experiential nonnegotiable, and our personal experiences tell us something true about the nature of reality. (61)
I sympathize with this approach, while, however, not being uncritical of it. I sympathize with it because, at the end of the day, we are dependent on our experience to receive any information about the material —so much so that it is even possible the "material world" is an illusion! I am critical of it, however, because it neglects the possibility that we could be misled by our experience, that the Truth could be much different than what our experience leads us to believe.

Why does Oord think we can trust our experience regarding questions of ultimate significance? Is our experience not mediated by cultural conditioning, evolutionary conditioning, and finite scope? If I were to, for example, deem my shirt blue, I would, in Oord's mind, be justified because my experience tells me my shirt is blue. However, we know that the colors we see aren't descriptive of the objects our minds attach to them, independently of our perception. A humorous example of this, with a blue and black dress, recently went viral. The dress was blue and black, but that didn't stop thousands from seeing it as white and gold.

If Oord's argument for free agency is personal experience, I think it is in trouble, because I don't think personal experience can be used as valid evidence of ultimate truth.

Oord also discusses "the problem of good" in chapter three. He says that, while theists have to reckon with evil, atheists have to reckon with good. "The problem of good is a real problem for unbelievers," he says (68). His only justification for this claim, however, is the assumption that phenomena must have explanations. If something is good, you have to explain why it is possible for good to exist in the world. But why do you have to explain it? He says "to make sense of life" (69), but he assumes that life is ours to make sense of, and I do not think this is a valid assumption. Already, in whatever ancient year it was, the book of Job claimed that the proper posture toward the chaotic abyss of the universe was humility and uncertainty. I think this might be a better framework than Oord's necessity of making sense of life.

In chapter four, Oord provides a helpful overview of different theologies of divine providence, complete with the problems he sees in various ones. They are too numerous to repeat here, but suffice it to say, Oord's overview is widely encompassing and well-balanced.

Chapter five includes Oord's overview of open and relational theology. He avoids merely repeating what has been published several times by including authors which have not normally seen the light of scholarship, such as Lorenzo D. McCabe, T. W. Brents, Jules Lequyer, Uriah Smith, and Edgar S. Brightman. Open theologians have much to uncover in the history of open and relational theology, and a lot of uncovered material to analyse, and it is commendable for Oord to begin to do so here.

Also included in chapter five is a fair comparison of process theology and open theology, as well as a helpful overview of the ways in which science has been in dialogue with open theology.

Perhaps the best chapter is the following one, which deals with John Sanders' theology of providence. In The Nature of Love, Oord looked at Clark Pinnock's theology, laying out in what ways it is strong and similar to his own, and explaining what he thinks its inadequacies are. He does the same with Sanders, and his criticism of Sanders ends up being quite similar to his criticism of Pinnock. That is, they both claim that God's is omnipotent and could always intervene to stop evil but often allows it to happen so that humans can be free. Oord, in both accounts, does a very good job of revealing how problematic these claims are. "The one who could stop genuine evil by restraining the perpetrator of evil," he says, "is morally responsible—or better, culpable—for permitting the painful consequences" (142-143)—and I could not agree more. He compellingly demonstrates that, in Sanders' theology, love does not come first.

For those who are familiar with Oord's work, there are no real surprises in the seventh chapter, for in it Oord offers his alternative to the models of God's providence he analyzed throughout the book—his "essential kenosis" theology, which claims that God is necessarily limited in power because it is in God's loving nature as a creator to share power with creatures. While as an a/theologian I find it ultimately unsatisfying (for reasons too complicated to go into here), Oord's "essential kenosis" theology remains, for me, the most compelling construction of open theology to date.

Oord's final chapter deals with the question of miracles. Orthodox Christians—including open theists, such as Sanders—often object to Oord's theology by pointing to miracles, which seem to them to be examples of God's unilateral, coercive (?) activity. He has responded to this objection before, but here he dives into it in a more extensive manner. While an interesting assessment of the topic, I don't think Oord's response to the problem of miracles will sway his critics. I think he would do better to dialogue with historical-critical biblical scholarship on the subject, but part of Oord's project seems to be trying to keep an orthodox theology in tact while following his theological convictions. It is a noble task, even if a troublesome one.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Strange World of Planet Earth: Pope Francis’ Encyclical and Prophetic Science Fiction

Series Introduction:
We live in an era of science fiction films quite different from the one we had half a century ago. Today, Transformers and super hero franchises take the cake. Additionally, there are a host of reboot films that take sci-fi classics and make them more modern. Jurassic World, Star Trek, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are such examples. The modern emphasis is on heroism, action, and fun. Very little emphasis is placed on writing in these kinds of films, and, as a result, they focus much less on social commentary, which was an almost universal characteristic of sci-fi films in the 1950s and 60s. Even when the elements for social commentary are there—as in Mad Max: Fury Road and Elysium—they are hardly explored. Sci-fi movies today are just more action movies.

In an effort to cultivate appreciation for the social commentary of classic sci-fi films, I am doing a series of posts on the cultural statements of various sci-fi films from the 1950s and 60s. Hopefully in the future we will see more sci-fi films that resurrect this central aspect of science fiction, as it seems unlikely to me that people can go on enjoying movies that consist of the same kinds of flashy, prolonged action sequences, weak plots, and poor dialogue.

Since the world began, ever-inventive man has constantly pushed forward into the unknown. One by one, the frontiers of science have fallen before him. . . . Now he stands on the threshold of a new age—a terrifying age.

So begins The Strange World of Planet X (or, Cosmic Monsters, as it was titled in the U.S.), a sci-fi film in which Dr. Laird, a scientist, has invented magnetic fields that can attract objects from outer space. The invention has disastrous side-effects, however, causing insects to mutate into giant monsters. The inhabitants of earth are then aided by a visitor from another planet, who warns them that continuing to use such technology will only result in further devastation.

In all likelihood, the film was originally intended to be a criticism of the use of nuclear power, but its prophetic warning bears a striking resemblance to what many are boldly claiming about our modern ecological crisis. The “terrifying age” of which we are on the threshold is the age of the Anthropocene, in which the environment bows before the short-term interests of human beings, with devastating consequences.

On June 29th, 2015 the Supreme Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) program, which consisted of regulations aimed at reducing power plant pollution. The reason for the Supreme Court ruling was that the agency did not sufficiently consider the costs their regulations would impose on power plants.

This decision oddly came only a month after Pope Francis released an encyclical on caring for the environment. In it he warned, “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”[1] In one corner, the Supreme Court demands the EPA to consider the costs of their regulations for power plants; in the other, Pope Francis urges the world to consider the costs of their behavior for the environment.

Milton Friedman wrote, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits.”[2] Have we become a culture of business, in which the social responsibility of society is to increase business profits? Thus, Congress does not pass legislation without crosschecking it with lobbyists who represent special interests groups and large corporations. Thus, the EPA cannot consider the interests of the environment without crosschecking its approach with the costs for power plants.

Pope Francis offers a biting criticism of this cultural condition, saying that, “Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention.”[3] He charges us with the task of stewardship, making the common good our common goal. The most pressing issue is not what environmental regulation will cost power plants, but what the lack of environmental regulation will cost the earth.

In many ways, prophets are visitors from another planet. They bear the burden of living by a higher standard, and calling the world to that standard. Moses had the Promised Land. Jesus had the Kingdom of God. Martin Luther King, Jr. had the dream. Prophets are ahead of their time. They come from the future, they come from another planet, to warn us and beckon us toward justice.

Pope Francis took up the role of the prophet and spoke to us like the visitor from The Strange World: If you continue down this path, you will be met with destruction; but if you turn from your evil ways, as the prophets would say, then you will be met with abundant life.

“Why then will you die?” asked the prophet Ezekiel.

[1] Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home, 24 May, 2015, 20.
[2] Milton Friedman, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits,” New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970.
[3] Pope Francis, 139.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In Defense of Reason

Immanuel Kant
The post-modern world is one that has a lot of diversity. Some cling to the principles of modernity, others reacted to it with an extreme crusade to fundamentalist faith, others went in a more romantic direction and emphasized feelings or sentimentality over rational thought, and others developed a skepticism toward the human ability to say anything objective about truth. In this mix, reason is often critiqued as an inefficient way of pursuing truth. Reason cannot be our sole guide. While I do sympathize with the critiques of reason, I think our post-modern world needs to be reminded of the importance of reason as a tool for truth-seeking.

As is appropriate, let us start with Kant. Kant looked upon a world of tutelage in which thought was bound by outside direction. Therefore, his answer was to "dare to know," to use reason to pierce the veil and discover the true nature of reality.

Kant's problem, however, was the subjective nature of his use of reason--but not just its subjective nature, but in the subjective-use-of-reason's objective claim. Kant didn't think society as a whole could handle intellectual freedom at first. Yes, he said, if freedom is granted, enlightenment will follow, but he also thought the social order needed to be guided to enlightenment by guys like Kant. I think this is because Kant might have been afraid of pluralism, afraid that others would use reason to arrive at conclusions at odds with Kant's own. It might not have been all that, but in any case Kant's problem was a narrow view of where reason would take us, what enlightenment would look like.

Years later, there was Barth, who claimed that reason should not be our guide. Human rationality is not to be trusted. We can't know anything by merely following our intellect. Truth can only be given to us by revelation from God.

Barth, however, probably needed to learn a lesson from Hegel. The lesson is that nothing is immediate, for everything is mediated. We cannot simply be passive recipients of revelation, blank slates onto which God places the knowledge of the truth. Everything that comes to us is mediated by our context, our finite scope, our presuppositions, our previously established categories, and so on.

My point against Barth is that we cannot not use reason. Even if God reveals something to us, we have to use reason to receive that revelation. Barth himself wrote around 10,000 pages of theology, clearly showing us that we do, will, and must use reason to receive anything with our minds.

Freud's point against Barth is that not all of us can experience [what we interpret as] revelation. Not all of us can have religious experience. You say you had some kind of spiritual awakening, some kind of religious experience of God? That's wonderful for you, but what can I do with that?

Reason, on the other hand, Freud says, is something we can all use. Not all of us can use "revelatory" religious experience as a guide, but all of us can use reason.

And, I say again, all of us do use reason. Van Til used his reason to say that we all have presuppositions, ones we cannot avoid. He rightly pointed out that there is no neutral plain on which we can make judgments about the universe. There is no untainted lens through which we can look in order to decide what is more or less true. Thus, he so reasoned, the best thing to do is presuppose the Bible as the Word of God and the key to universal truth....

Van Til needed to read Freud, though. Freud would say, why the Bible? And why in that way? It's not that simple for all people. It's not that simple for people of other cultures, or people who don't have Bibles, or people who engage in critical study of the Bible, since they get to consider that if the original writers of the Bible knew that their writings were incorporated into a larger work and then used as the key to universal truth, they would most likely be baffled and maybe even appalled.

Additionally, that is no reason to adopt something as true. "Well, none of us can know what is really true because our vision is tainted by presuppositions, so let's just grab whatever thing we want and hold it up as the beacon of truth. Who can prove me wrong?" I hate to refer to Richard Dawkins, but couldn't we just do the same thing for the flying spaghetti monster?

No, that just won't do. The nice thing about reason, on the other hand, is that it is something we all can use. And so, even if we agree that no one of us can adopt a neutral, presupposition-less stance toward truth, we all can (and do!) use reason to find a path to truth.

However, in order to avoid the enlightenment overreach, we need to qualify that search for truth with the postmodern critique of Kant. That is, we do not have access to objective truth. We can't know Truth, capital T, as Cornel West says; we can, he says, only talk about the way to truth.

Thus, rather than saying reason is the way to Truth, I say reason is the way to the way to truth. While we will never arrive, we can make progress, and we can be led to a truth-claim. It is then important to acknowledge other truth-claims and their validity. This is the importance of pluralism. Because no one of us has that perfect vision, we have to pay attention to what others are seeing, and learn from them, and engage them, and respect the diversity, humbly acknowledging our intellectual position as finite.

The problem of enlightenment rationalism was not its emphasis on reason, but in its lack of self-awareness and epistemological humility. Reason is the way to the way to truth, but so is humility and an embrace of pluralism. We are not the center of the universe, as Kant would lead us to believe. It is not MY reason that leads to truth, it is reason's engagement with the reasoning of others.