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The Heretical Imperative Essay

961 words - 4 pages

Word Count: 928

Modern society and its people have the ability to make a vast range of choice when it comes to anything in their lives. People to today have the ability and free will to choose their partners, their careers, their aspirations in life and their own religion. In the opinion of Peter L. Berger, written in his 1979 book ‘The Heretical Imperative’, modern times provide three fundamental options in relation to religion; the first being ‘The deductive option’, which reaffirms a certain religious tradition in spit of counter claims against it (e.g. Islamic fundamentalism); the second is the reductive option, which modernizes a religious tradition in term which make it sensible or ...view middle of the document...

Therefore modernity cannot be used to intimidate Religious believers into abandoning their faith.”

By focusing on the supremacy of the inductive possibility over the other two options, Berger is accidentally putting forward his own skewed vision of the religious business. In fact, Berger’s stress on individual experience is reflective of modern awareness, which turns religion more and more into a private act. This way, Berger cannot escape from resorting to his own special kind of reductionism: practical religion is almost completely individualistic. While there is no issue in posing this argument, calling this position “inductive” betrays the fact that it is extracted from an already held religious area of authority or knowledge which is heavily inclined to go toward the magical and mysterious and not the extremely interesting (Biblical Christianity). Hence, Berger’s inductive ways of doing thins calls into question the unique claim of any one religious tradition. Therefore, only certain forms of religious effort can remain unscathed in the modern age. According to Berger, forms such as these are almost always magical and mysterious in origin and point to knowledge. Although, does the “inductive” options really do justice to the various expressions of Religions? An article entitled “Judaism and heretical Imperative” written by Michael L. Morgan argues that is does not:

“The differences between Berger’s opinion and Judaism, then, are not superficial. It is not merely that the heretical imperative is not the Jewish imperative. Nor is it merely that the Jewish historical situation is a post-modern situation. It is more than that. For Judaism no phenomenological sociology can do justice to an experience that is secular and religious, human and divine all at once . . . Lurking in the background here is a distinction between fact and value, "is" and "ought" that is troubling, both in the application and in the breach. Jewish thought sees the Jewish experience differently.”

As a result of arguing against the deductive and simplified...

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