Thinking -synonymous with the religious self
Posted by Erin on January 21, 1998 at 23:43:32:
In response to Right reason and religion, written by Helen on January 21, 1998 at 15:58:32
I actually don't think that the C18th concept of religion is a very balanced one - it is so weighted towards reason, believing that there is little truly miraculous or inexplicable about the operation of Christianity.
You're correct. Many believe that Kantian morality (first explicated in the contemporaneous Critique of Practical Reason) is a rational reconstruction of Christianity that posits a God and the afterlife as the not-so-evident rewards for being moral --what Kant called the categorical imperative.
Generally speaking, religious faith did not (re)-assume the aspect of irrationality until the fallout of Hegelianism (approx. mid-19thc). After which, you've got thinkers like Marx on the one hand condemning (and in essence, denying organized religion), and others like Kierkegaard who claim that faith/religion is the absolute expression of the unintelligibility of human existence, i.e., it cannot and should not be scrutinized with a scientific-like rigor.
The other thing I would say is that it is hard to pick up on Austen's religious beliefs because she came from a background which saw them as intensely private - to use the word "soul", for instance, would be to open up for discussion a strikingly intimate subject, and overly intrusive.
Again, I've read that she uses the word "mind" in lieu of "soul". But if her religious attitudes are so difficult to detect, how can the argument be made that she was ultimately maintaining a spiritual survival of sorts through her heroines? I suppose the case could be made that virtue (or an existence displaying balance, in all of its incarnations and expression of self-truth) constitutes spiritual well-being in Austen's universe....
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