Monday, 30 July 2012

The natural and the supernatural in the religions

Joaquim’s paper Jacques Maritain e la mistica natural Indiana,” a reworked version of the article we printed in DJPE, makes very clear the position of Maritain: Christian mysticism is supernatural; Indian mysticism is really an experience of the self, and purely natural. However, he does admit that there could be ‘mixtures’ – mystical experiences that have ‘touches’ of the supernatural. How, I have to read further to understand.
I was asking myself: how does this position compare with that of Lonergan? Perhaps this way. In his earlier writings, Lonergan would talk of natural, relatively supernatural and absolutely supernatural solutions to the problem of evil. In his later position, he would take the clear (Christian) stand that the actually realized dispensation is absolutely supernatural. He would go further and state that the absolutely supernatural gift of God’s love is given to all, and therefore is available / given in all religions. He would say clearly that, in their positive moments, all religions are fruits of the gift of the Spirit.
I am thinking now that even in his earlier position, on the hypothesis / faith assertion that the actually realized dispensation is the absolutely supernatural one, he might have envisaged such a position. It is not said, and he does not say clearly, that any religion is natural. Hoever, he does talk / imply that Islam has no place for the supernatural mysteries. But then the mysteries regard the content of faith, perhaps? That position, in that case, would not really exclude the possibility of a truly supernatural gift of God’s love given even in Islam.

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