Monday, May 11, 2009

On the Difference Between Dialogue and Throwing Oneself at the Feet of the World in Abject Surrender

The Anglican cathedral of Liverpool has announced plans to peal out John Lennon's "Imagine" as part of a city arts festival. Cathedral staff, obviously uncomfortable about the decision, are quoted as saying: "“Allowing Imagine to be pealed on our bells does not mean we agree with the song lyric.” Oh really? So why play a song that blames religion for violence and longs for a secular utopia? "The spokesman helpfully explains that Cathedral authorities “recognise” the song’s “power to make us think. As a Cathedral, we do not shrink from debate.”

The Cathedral staff apparently is low on ideas on how to make itself think. They certainly do not shrink from debate. In fact, the Cathedral does not even wait for objections to Christian faith to be made by its opponents; it makes them for them. How kind. This reminds one of the rationalization for inviting Obama to receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame, namely, that we want to be in "dialogue." We give our opponent an honorary degree and invite him to lecture our students on their responsibilities as citizens. This is "dialogue," Notre Dame style.

I suppose if liberal Christians, like the deep thinkers running Notre Dame and the Liverpool Cathedral, were to want to dialogue with prostitutes they would visit brothels and dialogue in bed. If they wanted to dialogue with terrorists, they would advocate for the adoption of Sharia Law in the West. If they wanted to dialogue with a corporation that pollutes the environment, they would ask the CEO to receive an honorary degree and give a lecture to the graduates. If they wanted to dialogue with euthanasia promoters, they would invite Peter Singer to give a sermon at the Cathedral, right after special music by John Lennon.

It is enough to give dialogue a bad name.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, as long as we are doing dialogue, we might demand quid pro quo and have Peter Singer belt out "Christ the Lord is risen today!"