September 21, 2015
What can Google's Deep Dream project tell us about the practice of giving dreams spiritual interpretations?
Kory, your last paragraph is especially insightful, calling an important epistemological point to the fore: our senses are only trustworthy to the extent that they give us truthful information. We know from various life experiences (like the old Halloween children's game of passing around various innocent items like spaghetti and peeled fruit and asking a blindfolded group to feel a dead person's cold fleshy organs) that our senses can mislead us when informed by a deceptive narrative.
That's why evangelicalism has always and rightly insisted that the senses must be informed first and foremost by the unchanging Truth of Scripture. Whether it be charismatic spiritual encounters or the raw data of sight and sound, touch and taste, all must be subjected to the noetic filtration of God's Word. It's only then that we can know Truth as God has chosen to reveal it to us. Anything else is just an illusion.
Thanks for the encouragement, JKana. You raise the point that was on my mind but to which I was not able to get. If we can't trust spiritual experience to reflect Truth, what guides us to know what we CAN trust? You hit the nail on the head.
I suppose the only challenge I would add is that our engagement with Scripture is itself subject to our experience. Every time we read Scripture, we bring with it our embodied experience. Of course, this is true whether we're talking about our embodied engagement with Scripture or our unfiltered perception through dreams. Perhaps it is my rationalist bias that says that the former demands less skepticism than the latter.
In Reply to KoryPlockmeyer (comment #27497)
The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is useful. Scripture, tradition, reason and experience all have their place. One can weight these differently, but all come into play.
Evangelical / fundamentalist teaching avoids the use of the word "tradition," but cannot avoid incorporating several hundred years of church tradition and theological discussion.
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