September 26, 2006

Progress:  goal or illusion?

What American Indians can teach Christians about time and placeChristian thought, with its theology of an end of time in which God will establish a kingdom of heaven on earth, drives the Western concept of time, said Lee Irwin, chairman of the religious studies department at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

Jewish thought points to a human Messiah to come, who will bring peace on earth, said Barry Feinstein, leader of the Westminster Jewish Congregation.

And many Westerners believe humankind can achieve world peace on its own because the world is progressing--or getting better--over time.

But can we make that assumption of progress? DeMallie asked.

For traditional Lakota Indians, he said, such a concept of achieving such a Utopian goal would be alien in a world that moves in unchanging natural cycles.

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