Unlearning to Learn Anew – putting on the Veil of Ignorance.
Building on the work of Emmanuel Kant and other leading minds in discussions on Social Contract, John Rawls applies the concept in his seminal book: A Theory of Justice.
For Rawls, our personal biases and prejudices often affect our political position. Therefore, for true freedom and justice to prevail, we need to actively minimise them by assuming a position of ignorance (the Veil of Ignorance).
This discipline is important in Christianity, especially in leadership. Every aspect of the faith should be revisited with the “Veil of Ignorance” in order for the faith to breathe and revitalise.
To Veil of Ignorance is similar to the term being “Born Again” which sadly has been largely misunderstood. Jesus was in fact asking Nicodemus to unlearn all he had learnt, to put on the “Veil of Ignorance” in order to be a part of the new movement. The knowledge he had accrued through years of active participation in the religious system was suddenly an hindrance to his spiritual growth. What Jesus was advancing needed an open mind, if you may, a blank canvas.
Jesus highlights this position on many occasions, perhaps most notably when he challenged the actions of the leaders stating,
“… thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.” – (Mark 7:13)
The Judeo-Christian faith was never, and has never been concrete, hence we see the plea for Reformation at various points in history through the prophets and much later Jesus Christ.
The Born Again experience is therefore a state of mind and a way of life, not an event. It is an attitude of re-evaluation, critical thinking, rethinking, unlearning, learning; and dare I say, being humble enough to learn from other disciplines and faith. Thus Galloway notes:
“The question of God – the basic question of theology – is not the special concern of the ‘religious’ or those who happen to like that sort of thing. It arises out of the structure of human existence and is thus the most fundamental and universal concern of all mankind. Theology, therefore, is as public a discipline as philosophy or natural science. It belongs, in the first instance, in the university rather than the seminary” – (1973, p. 16)
This is what we see in the life of Jesus as he questioned the very foundations of the Jewish faith: Temple rituals, Sabbath, moral and legal codes, culture, and traditions.
Dear friends, if there has ever been a time when the World is willing to listen again to what we have to offer – it is now! When these Jephthah[s] arrive and after the goosebumps they feel when they encounter the Holy Spirit, they will still need to be taught.
My question to you – what are we teaching them? We have inherited lots of stuff that are now having detrimental effects on our psyche and faith.
We have to unlearn, to learn anew.
Reachout | Revive | Recover