The Church & Privileged Position

There have been times when the church could viably claim a comprehensive view of existence. It could provide a "global cognitive map"* within which its subjects could understand the universe, life and their place within it. I would say there must be certain things in place for this to take effect. First of all, the church needs to own the "Master Signifier"*… that is, the ultimate perfect Whole that signifies the fullness of all meaning. Secondly, the church must have the authority to pronounce and make this provision. Then, the church must possess the power to exercise this authority and enforce adherence to its provision. There have been times when this was so. But no longer. The church needs to admit that it no longer owns the Master Signifier. The world is populating with signifiers at an ever increasing rate, many of them legitimately competing for the Master position, such as Science. Secondly, the church loses its authority to claim sole possession of the Master Signifier and the global cognitive map this Master Signifier provides. Finally, the church's power diminishes as it has to learn to share its heretofore monarchical territory with other authorities and their signifiers. The church no longer holds the privileged position. *I'm indebted to Slavoj Žižek for these phrases. Need to talk with a pastor? Email me and we can arrange it: haywardart at gmail dot com (read more…)

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