Saturday, July 6, 2013

George Grant and Hinduism: Contemplative Probes - Ron Dart

Christianity seems in a certain way closer to Hinduism than it does to its fellow religions that arose in the East.
George Grant, George Grant in Conversation(1995) p. 176
In talking about a philosophical response, are we not supposed to have agreed upon understanding as to what philosophy is? And certainly one should not try to take advantage of the fact that there is no definition of philosophy on which all are agreed.  
John Arapura, Modernity and Responsibility: Essays for George Grant (1983) p.52       
Modern scientists, like the modern thinkers in Swift’s Battle of the Books,explain nature, human and non-human, the idea of soul, and not surprisingly they have produced a world where it is difficult to think what it means to be open to the whole. Ancient thinkers are compared to the bee which goes around collecting honey from the flowers; modern thinkers are compared to the spider which spins webs out of itself and then catches its food in that web.
George Grant in Dennis Lee, Poetry and Philosophy (1982)      
The recent book, Athens and Jerusalem: George Grant’s Theology, Philosophy, and Politics (2006), probed Grant’s deeper theological roots, but in the doing of this, Grant’s interest and affinity with the Orient and Hinduism was missed and ignored. This is a serious lack and weakness in an otherwise needed and necessary commentary on Grant.  
Grant saw himself as standing within the ‘Hindu wing of Christianity’, and, as mentioned above, he thought the contemplative and mystical core of Christianity made it ‘closer to Hinduism’ than to either the Jewish or Islamic traditions.
What did Grant mean by the statements mentioned above, and why was he, as a Canadian, at the forefront of probing greater contemplative depths in the Christian Tradition, and, by doing so, opening up new trails for interfaith dialogue?