Post-modernism is perhaps best spoken of in the more accurate nomenclature of the programs and their effects taking place within contemporary cultures including post-colonialism and post-structuralism. It is also imperative that in these words they are not considered as referring to temporal conditions as post-modernism has often mistakenly been interpreted. They instead are indicative of ongoing methodologies and programs that connote a continuing process of consciousness changing the horizon and meaning of justice, humanity, hegemonies, and approaches to interpreting our social worlds that favor righting oppressive forces. How one lives with the ethical challenges presented through post-colonialism/post-structuralism will be contextual to their surrounding contexts but is also influenced by an individual’s theological framework. One’s theological anthropology and faith commitments can set patterns of praxis and either determines the ease or difficulty of interfaith dialogue. Exemplary of one theological framework that can be argued to support a theological anthropology and ethics amenable to interfaith dialogue and the progression of radical social-justice work is that of ibn Arabi (1165-1240). Sheikh Akbar Ibn Arabi wrote of a mystical depiction of divinity that avoided the Islamic sin of shirk (associationism with the divine or idolatry) and balanced between pantheism and transcendent theism, in what he called absolute unification. His mysticism has tones of Neo-Platonic thought where the cosmos is good as opposed to fallen and infused with divinity, but differs in that within ibn Arabi there is no hierarchy of emanations. The ‘center’ of god is at the margins, all encompassing and not distanced through spheres of angelic realms or differentiation between creator and created. This affirmational stance towards the world is welcoming to pacifist, mutually vulnerable, and compassionate action and the wholeness of a person; including their sexuality, psychology, and sociality. When one nurtures a theology of ‘absolute unification’ they may avoid the obstacles of guilt, fear, pride, and other trappings of the ego. Rom Landau writes of ibn Arabi’s distinctive philosophy, that while “the God of religion manifests Himself in man as both virtue and sin, the God of the mystic reveals Himself in a manner that is beyond virtue and sin.” Leaving sin and virtue as arbitrary and passing names given in culture allows judgments and egos to be relaxed in the face of a pervading divinity that expands into all expressions and experiences. Arabi writes in Tarjumanu ‘l-Ashwaq that god may be found in the study of a monk, an idol, animals, religions and that love is the summation of his faith. Where love is wholly definitive, moralizing is revealed to be merely cultural and illusory. The non-dualism of sin and virtue includes the abolishment of heaven and hell also. The ethics fostered by ibn Arabi are clear and can be summarized in his statements written in Fusus: ‘love loves love’ and ‘were it not for Love [residing] in the heart, Love (God) would not be worshipped.’ The compassionate heart of love that sees and loves past distinction, keeps at bay the shirk of egoism, and does not feel compelled to judge and retain dualisms of heaven and hell propels spiritual ethics to a level that is direly needed in the contemporary global social milieu. Democratic ideals can fully occur with humanity blossoming within individual authenticity without fear. Justice can focus on distributive egalitarianism and restorative models versus a retributive model. With the philosophical chains of hell broken, the physical dungeons of political prisoners and the prison-industrial complex can be weakened. Lastly, interfaith dialogues can occur with a compassion that sees all religions and beliefs as joined in absolute unification.

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