True discernment must always be anchored in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the authentic Magisterium, and the lives of the saints.
Opinion – This is a very rigid, traditional view of discernment, a term which I sometimes use when trying to talk about the spiritual life. The reason I see it as sort of silly is that the “solidity” which the author purports to stand on is really not so solid when you study all the contradictions and uncertainties in both the formation of the Bible and all the sexist, biased, politically motivated, hypocritical Christian thinking that followed it. Oh, and did I say corrupt and duplicitous? I should have.
I’ve written about my view of discernment at the old Earthpages – Think Free (now being updated and migrating to Earthpages.org). This doesn’t represent my latest thinking on the topic but it’s good enough to quote here:
But a problem arises in that many religious people claim to discern. And often different religious and New Age enthusiasts discern differently on the very same issue, citing the “Holy Spirit,” “Allah,” “Angels” or “Objective Truth” as their source of authority.
Discernment often seems to mean taking an alarmist, knee-jerk view of issues that one doesn’t understand, projecting bad habits and transferring the unsavory contents of the unconscious onto scapegoats. This can happen on an individual level or through a kind of institutionally reinforced hypocrisy, as we’ve seen time and again in the history of religions, cults and spiritual movements.
Indeed, unconscious anger, resentment and unresolved psychological complexes may color discernment. And it seems that psychological pain, immaturity and the potential influence of fantasy or evil influences can all be intertwined.
For interest’s sake, here’s another view of discernment that claims to be “free from the traditions of men,” a claim that I find highly suspect.
The whole task of life is to continually try to move beyond our human biases and limitations, realizing that we will probably always fall short.
My commentary may seem a bit harsh. But it is based on my discernment. And I’d rather know what’s what than play a foolish little game based on an imaginative reconstruction of the past and a childish view of the present.