What is the SSA? What needs should it try to meet and how can it meet them? Who should it serve? These are the general questions that I propose we spend a few minutes reflecting upon. We can begin by returning to the early days of the SSA and its founding father and first president, Rev. Frank Sewall.
It is perhaps a sad sign of academic over-specialization that I have devoted an entire paper to two of Kant’s insults, but I hope to connect them to matters of greater philosophical import. In his 1766 book Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, Elucidated by Dreams of Metaphysics, Kant says many negative and sometimes downright nasty things about Swedenborg, but for Kant’s contemporaries probably the harshest was the accusation that Swedenborg was “des ärgsten Schwärmers unter allen” (“the worst of all enthusiasts”). A similarly harsh insult is that Swedenborg is “der Erzphantast unter allen Phantasten” (“the arch-visionary of all visionaries”).
This Swedenborgian concept can be demonstrated by comparing two religions that are strikingly similar in doctrine, yet radically different in actual dogma and practice—namely, Manichaeism and the Bahá’í faith.
In a prior article on the existence of scientific revelations in the Word, it was argued that science education for the New Church plays an important role in one’s ability to read and understand the Writings. Some New Church thinkers doubt that there exist scientific revelations anywhere in the Threefold Word—the Old and New Testaments and Swedenborg’s Writings. In education they prefer a separation of science and religion, agreeing that both are necessary but not at the same time, or within the same course or textbook. Some have argued that scientific revelations would compel belief in the Word, and this is not permitted by the Lord. Suggestions have been made that we ought to interpret Earths in the Universe in a spiritual sense and not think that there are actually moon people or Jupiter people.