Monthly Archives: August 2011

Utterly Unchanged

From the post The Apocalypse Isn’t Coming; Its Already Happened at

Fundamentalist Christianity has long expressed a view of apocalypse as some future event that will consume the present world and replace it with a new one. Yet while this is a bloody and destructive vision I will argue that it is inherently conservative in nature and nowhere near violent enough to warrant the name “apocalypse”. For those who hold to such a vision are willing to imagine absolutely everything around them changing so that their present values and beliefs can remain utterly unchanged.

Emphasis mine.

The Narrowness of My Experience

Richard Beck strikes a chord with me again, discussing Thoreau and The Narrowness of My Experience

For my own part, I’ve always felt that philosophy and theology is a form of coping. A way of making sense of my experience. As I experience, I think. Often theologically.

Some people, it seems, have no experience of God. At least no experience they trust. Thus, they feel no need to “make sense” of an experience they lack. These persons are agnostics and atheists. And to be clear, I don’t fault my skeptical friends for “making sense” of their experience in this particular way. Their experience is their experience. I can’t argue them out of what they feel to be true in their bones.

In a related way, there are those of us who have (and continue to have) experiences that we can only “make sense” of by labeling them as holy, sacred, transcendent, divine, or spiritual. William James called these experiences “ontological emotions,” a feeling of thereness. And in light of these experiences people often “make sense” of their lives in ways that we might label “religious.”

Those of Us Who Know Otherwise

From the post Adam and Eve among Evangelicals and around the Blogosphere | Exploring Our Matrix

In addition to the NPR article, around the blogosphere several other posts touched on this same basic subject. Pete Enns continued his series at BioLogos on the CSBI doctrine of Scripture, asking whether the Bible is historically infallible and inerrant, with attention to the early chapters of Genesis. RJS at Jesus Creed discusses how those stories came to be in the Bible, and asks whether it matters that ancient readers would have assumed their basic truthfulness. (My answer is that no, the fact that ancient readers and even Biblical authors assumed things were factual because they had no way to know otherwise, does not justify those of us who do know otherwise of insisting on their factuality even so).

Vicious Killing Machines

From the Futurama movie Into the Wild Green Yonder comes a description of a fictional species competing with others for dominance in a given environment.

The frogs … evolved into vicious killing machines, honed by the merciless forces of natural selection and intelligent design.

I like how they take the intelligent design aspect to it’s logical conclusion: if species really developed by design then that process incorporates as much indifference to suffering as “random variation” does so long as natural selection is still in effect.