Archive for the Religion Category

Semantics

Posted in Linguistics, Meanderings, Religion on August 2, 2007 by weirleader

Maybe it’s just my mathematical tendencies, but I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the ambiguity of English. Primarily, of late, I’ve been thinking about the simple interaction:

Alice: Do you like mushrooms on your pizza?

Bob: No.

Alice: (throws away the pizza)

Bob: What’d you do that for?

Alice: You said you didn’t like mushrooms!

Bob: I’ll eat them – I just don’t go out of my way to ask for them.

Okay, dumb example. But hopefully illustrative of the larger point. It seems in so many people’s minds that to not like something means to dislike something, as if there are only two options: favor and disfavor. What about “I don’t really care”? Or, in some cases, “I don’t really know”?

This has lately been the cause of some intense discussions regarding religious beliefs. For instance – “Do you believe the Lord returned in 1874?” If I answer no to this, does that mean I disbelieve, or just don’t have an opinion? I can mentally subdivide my options into multiple categories, but have seen far too many people simplify things to the point of “you’re either for me or against me”, and it’s soooo frustrating!

One of my challenges for myself is to devise a better way of illustrating this to be truly eye-opening and convincing to those who’ve never thought about more than two possibilities. Any suggestions about clear ways to explain this concept would be very welcome.

Perhaps just a pie graph would work. I could have one cut into thirds and label them Believe, Disbelieve, Undecided. Then, when someone is asked do they “Believe” and they say no it will be clearer that there are still two remaining categories…

I don’t know – what do you think?

Bearing the Ring

Posted in Music, Movies & Entertainment, Religion on April 10, 2007 by weirleader

Just came across this post while doing a bit of research and although it didn’t quite fit with what I was looking for, I found it worth highlighting for my friends. Being a huge LOTR fan, it’s nice to think of a way to apply the lessons of the story in my daily life.

edited 4/12/07: fixed the broken link

I Dig Rock ‘N Roll Music… but

Posted in Music, Movies & Entertainment, Religion on October 16, 2006 by weirleader

Yes, after a very long hiatus, I’m back!  🙂

After coming face-to-face this weekend with what many churches these days consider a typical praise service, I asked myself (in the spirit of honesty) just why I object to opening a church service with a full band (including an elder on drums and a deacon on bass guitar).

I even discussed it with a few friends and came to the following conclusion…  I enjoy music and think that both rock and what I would call more ‘spiritual’ music have their place.  But employing rock in the church setting seems to me reminiscent of the early church deciding to celebrate Christmas as a means of expanding their congregation – after all, why not adopt a pagan holiday, if it means more congregants?  I can’t really judge what is going on in the brains of others, but it seems to me to be selling out (pandering, even) in order to appear successful.

Come to think of it – it even reminds me of the movie Blue Chips in which Nick Nolte is sadly educated in the commercialization of college sports.  In order to remain competitive, he has to woo his players and the sport is cheapened.

What do you think?

Blogging the Bible (part deux)

Posted in Religion on August 24, 2006 by weirleader

Well, I’ve been giving Blogging the Bible another try.  And it’s definitely got some good points to make.  I just have to take some comments with a grain of salt.

I think the best point he’s made so far is about the animosity amongst families early in the Bible.  I hadn’t really thought about it – but there’s not exactly a Cleaver or Nelson family mixed in there.  And he also makes an interesting point about Isaac never playing much of a role after he is almost sacrificed…

Guess I’ll keep up with the reading.  I may even comment – though I imagine he gets inundated with responses.

The Last Word

Posted in Religion on August 22, 2006 by weirleader

Well, I’m almost finished with it – though I must admit that reading The Last Word, by N.T. Wright, was a lesson in humility.  I wasn’t quite prepared for the depth to which I would be out of my league! 🙂

Still, after reading and then rereading and then rereading again some parts, I think I got sort of the gist of things – and I enjoyed it.  That said, I’m sure there’s much that I’ve not gotten.  But at least it got me thinking, and I think I’m definitely motivated now to try my hand at more religious literature (until now, I don’t think I’ve read a single book addressing religion – with the exception of Studies in the Scriptures).

Furthermore, I’m proud to say that I finally understand (after looking them up multiple times) the words: hermeneutics, eschatology, exegis, and nihilism.  The real trick will be to see how long I remember them! 🙂

There are a few questions I have that I thought I’d post here – allowing, at the very least, Pete to comment on them as well as anybody else who actually visits this blog.

1) What exactly is the difference between ‘theology’ and ‘biblical studies’ (TLW, pg.4 ¶1)? (to me they sound the same)

2) What exactly is the “explicitly materialist ‘prosperity gospel’ which results from right-wing misreading of Scripture (TLW, pg.106 bottom)?

3) How is “attempted ‘biblical’ support for the modern state of Israel a right-wing misreading (p.108 top)?

4) Where does the Bible “envisage women as apostles and deacons, and as leading in worship” (p.109 middle)?

Those, of course, are the easy questions.  The difficult ones were such that I didn’t even know what I was reading or what to ask.  But it was overall a good experience.

Thanks for the recommendation, Pete. 🙂

Blogging the Bible

Posted in Religion on August 1, 2006 by weirleader

You know, when I first heard of this guy and his plan to blog the Bible, I thought it sounded like a really neat experiment.  Sort of a way to get a fresh look at things I’m way too familiar with and so sometimes might overlook.  But then I started reading it and right away it struck me as a comedy routine.  Kind of makes me think he might have gone in with some definite preconceptions.

He nitpicks at little oddities, has no background with which to interpret anything that doesn’t come across as literal or ‘fast-and-easy’, and keeps sliding in wisecracks of the type that work really well in an article intended to read easily and poke fun at someone/something but not-so-well in an article that is expected to be serious and thoughtful.

To be fair, I can’t take it too personally if he chooses not to take this project seriously.  I’m just disappointed that I allowed myself such high expectations.

But I guess you sort of warned me Pete, by your response.

(Disclaimer: I’ve only partially read the first entry, From Creation to the Flood – so I can’t say this applies to the whole project.  But I’m thinking it’s a safe bet.)