Open Mic Thread 39

Mic

The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

  • Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
  • Share interesting links
  • Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
  • Ask questions
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  • Post reviews
  • Suggest topics for future posts
  • Use as a bulletin board
  • Etc.

Over to you!

Earlier open mic threads:
123456789101112131415161718192021222324, 25, 26,27, 28,29,30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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55 Responses to Open Mic Thread 39

  1. Ethan says:

    Have you read any of Douglas Campbell’s work on Paul? What are your thoughts on the apocalyptic reading of Paul?

    I’ve spent the last month or so entering that world… Wondered what you thought.

    • Stephen Crawford says:

      Ethan,

      Open Mic comments always confuse me a bit; I can never really tell if they’re addressed to Alastair or to whoever might be reading. At any rate, I took a class on Romans with Doug Campbell a couple of years ago when I was in seminary.

      DC’s reading of Paul is very self-consciously theological, which I think is a good thing. If a reading of Paul isn’t, then I suspect that means there are theological convictions at work regardless, but in ways the interpreter is unable to account for. He’s a Barthian, though, so I can’t help but wish his theology were spruced up a bit. (I say that as someone that likes and is influenced by Barth, but thinks that certain classical Christian thinkers can deliver more of the goods … especially Blessed Thomas.)

      Probably where DC shines most is in his careful work reconstructing Paul’s biography, building on Lou Martyn’s work. He recently put out a book, Framing Paul, which is the fruit of a lot of work. His reading works within a very carefully thought out account of the historical contingencies surrounding Paul’s letters, and contends that (as with theology) Paul’s interpreters are always working with an implicit or implied account of these letter, which are variously coherent. He makes a strong case for giving hard dates for certain events in Paul’s life (based on the Aretas datum in 2 Cor), and building on the evidence from the epistles themselves. This is different from most Acts-based chronologies, while DC suggests that Acts is generally reliable as far as what happened, but that the order gets moved around by Luke for his narrative purposes. It’s also fun that he defends a ten-letter Pauline canon.

      His most notorious suggestion has to do with Romans. DC argues that the second-half of Rom. 1 is a speech-in-character, satirizing his opponent (i.e. “the Teacher”). He then thinks that 2:1-3:20 (numbers off the top of my head–sorry if they’re wrong) is an extended reductio ad absurdem, where Paul shows that if you take the Teacher’s premises seriously all kinds of wacky conclusions follow. DC has a knack for taking seriously the details of what Paul actually says at particular points. So, for example, he sees a tension between the suggestion that people earn salvation through patiently working and the grace-centered Gospel of Romans 5-8. He thinks the “Romans Road” of convincing people of the bad news first, so they’re ready for the good news later makes a mess of the Gospel. Nor does he think that Jesus is “Plan B,” either for him or for Paul (or for Barth). He sums the traditional reading of R 1-4 up as “Justification Theory,” and contends that it can’t ultimately be reconciled with the Gospel of Jesus as Paul preaches it. Thus, he tries to interpret this stretch of Romans in light of the on-the-ground conflict that Paul is having with this rival Jewish-Christian missionary.

      Many have rejected this thesis. It seems to me they’re right to do that. However, responses that I’ve read have unfortunately not engaged DC in detailed argument.

      The place where his reading fails most obviously is at the end of Romans 2. The righteous pagans saving themselves by their own effort aren’t the logical consequence of a moralistic “gospel” preached by Paul’s rival. DC doesn’t address in his door-stopper, The Deliverance of God, three Scriptural allusions: Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36, and Deuteronomy 31. These referred-to passages depict the Lord as graciously saving his people from sin by writing his law on their hearts, by giving his people a new heart and placing his Spirit within them that they might walk in his commandments, and by circumcising their hearts. Further, in 2 Corinthians (maybe ch. 3?) Paul also alludes to Jeremiah 31, distinguishing the Spirit from the letter (cf. Rom. 2), where this seems to refer to the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, these righteous pagans shouldn’t be seen as saving themselves, but as being saved by the Lord. This, I think, is incompatible with DC’s proposal. There’s no reductio here, at least not as Campbell suggests. The dispute, to my mind, has more to do with what form of life is the sign that the Spirit has begun this work in a person: the Law of Moses faithfully and meticulously observed or the faithfulness of Christ exhibited in the life of the Christian by acts of self-giving love.

      • For the record, I regard Open Mic threads primarily as opportunities for us all to discuss matters that interest us together. Their primary purpose isn’t for asking me questions.

  2. Chris W says:

    On the origin of the soul – traducianism, creationism, or something else? I lean traducian, but reading through this article engaging with Bavinck’s take on the matter has brought it into question for me: http://issuu.com/inthylight/docs/sheddandbavinckontraducianism-creationism

    Also, how highly would this issue be ranked in terms of importance? Clearly not an issue for Christians to divide over, but the author of this piece makes the point that it is given scant attention in modern systematic theologies, unlike in older works.

    • Stephen Crawford says:

      I don’t know the difference between traducianism and creationism. I started reading the article you link to, but it didn’t quickly explain.

      • Chris W says:

        Creationism is the view that each person’s soul is created directly by God. Traducianism is the view that a person’s soul is formed from the souls of their mother and father at the point of conception.

  3. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    This is turning into a running commentary on Freddie De Boer’s blog, but oh well. His latest:
    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/10/07/our-brand-could-be-your-life/

    Thoughts follow.

    ——————————–

    Most genuinely countercultural art is countercultural . . . because it sucks, and no sane person would really want to spend any time with it. Punk rock is prime example. Most punk music is simply terrible. The best “punk” bands were a pre-fab boy band (The Sex Pistols) and a pub rock band slumming it (The Clash). Often punk band’s made their best music when they switched to other genres: The Clash are much better as a reggae band than a punk band, and X were much better making Alt Country. Most actual punk punk is garbage, as are most of the other really weird stuff out there.

    ————————————

    I really enjoyed this article where a member of the band Sloan, a favourite Canadian band of mine, introduces his kids to punk:
    http://dadbrains.com/2014/11/08/help-my-kids-hate-punk-rock/

    A favourite track:

    The blogger is the guy with thick black glasses.

    ————————————

    De Boer’s example of selling out is also unfortunate. Liz Phair the album isn’t all that different from any of Liz Phair’s other work. It contains fewer swears. I should know, I’m was a huge Liz Phair fan. A lot of people were turned on to the pottie mouthed pixie thing.

    I’m all for resistance to capitalisim, but this is not the way to do it.

    The big problem is that anything that is remotely good will, in the current environment, almost inevitably be packaged and sold.

    ————————–

    A lot of girls that are all fiery and punk rock and rebellious when young tend to become much more MOR as they get older. If you were looking for an example of that sort of thing, I would suggest listening to what Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt has ended up doing.

    —————————

    The only television shows I have seen rise to what I consider a sufficiently high aesthetic level to perhaps become classics:

    1. The Wire, Season 1 only
    2. The Simpsons, up to about Season 8
    3. Fawlty Towers

    In general, it is just too hard to sustain the level of quality in a medium that demands so much product.

    It should be noted that the quality of the last two was highly variable, and that first season of The Wire was only 13 episodes or so.

    ————————————–

    The unstated targets of De Boer’s comments are Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, authors of books like The Rebel Sell and The Authenticity Hoax. He even links to Potter’s book. I haven’t read that one, but The Rebel Sell is excellent.

    The fact is that rebellion sells. The fact is that radical change is not opposed to the ethos of capitalism.

    —————————————

    Of course, De Boer half knows this. He basically acknowledges that most of these subcultures have been appropriated by commercial interests.

    ————————————–

    It’s interesting that television, the most commercialized of art forms, has become the water cooler art form for liberals.

    It’s almost like liberals need to engage in all sorts of defensive strategies and rituals to allow themselves to enjoy art that they actually enjoy.

    I mean what is Mad Men except a piece of art that tries to have it both ways: deploring the bad old days while feeling nostalgic for all the things we have lost.

    —————————————

    The problem with left wing politics is that they aren’t really opposed to the ethos of capitalism. It’s all filthy materialism.

    • Cal says:

      Mad Men, in the end, is not even deploring the era. It’s an unraveling of the 50’s culture that held libertine attitudes of a war-stricken generation with the old moral fabric, which was rejected in the radicalism of the late 60’s. The show is “supposed” to end on a high note. As someone somewhere else said, only a true believer can be the true cynic, only Milton could end up making the Devil into a hero.

      There’s a section at the end of DB Hart’s Beauty of the Infinite when he rambles about markets. It’s spot on. The problem isn’t capitalism, but the whole market ideology. Everything is equatable to ‘value’. Rhetoric has been replaced with advertisement, and ethics, conviction, burning-desire have become trends, styles, fads, fashions etc. Zeal is just an opinion, whose value is determined by the nihil-artist’s ability to package it and sell it. Goth, punk, S&M, all of these and more are sellable.

      Like you sort of said, rebel is a trademark.

  4. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/ghosts-in-a-secular-age/

    Modern people may indeed continue having religious experiences and even the most secular of us may continue to use fragments of religious thought, the latter being, in my opinion, inescapable.

    But none of this means that the religious experiences can’t be of decreasing intensity for most people, nor does it mean that these fragments of religious won’t remain unintegrated. Modern people do think in genuinely different ways from premodern people. As long as we live in a mechanized society, all but the most incorrigibly religious of us will remain more or less indifferent to God (or the gods).

    Where I do somewhat agree with Douthat is that in a different environment, these people (or at least their kids) would likely revert to normal religious modes of being quite quickly. But that is not cause for short term optimism.

    • Cal says:

      While Modern people have a new order of priorities, and construct the world differently, they(we) are equally as religious as our forebearers. Unlike the Pagans of old, we have located the numinous to other areas and places than merely trees, rivers etc. A mechanized society is not a godsless society, look at all the tech apocalypse movies. We’re fool to defines god/gods as if it means a) the Christian God, b) the god of the philosophers, or c) the old Olympian, cultured, gods.

  5. William Fehringer says:

    What do you all think of Karl Rahner’s anonymous christian and Christian Inclusivism?

    • I’m open to it. Or at least I hope it’s true. I’m not without my doubts, though.

    • Cal says:

      As some criticize Rahner for, it places “religion” as the modern category and reduces Christianity as the ‘ideal’ or a pure abstract of ‘grace’ or ‘forgiveness’ or ‘love’. The notion, and inclusiveness itself, is very theologically liberal. If one wants to argue for some notion of universalism, it’s God’s mercy in spite of the Pagans. I’d rather side with Gregory of Nyssa who “can” (though he’s a tough cookie to understand) place all salvation in the historical Christ, and yet promote a sort of drawing upward for all. It certainly beats out a kind of confused moralistic/philosophizing calculus applied to what an anonymous Christian would even mean (Did the Muslim really throw himself upon Allah’s unbounding mercy, one of tenderness and not arbitrary severity?!?!?).

      If all we mean by anonymous Christian is that Christ can reach people in strange and miraculous (and saving!) ways that are not apparent, and add them to the communion of saints (IOW, the invisible Church), then that’s hardly unorthodox. But that’s not Rahner.

      I’d rather argue for the exclusivity of Christ, and yet, simultaneously, believe in the Holy Spirit’s amazing ability at outreach. Yet it is God who calls, and we are merely sanctified means for the transmission of the Holy. We ought to resist liberal lowest-common denominator thinking, while at the same time trust ourselves to the overflowing mercy of God, namely Jesus Christ.

  6. I have a question for y’all. Richard Hays wrote a paper arguing that Romans 4:1 should be translated something like: “What then should we say? Have we found Abraham to be our father according to the flesh?” I dig it. It makes a lot of sense, and his arguments are really compelling, as far as I’m able to judge them.

    Still, there’s something attractive about the old reading of 4:1, as it opens up more naturally into the immediately following verses–works and wages and so on, as well as a discussion of sin.

    I’m wondering if there’s a way to bring these together, and so I’m wondering if Hays’ translation could be filled out to be something like: “What then should we say? Have we found Abraham to be our father because of (his) natural ability (to have children)?” This lets us hold on to the advantages of Hays’ reading, i.e. it takes seriously the question of what it means to be a descendant of Abraham, and whether biology is central to that. But then it also frames Abraham’s belief in terms of his trusting in God’s promise rather than relying on his natural potential. This resonates with Paul’s description of his faith later in the chapter, as well, and even looks forward to Paul’s description of the faithful life in ch. 8, where the Christian sets her mind on the Spirit rather reasoning according to the flesh.

    I’m curious what y’all think. Is there enough there to make hay?

    (I’m never sure how long people read these threads for, so if I don’t get any response I’ll trot this out again on the next one.)

  7. quinnjones2 says:

    Just a comment about the NT Greek course I attended today: in the discussion about what Jesus meant exactly when he told his listeners that they needed to be more-than-equal to the Pharisees (Matthew 5), one member of the group (Roger) asked if he could make a comment that might ‘put the cat among the pigeons’, and a number of people said, ‘Yes, please do!’ Roger said that what he had to say was a theory and that he was quite ready for it to be shot down in flames! It turns out that Roger (Amos) has recently written a book called ‘Hypocrites or Heroes – The Paradoxical Portrayal of the Pharisees in the New Testament’, in which he suggests that whereas some of us have been brought up to think of ‘Pharisees’ as a swearword, he believes that Jesus and the Pharisees basically agree on the fundamentals of their faith.
    If any of you have read this book, I would be interested in your thoughts. I would like to read it, but it could be a while before I do, as I already have a stack of good intentions on my bookcase (ten yet-to-be-read books).
    Roger mentions in the preface to his book that our tutor, John King, read through an early version of it and suggested improvements.
    As for me, I am thoroughly enjoying the class and, after a slow start trying to learn the Greek alphabet, I feel that I beginning to take off with my Greek studies now.

    • I haven’t read the book. However, it is interesting to observe that Paul was still prepared to identify himself as a Pharisee long after his conversion (Acts 23:6) and that there were Pharisees among the early Christians (Acts 15:5).

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Thank you – that is very interesting. I have now moved from thoughts of Pharisees to thoughts about the Jewish roots of Jesus. Years ago I read of a reference to Luke 8:40 in which the author said that the woman actually touched a tassel on the garment of Jesus, and that, as the tassels were what any Jewish man would wear on his cloak, this was evidence of the Jewish orthodoxy of Jesus. I think I read it in a book called ‘Yeshua Ben Joseph’, but I haven’t been able to locate the book or any online mention of it. However, I checked out the verse on Biblehub Interlinear Greek and found that the Greek word in question does mean ‘tassel’. According to the NIV Bible the woman touched ‘the edge of his cloak’ and even the KJV has ‘touched the border of his garment’. I am not happy about the omission of ‘tassel’ in these translations because it seems to me that this evidence of the orthodox Jewish dress of Jesus endorses his words, ‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.’ (Matt. 5:17) Biblehub has ‘abolish’, not ‘destroy’, but I think the meanings are similar.
        I’m sure there has already been much discussion about the tassel – it’s just that I’m not au fait with it, so I would be interested in any thoughts you and others have on this.

      • I commented on the tassel and the woman with the issue of blood in this post.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Thank you! I followed #Luke2Acts, so how did I manage to forget the tassel reference, I ask myself – so thank you again for the link. I have just found the book, which is actually called ‘Jesus Ben Joseph – An Introduction to Jesus the Jew’ , by Walter Riggans. These words by the author (on the backcover) caught my interest when I bought the book in 1994:
        ‘If one attempts to de-Judaise Jesus by making him into some sort of all-purpose human being, then one loses the Jesus of history.’

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        One of the most surreal (and paradigm changing) things I’ve read is when the introduction to Difficult Freedom praises Orthodox Jew Levinas as a modern Pharisee.

  8. Chris W says:

    A lot has been said about the negative aspects of prosperity teaching, but very little about the positive aspects. Prosperity teaching is after all, at heart, a rejection of Gnosticism. There are a few key errors prevalent in evangelical theology which prosperity teaching aims to correct:

    1) Creation is bad – there are many fundamentalists who teach that drinking alcohol, dancing, engaging in any kind of “worldly” activity is bad, despite such things being grounded in the natural order.
    2) Salvation is non-physical – there are many evangelicals who treat salvation and the kingdom as essentially just “spiritual” matters which don’t affect the real world in the present. For such evangelicals, being “born again” or “going to heaven” are emphasized to the point of neglecting other themes such as the Kingdom of God, the sacraments, and the new creation.

    Of course, it is an unhealthy over-reaction, but it is notable that many of the most vocal critics of prosperity theology do tend to fall into one or both of the two errors listed above. John Piper, for instance, believes that drinking alcohol is a sin and frequently treats salvation as a purely spiritual matter.

    Having said all of that, both prosperity theology and fundamentalism suffer from the lack of a robust liturgical/sacramental theology. The former has tended to give in to a market trend (what will attract most people) and the latter has practiced an over-cautious minimalism (from fear of getting it wrong). The existence of the debate itself says a lot about the participants.

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      Permit me one cheer for gnosticism. Gnosticism is of course exactly what T.S. Eliot defined a heresy as: something where you take a truth and push it until it becomes a falsehood.

      So, here is my (extremely limited) defense of gnosticism: yes, the creation is, overall, good, still, but there are a lot of terrible things in it, things to just break your heart. Creation needs to be redeemed. Creation as it is now cannot be unequivocally affirmed.

      —–

      There is also modernity, which mostly isn’t gnostic, though some moderns shade into it.

      The modern often conceives of himself as purely body, purely animal. This is in contrast to the classical conception, which was that man was a unity, but a unity of material and immaterial aspects. The body was absolutely essential to him, but did not completely define him.

      Much of the movement of Evangelicals to accept drinking, dancing etc. is simply a move to the modern conception of the body.

      • Cal says:

        I think DB Hart makes a compelling argument that Modernity actually verges on towards ethereal idealism. The Market Ideology doesn’t allow one to settle for one possesses. Consumption as a way of life calls one to search, endlessly, for the better thing. Modernity’s quest for a positivism is actually a clamoring for a phantom.

        Conceiving oneself as pure animality causes the crisis modernity exists in. We seek to immortalize ourselves and transcend, even if we’ve rejected the Platonic chain-of-being. Futurists are materialists and yet there is the fringe movement to “download” the mind. Dawkins being able to say that Humanity’s mimetic (which is what exactly besides a materialistic concept of the ghost in the machine) hope is to fight our Darwinian hardware (and who would say Dawkins is not a quintessential ignorant materialist?). Our concepts of sex pull us to what is beyond. We airbrush girls and construct the impossible as our goal.

        Gnosticism wasn’t a movement but a mood, ending in the harshest ascetics and the grossest materialists. Listen to the pop-song “If we’re talking Body…” (I think) if you want to see a perfect example of this.

        If anything, Chris has a point that the Prosperity Gospelers teach us, through their false Gospel, that God is intimately involved in this Creation. The most critical people of prosperity gospel are people who tend to put their trust in princes and who think God has nothing to do with our material well-being.

      • Cal says:

        Addendum: our neo-gnostic mood is the metaphysics of Epicurus and Lucretius combined with the disgust with our materiality. Unlike the former two, we are unable to be content with our bodied existence, even if that is all we really have. Epicurus did not disbelieve in the soul, he just thought it was made out of rarefied atoms that dispersed upon death. It seems the modern reincarnation does the same with the Will and its gnomic power.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        Yes, there are wild swings in modernity between materialism, idealism and and a sort of vulgar Cartesianism.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        As I come from a different background, I think, speak and write in a different ‘language’ about what may be similar concepts to those you have been discussing. For instance, on the subject of ‘self’, I think of what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’ and what is ‘mine’ and what is ‘not mine’. We all have an ‘I’ , and it is difficult to imagine a time when this ‘I’ did not exist and that there will be a time when this ‘I’, as we know it, will no longer exist. One of my grandchildren, when looking at photos of her parents’ wedding, asked, ‘Where was I when you and Dad got married, Mum?’ Her Mum said, ‘You hadn’t been born then – you were born eight years later.’ ‘Yes, but where was I then?’ – my granddaughter thought that she must been somewhere years before she was born! This ‘I’ that we know is temporally, physically,and geographically finite, yet we have a sense of being connected to others who came before us and who will come after us, and also to others who exist on earth during the same limited time-span of our own existence on earth – we have a sense of eternity and ubiquity, and we are aware that we are part of ‘something bigger’, without which we would not exist at all. We also, as Christians, hope for the resurrection of the body.
        So although my reading on this subject is very limited, I can say that these words do make sense to me: ‘Our bodies…are both self and world.’

  9. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Any thoughts on this blog post by Peter Leithart?

    I have serious reservations about the opposition of metaphor and reason.

    • I don’t see it as an ‘opposition’ of metaphor and reason. It seems to me that Leithart is suggesting that metaphor is, as it were, the body of reason, a body that is animated and articulated by reason, but that the body exceeds and precedes reason on account of its materiality and givenness. There is no reason with the material of metaphor, but metaphor isn’t the creation of autonomous reason.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        the body exceeds and precedes reason on account of its materiality and givenness

        It is this that I find problematic. And, by opposition, I mostly mean separation. They are two sides of the same thing.

      • I don’t think any separation is intended (not by me, nor by Leithart). However, our words and metaphors are not our private creations and can slip out of our grasp. Reason is embedded in—indeed, its substance is—our language and metaphors. But our language and metaphors arise from less reflective forms of our existence, pass through many mouths before reaching us, and pull upon the symbolic world in some surprising and unpredictable ways. We are their creations no less than they are ours.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        The problem you seem to be pointing to is reducing reason to something merely in individual minds.

      • That’s an extreme form of the problem, but it is broader than that. Even if we acknowledge reason as a broader cultural and transgenerational process, the point still holds.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        Saying that metaphors and symbols are prior to reason is without justification. Derrida and others use this slight separation to say all sorts of silly things.

      • What exactly is your issue with this claim? No one here is making a sharp separation. An analogical distinction would be between my body and my self. No separation can be made between these things. Indeed, one can properly say that my body is my self. However, my body has a materiality and givenness that precedes and exceeds my ‘self’.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        However, my body has a materiality and givenness that precedes and exceeds my ‘self’.

        I have no idea how anyone can say this.

      • Our bodies are where self and world meet and they can have a sort of liminal character. They are both self and world, internal and external. They are sites of our self-expression, but also sites where we discover that we are always already inscribed into the world, by culture, ancestry, and nature: we are always the bearers of meanings that precede and exceed our selves and their expression.

        There is no grasp on the ‘spirit’ apart from the ‘letter’ (marks on a piece of paper, phonemes, sensually perceived symbols, etc.), but the written letter, like the physical body, precedes and exceeds self-expressive meaning. It can bear meanings that we weren’t alert to, half-forgotten meanings of others before us, meanings that arise from language’s materiality and embeddedness in the world and our bodies, etc.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        I would challenge this notion of a self.

  10. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    There are apparently arguments that “prove” 2 + 2 = 5. And apparently they quite hard to disprove.

    I guarantee that if there was an interest group of people whose fulfillment of some strong desire was dependant on 2 + 2 equalling 5, we would see 2 + 2 = 5 defended staunchly in the academy using the utmost ingenuity and a community spring up to denounce those troglodytes who still have the audacity to believe that 2 + 2 = 4. We would no doubt get academic papers denouncing the oppressive and arbitrary nature of arithemetic, the conspiritorial hegemony of integers. Are these things even real? Ordinary people would be stumped at the sheer craziness of it all, but not possessing the sophisticated mathematical knowledge or highly developed reasoning skill, they would mostly be at a loss as to how to defend such a commonsense notion as 2 + 2 = 4. Not being able to take on their intellectual betters, they would mumble and complain about the silliness of academics. But not being terribly sophisticated, some of them might begin to doubt that such a thing was true. After all, whose to say?

    This is much how I feel about natural law.

    • mnpetersen37 says:

      And I’m confident that if it somehow became politically charged, half the US population would write blogs about how stupid libertards and the academy, or, conversely, ignorant conservative hicks, are for believing 2+2=4.

  11. quinnjones2 says:

    🙂 A maths-teacher friend once told me that she could prove mathematically that 2 = 0. As an ordinary person who was ‘at a loss as to how to defend such a commonsense notion as’ 2 = 2 and 0 = 0, I just left her with her thoughts! Yet there are also those things which are true, but which cannot be quantified, or proved beyond all reasonable doubt. For instance, I was woken up by the dawn chorus in the summer, but I can’t prove that to anyone. It actually matters not one iota to me that I can’t prove it, but then I also cannot prove that Jesus Christ is Lord, and sometimes it matters to me that I can’t prove that, and though many theological debates are beyond my understanding, I don’t put my own lack of understanding down to ‘the silliness of academics’!

  12. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi TMWW,
    This is on a different subject. When I just read your post in my inbox and saw ‘C’mon Chris…’ I thought for a moment (wrongly!) that you were addressing me. I am addressed as ‘Chris’ by family members and by many of my friends, but at one point I asked admin at work and also church rota-makers to refer to me as ‘Christine’, because ‘Chris’ was a popular name, and most Chris-people I knew were male, so I wanted to lessen some of the confusion about my gender amongst people who had yet not encountered me. Chris W – when I saw your name and photo on this page I was, of course, in no doubt about your gender, and my initial reaction to TMMW’s ‘C’mon Chris…’ was entirely down to my own personal history, as I described above. I know that we are not the only people with unisex names😉
    Christine

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