Thursday, November 22, 2007
Your Life in 12 Words or Less: the Dehumanizing Effect of Facebook Profiles, Personal Ads, and Eulogies
I like to talk. In general, I feel that I usually know what the right thing is to say to a person when they need advice or admonishment. But there's one situation where I don't know if I'll ever have the right words: when a person has lost a loved one. What is there to say that could ever come close to what they are going through? The sorrow, the questions, the guilt, the shock, what words exist that could be shaped to be commensurate to their experience? As difficult as these situations are, imagine if it was your job to summarize the entire life of a person within one or two sentences, not to offer eulogies or condolences, but to give readers or viewers a succinct statement that expressed what the person did with their life. Whenever I read of a murder, a suicide, or an accident, I try to note how the reporter sums up the life of a once living human in 12 words or less.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
"On November 20th, one of the most anticipated games of the year will be released for the Xbox 360, Bioware's Mass Effect; when it arrives on my doorstep, I will have the choice to encourage alien, unnatural, sexual immorality."
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
If you a Believer who is at all interested in Pop Culture--E.G. Film, Television, Music, Technology, whatever, then you should check out the new blog I'm writing for called Christ And Pop Culture It's a cool blog project with several writers who are all well theologically grounded and who have a love for Christianity and the Arts. Please come check it out.
I'm still going to keep writing for this blog; I will keep the more heavy theoretical and theological stuff here. This looks to be a very neat project, so I hope you'll all give it a view.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Today, the L.A. Times has an article on the benefit of Greek polytheism over monotheism (read Christianity) written by Mary Lefkowitz is professor emerita at Wellesley College. Lefkowitz argument essential breaks down to this:
|Rejects other culture's gods||Embraces multiculturalism|
|Asserts a masculine God||Allows for gods of both sexes|
|Claims to have the answers||Does not claim to have the answers|
|Has an authoritarian God||The gods work as a sort of democracy|
|An omnibenevolent God||Gods who actually cause chaos and evil (thus providing "a more plausible account than monotheism of the presence of evil and confusion in the world")|
|God is to be reverenced, not complained to||Since the gods are many and fairly cruel themselves, humans can rightly complain to them|
|Things will turn out well in the end||No one knows if things will be okay in the end, since the gods are crazy|
Since we "know" that multiculturalism, gender equality (in our gods?), democracy, chaos, and skepticism about the future are all ideas embraced by an educated intellectual in the year 2007, the Greek religion must be true.*
There are too many absurd holes in this article to point them all out, I would encourage you to discover them yourself, but here are three parting thoughts.
First, Lefkowitz asserts a religion of pragmatism: whatever fits best with what we want is true. As an epistemology, pragmatism offers no foundation other than the utilitarian whims of its followers. Using the same logic, we could claim that we should believe that no Indians died when we came to America because we're a great country. Blah, utter nonsense.
Second, although Lefkowitz is said to be publishing a book on Greek gods, I wonder if she's actually studied them. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Greek gods can tell you that they were the most cruel and capricious gods in nearly all religions, using humans and their lives as pawns in their own childish squabbles. Take for example, Leda and the Swan, where Zeus takes the form of a swan and rapes Leda. Or the myth of Io who is seduced by Zeus, turned into a cow, and forced by a jealous wife to wander the earth without rest because she slept with Zeus. I could be wrong, but bestial rape and torturing a woman for being seduced by a nearly all-powerful god hardly qualifies as progressive thinking.
Third, to some extent, Lefkowitz has received her wish, the Greek gods do seem to be highly esteemed by our culture. Heavenly beauties whose decisions and actions shape the very fabric of our culture, whose infidelities and failures comprise the primary source of all our stories, and in whom each individual can see a reflection of their own personal struggles and hopes--if these are Lefkowitz's Greek gods, they walk among us still.
*Before someone calls me out as a fool, yes, I get that the article isn't really suggesting that people believe that Zeus is real. Lefkowitz is tapping into Dawkin's argument that being a Christian is no more rational than believing in Zeus. But unless we call out this equivocation people will continue to go on using it, poor logic and all.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
It is the great hubristic claim of our time that science has finally freed itself from the fallibility that marked its younger self.
They were mistaken before; subject to superstitions, misinformation, and ignorance. Fools crafting models in the dark, guided more by their place and time than by what was. What few facts they could discover were stifled or repressed by the scientist’s isolation or the ignorance of his community.
But that was then.