lunadelcorvo: (Medieval Scholar)
I got into a (very civil, actually) discussion on FB about this. The other person began with a CS Lewis quote about how "I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God" is a fundamentally ludicrous idea. I replied that, given what we know of both history and text, the notion of accepting the ethical 'love your neighbor, care for the sick and the poor' message of the historical teacher, while remaining skeptical of claims to divinity is quite reasonable.

She reasserted that it was not really logically possible to accept even an ethical dimension to Jesus without accepting the divine, because Bible. And also CS Lewis. *eyeroll* Essentially, the argument is this: 1) Jesus was a great moral teacher (bible says so). 2) Jesus said he was divine (bible says so). 3) If he said he was divine and was not, he lied. 4) Great moral teachers do not lie (I say so). 5) Therefore, either Jesus was not a moral teacher, or he is divine.

Oh, the fallacies just abound in that little bit of reasoning! So here is my response: (cut for length; I do get rolling!) )

I've probably come across as a bit more 'appreciative of the mythology' than I am, but one must pick one's battles. In all honesty, I find a few of the supposed teachings of Christ to be quite fine, if stunningly basic and unoriginal, and others to be every bit as archaic and (in contemporary terms) backwards as one would expect from a male member of a first century patriarchal sacrificial cult. I do appreciate the tenacity and creativity of Christianity as a movement in the first few centuries; as socio-political or cultural trends go, it is certainly a unique success story in terms of adaptation, integration into society and having a knack for surviving....
lunadelcorvo: (Manuscript in hand)
...Literalist Megatronians and other related strangeness
An essay by [ profile] dave_littler, re-posted with permission.

“Listen, I realize that Lord of the Rings is just a story written by one guy, okay? I’m not one of those fundamentalists who believes everything that Tolkien said just because it’s in some book. I don’t believe in Sauron or anything. That’s obviously bullshit. I do believe in Gandalf the Grey, though, don’t get me wrong. I believe that he was some kind of wizard, and that he had some part to play in leading the Fellowship of the Ring in destroying the One Ring, I just don’t believe in all that obviously made-up stuff in Lord of the Rings.”

Imagine if someone said this to you. Imagine how absolutely taken aback you would be by what they were saying. For someone to say that they acknowledge that a work of fiction is a work of fiction and yet that one of the main characters of that work of fiction, who was invented in order to fulfill a role within that narrative, was nevertheless a real entity. Would that be more ridiculous or less ridiculous than a person who believed the story itself to be a true story? At least someone who believed Lord of the Rings was a historical tale could be forgiven, on some level, for believing that the people described within it to have been real people; after all, the events could hardly have been real if the people who enacted these events did not actually exist.

The rest of the essay can be found in this entry at the community [ profile] atheist, and it's an intriguing read!
lunadelcorvo: (Religion = Freaky)
I would like to invite you to read this essay, written by a professor of philosophy (who also happens to be my husband) in responce to the passing of Jerry Falwell.

It invites some serious thought and discussion on the nature of religion, society, and culture, and as such, is just the sort of thing many of you are interested in.

The essay is here.



Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities



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