Comment on Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’ by Oink.
â€œMight I respectfully point out the sublime irony of fine folks of the same faith trying to carve out bigger pieces of the pie of rationality?â€
Yes you may, certainly. Not only â€œrespectfullyâ€ but also accurately, sublimely accurately, and, if not exactly disinterestedly, helpfully. Thank you.
But I donâ€™t think God (for the moment â€œfaithâ€) should be thanked for that. The Goddess of Reason should be — she whom the Enlightenment apotheosized, as befits a divinity; she whose oblation, since her apotheosis, has gotten so partisan and so discombobulated, and so ugly and so out of hand, that only inquisitions and investigations, blogs and moveOn.Org can handle it. For the Goddess of Reason has turned out to as bicephalic, double-headed and double-faced â€“ rationality/irrationality — as the pagan god Janus or any of Revelationâ€™s beasts. Itâ€™s hard to tell which head is talking, the rational or irrational. Follow me?
Anyway, somehow religion, wherein God at least sometimes is to be found, has received the award from academia for most irrationality, and atheism for most rationality. But, speaking of irony, by what authority does academia, wherein irrationality is increasingly found, bestow these awards?
Fact is, the awards have been presented to the wrong parties, like a newborn sent home with the wrong parents. For God must be the sublimest rationality in all Hubbleâ€™s heaven and scoffing or science-ing Him off (by whomever, in or out of the church), is the saddest irrationality, speaking of irony. To me the evidence, and then faith, point thus.
First by evidence and then by faith you knew I was going to say that, didnâ€™t you? (And by the same token, I rather know what youâ€™ll say. So here we are, you and I, munching our rations of rational pie.)
Anyway and anyway, itâ€™s when religion, ours certainly, is open-eared only to the Goddess of Reason and deaf to God that we wind up in such an ironic and sorry pass as this, as you perfectly respectfully say. Ironically, we needed that, from you. Thanks again.
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â€œGratefully under the tentâ€? No, GRACIOUSLY under the tent, Ken, popcorn and all. Ummâ€”good! May I have some more?
The big tent Iâ€™m talking about, of course, is this here roomy tent, this site, under our needfully single-minded but preternaturally tolerant ringmasters.
The SDA tent itself has always been really big, especially our evangelical â€œEffortâ€ tents, complete with sawdust floors. I remember when I was 10 years old, and a huge tent, a real tent, sawdust and all (maybe popcorn too; I think I remember the smell), biggest one Iâ€™d ever seen, came to our town. North Hollywood, of all places. Pitched right across from the Public Library for a whole year, always with a full house eager to hear about Daniel 2, it was that big tent I was baptized in, me and maybe 50 others, further swelling the tent.
That big tent was 70 years ago. But now our tent isnâ€™t big enough. Kleig lights in banks canâ€™t be hung from tent poles. Not enough room for the clowns and the juggling, tumbling, dancing acts, special effects and extreme makeover crews, and Daniel 2 too. Daniel will have to go. Watch out! The seams are splitting â€“ cra-a-a-a-k!
Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
Personally, and for the moment, I like this thread best â€“ heroic crusaders and crusades, awarded and wannabes. So I shall indulge (pending editorial indulgence) an essay.
This thread is not just a thread but a fabric, not always of the most skillfully extruded acrylic, sometimes twisted, but all the more priceless the garment: see-through and teasing like a peignoir, yet heavy, scratchy wool suitable for field uniforms in a civil war (such as we are in â€“ duck! Whereâ€™s the closest bomb shelter!), yet satiny and elegant enough for academic robes.
Personally, and to offer my unsought but master-class critique, I think any blog, regardless of itâ€™s domain, whether secular or religious, is successful to the degree that it tolerates jaw-droppingly divergent and even hostile opinions. Thus, this one is a howling success. It must be a texture of styles from heavy-handed to delicate, from in-your-face to nuanced, from charming to grungy edgy; evocative of reasoned unrushed responses and provocative of the blurted usually regretted kind — xo@X!-you-called-me-a-lier-let-me-at-my-keyboard-whack!-let-him-have-it! And of moods, from serious to light, from dread of the cosmic to flipping it off, to shrinking from it; and protocols, from obsession with fact and detail to untethered metaphor and bravura brush strokes; from the deadly prosaic to the dreamily poetic. A tent big enough for all.
But hopefully not over-crowded with allegory. Our church is overdosed on that stuff right now, choking on it. If once we were overdosed on proof texts, now weâ€™re overdosed, almost fatally, on allegory. If my generation was too legalistic, this new one is too liberated.
I further venture â€“ â€œI submit,â€ as we say in committee â€“ that the two awarded and archetypal heroes herein, Dr.s Pitman and Taylor, are especially and exceptionally intelligent and educated and well-read; both give a plethora of discursive detail, equally relevant, equally authoritative, equally credible, being mostly from the same sources. I donâ€™t see Irked Erv offering the better. In accordance with his allegorical take on issues, it may be said that Ervâ€™s presentations are not a flood of Noachian proportions flooding the debating floor, but patchy, not global, cloudbursts, heavy to be sure, but survivable. As to style â€“ maybe what fascinates me most, and where I lose credibility â€“ while both are even-toned and certifiably formal, both bang the table, but somehow Evo Erv reminds me of Khrushchev and his shoe. Erv, the old pro at it, seems just slightly more rattled. And I add, as my amen but not as benediction against feedback — rightly so.
Popcorn, anyone? Ken and I will share with you. His is buttered, mine salted.
Ken, Youâ€™ll rescue us yet, if youâ€™re the Moderator of our latest Big Genesis 1 Debate. So now my own Quixotic-Heroic Crusade is to promote your candidacy. Listen, everybody: Kenâ€™s just the right man for it, the most qualified.
Once the very idea of Adventists debating Adventists over Genesis 1 simply would not have occurred to anybody. Now itâ€™s impossible for even Adventists not to debate Genesis 1, again, (plus why we are even debating it), for as a class our most educated, self-styled â€œthought leadersâ€ [sic] (as opposed to church leaders, hopefully) doubt Genesis 1. Basically, generically; historically from pre-antiquity on; by etymological, technical, academic, by any definition, to doubt is to agnosticize. If we now have theistic evolutionists, we have theistic agnostics. Iâ€™ll call them vegetarian agnostics. So who better to moderate than a professional, full, real, unbiased, not-on-our-payroll agnostic?
But seriously, Ken, Iâ€™m taking up your time with whimsy when you could be talking to Inge. What a lovely exchange youâ€™re having, your freest, most useful, serious one yet, I think. Iâ€™m following it eagerly, right now to see how you respond to Ingeâ€™s referring to you as a postmodernist. But isnâ€™t Postmodernism the best domain name yet, in the whole WWW of agnosticism? Seriously.
Here, my friend, have some popcorn.
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I accept that I must accept it, wholly, actively, even with agony, with my whole being.