Month: September 2014

The Society of [not-so] Biblical Literature: a Confession of [un]Faith

clownsFor those who love SBL (the Society of Biblical Literature), you might love this humorous summary of their doctrinal position that I came across on the post-post-modern blog called Pantheos:

“SBL confession of faith: ‘Faith is tolerated, but not necessarily encouraged.’”

It is amazing how much money and resources are wasted by the many institutions of higher learning who send their eager scholars (and hopefuls) off to the annual meetings every year! It seems to be an incalculable and colossal waste to try and get some recognition or to hob-knob with those who already have it. Yes, I know, the discounted liberal books make up for it :(. As you might guess, I would rather spend the several grand (we are lacking anyway) to get there this year on a cruise to Bermuda. Any institutions up for funding it?


Is being a student a vocation?

StudentLibrary1-2To read the essay, click here.

The Institute for Work, Faith, and Economics has published a short piece by Andrew Spencer that gives an introduction to this question and proposes some good principles to answer it. There is something about being a student that often obscures consideration of the “calling” of study:

Lost in transposition

Deficit in several partsboysketch by Hague gimp 2

I reconstruct worlds,
a contractor of words,
piecing together particles.
Deaf I sometimes sit
to the whole,
an apprentice of parts,
reorganizing spaces,
empty air, broken sounds.
A word-forger
clutching fragments of discourse,
fractured bones of pericopes,
hands, limbs, face, and hair,
floor, walls, windows.

Sometimes I sit deaf to the whole,
hearing parts and pieces,
stops and starts,
shuffling lines and wrinkles,
light pulsing from teeth, pupil, tongue,
phonemes rolled up tightly
in a montage of timbre and spaces
across your face.
I squint, staring up at the edifice,
facade of towering air and shattered phrases,
wanting you to know how much
I did not choose to miss your meaning,
this poor phrasemonger of fragile lines,
acts, scenes, and interludes,
architect of empires and lost poems.

Words lost,
links to others’ worlds,
as penetrating insights,
resolves of cosmic proportions,
or poems unwritten,
perish in the scattering debris
upon waking up at empirical borderlines.
Days break with blinding sounds
like continents around my feet.
I remap their scripts,
broken spaces,
frame by frame, deficit
sounds, limbs, and faces.

The Pink Sweater

Pink SweaterELDERLY_WOMAN_IN_PINK_sweater gimp

An old woman in a pink sweater

stooping forward stands at the edge

of our road, gazing, she watches,

she seems hopeful, tentative,

but resolute like an unpainted Vermeer,

aching to see or find something there,

or dreaming of crossing the road,

as in the day or on the way,

eyes searching, probing, perhaps,

just waiting for the mail,

every day in her sweater,

the hottest July on record.

One day she was missing

at my passing — I strained to see

her piercing gaze

that such aging emboldens, enlivens,

gives sight.

The religion of atheistic humanism: “Transcendence” and the trans-humanist path to godhood

transTal Brooke and Brian Godawa (ironically with a name like that) have written an insightful review of the movie Transcendence in which they say (regarding the main theme of the film of “the universal nature of mankind to seek godhood,” and in this case through transhumanist efforts to create truly Artificial Intelligence):

An anti-technology advocate confronts Caster[whose intelligence has been uploaded and evolves into the god he wants to become]: ‘So you want to create a god. To make your own god.’ Caster replies, ‘Isn’t that what mankind always does?’ And of course, the god that Transhumanism seeks to create is human godhood, revealing the ultimate and inescapable religious nature lurking beneath atheistic humanism. But on the other side of this is that man is a religious being in need of worshiping the Creator God. But when he denies God, he replaces Him with himself, and inevitably seeks to achieve godhood through self-transcendence. Such godhood always leads to control of others, ruthless control.” Brian Godawa and Tal Brooke, “‘Transhumanism’: The Latest Doorway to Godhood,” SCP Newsletter, Volume 38:4, Summer 2014, p.7.

Many films have explored the themes related to human efforts to live forever, but the remarkable truth is that there are many well-funded folks who sincerely believe that they are going to create bodies that will not die (“humans” that are an eternal interface of technology, mind, and Artificial Intelligence). Some language of this atheistic, religiously humanist movement to create god-hood for humans through technology to transcend human limitations has become part of the lingua franca of our mythologically-oriented “scientific” age:

  • Bioethics
  • Genetic engineering and human cloning
  • Cyborgians
  • Technosapiens
  • Transhumanism
  • Neurotheology
  • Neuroethics
  • Technoethics
  • Roboethics
  • Neuromythology
  • Posthumanism
  • Whole Brain Emulation
  • Intelligence Enhancement
  • Nanotechnology and nanoethics
  • Cryonics
  • Cryogenics
  • Eugenics: This last term on my list, I suspect, would become the modus operandi of these new god-men-women. That is, if they succeed to jump-start “hyper-evolution” through genetic, biological selection, identifying genomic biomarkers to eliminate disease and all other human obstacles to becoming gods (errrr . . . trans-human-god-men-women).

“Up from Hell: Dante’s Lessons for Millennials”

danteMidway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in some dark woods,
For I had wandered off from the 
straight path.

Why Oprah (and you) should read Dante’s Inferno.
Rod Dreher says it just might save your life. See this interesting piece here.

For the e-reader version of this issue see here.