Sunday, May 25, 2003

Well, my final final of the semester was Friday. I spent yesterday trying to relax. I'm not very good at 'working on relaxing', so today will be much less productive, I hope.

And I am having serious trouble with the entire italics html tag in my blog. Please forgice me, but I have brain damage. Maybe I'll ask my good buddy Hjalmer to debug this page. hmmmm.

I had two interesting philosophical encounters over the past few days. Most people don't seem to have any - but they probably aren't looking! Me, I look and listen because I think that what and how we think is important and needs to be examined and discussed. Of course, my friend Gregg Hale would counter that I just like to argue. He probably has a point.

Anyway, my first issue was with a local radio personality named Todd Friel with KKMS (look up in the Twin Cities. Now, politically-liberal religiously conservative Catholic that I am, I have many problems with the far-right wing evangelical protestants of KKMS in general. But I listen to find out what people who don't think like me are talking about, something I feel is very important.

Todd is a talk-show host that I find to be a mass of contradictions; he likes to make proclamations like "Good Christians don't do x", or ""This book/movie/whatever is evil and no Christian should buy/see it", while claiming he doesn't think about theology much. He seems to really dislike the very word 'theology'.


Now, whenever you say or think things like 'this is evil', or 'this is something a Christian/Buddhist/Zoroastrian should or shouldn't so', you are engaged in theology. And most religious people know and admit this. I usually find that when someone who is religious rejects the concept of theology one of three things is going on; 1) they think 'theology' is some weird, esoteric thing like church Latin and is not part of everyday life; 2) they haven't figured out what they actually believe yet, can't detail their beliefs, and therefore avoid discussing particulars; or, 3) both A and B.

I think Todd is more B with a bit of A along the lines of 'theology equals complexity'. Mainly, though, he joins the vast ranks of evangelicals who have strong beliefs - but don't know how to detail or defend them.

Now, before you think I'm a jerk, I don't think that only people with a developed theology are religious, or that religious people with a fuzzy theology are weak, poor cousins, etc. Far from it. But I do think that if you are going to spout off about Good and Evil and what 'good Christians' should or shouldn't do, you have an obligation to have a solid theology behind you.

Todd doesn't. And he doesn't see a problem with that. Like a lot of people I encounter, he knows what he knows and if you don't agree then you are deluded. Facts, logic, and rhetoric don't matter - he's right, you're wrong, he's moving on.

Lest you think I'm picking on poor Todd, let me assure you - I am convinced most of us (amd i include myself) think like this most of the time. Indeed, it is the only way to be productive. We don't wonder if the sun will come up in the East tomorrow, nor do we worry that the next time we turn the tap the water will flow up just this once. Making assumptions and working off preconceived notions keep sus efficient and productive. even sane.

But we can't let this stand when it comes to such issues as politics, religion, relationships, etc. We must ensure that we check our premises every now and then. And even if you are certain that you will never change your mind about something (such as my faith), you should understand it, be able to explain it, and make logical extrapolations from it.

My other encounter - well, I'll talk about that some other time, I think.

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