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Friday, April 5, 2019

Outraged at Outrage!!!

Outraged at Outrage!!!

Just kidding! But my internal interest meter has recently been drawn to articles about outrage for some reason. I’ve narrowed it down to two I liked best.
The first argues that “Outrage Mobs Might Be More Forgiving If They Believed in Hell.” Author Nathanael Blake spends time exploring the thought of Plato and Aristotle about character, as well as that of Jesus.
The second explores what geniuses in history got right but also so much they got wrong. Like Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time who believed in Bible codes and alchemy. The article is a roundabout way of encouraging grace and humility:
Consider the debate over “outrage culture”. Most of this focuses on moral outrage. Some smart person says something we consider evil, and so we stop listening to her or giving her a platform. … I think there’s a similar phenomenon that gets less attention and is even less defensible—a sort of intellectual outrage culture. “How can you possibly read that guy when he’s said [stupid thing]?” I don’t want to get into defending every weird belief or conspiracy theory that’s ever been. … I just want to say it probably wasn’t as stupid as Bible codes. And yet, Newton.
Unfortunately for Some, ‘All Scripture Is Inspired …’
Every Bible reader has what is called a canon within the canon, meaning books and passages they come back to time and again, and therefore books and passages we never read. This is not the best way to read the Bible, but at least most of us still hold on to the whole Bible just in case someday we want to read the more uncomfortable passages.
Some readers have been more open about what they consider “real” Scripture. Like Thomas Jefferson, who ignored miraculous stories (including the Resurrection) from his New Testament and literally cut out and pasted into a new book those passages of the Gospels he found edifying, calling it The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Or take the ancient heretic Marcion, who chopped away the whole Old Testament thinking it didn’t portray God well. Recently I’ve been made aware of a missionary Bible from the 19th century that edited the Scripture in a particularly pernicious way:
English missionaries seeking to convert enslaved Africans toiling in Britain’s Caribbean colonies around the beginning of the 19th century preached from Bibles that conveniently removed portions of the canonical text. They thought these sections, such as Exodus, the Book of Psalms, and the Book of Revelation, could instill in slaves a dangerous hope for freedom and dreams of equality.
These are known as “Slave Bibles,” and one is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
‘Better, Faster, Stronger’
Andy Crouch has wise things to say about a lot of topics, but when it comes to technology, he is at his wisest. Like this book review of Jacob Shatzer’s survey Transhumanism and the Image of God. But neither Crouch nor the Union University professor lets us off the hook by merely pointing out the problem with “those” transhumanists:
While Shatzer helpfully pushes back on transhumanism with this Christian perspective, his most helpful contribution is showing how all of us, very much including Christians, are already embracing habits of life—he calls them “liturgies of control”—that train us to accept the transhumanist promise of “better, faster, stronger” and, perhaps, “realer.”
These liturgies—the daily ways we choose virtual relationships over embodied ones or neglect the places we actually live for faraway or entirely imagined ones—make it all too possible that most Christians will offer no effective resistance to “better, faster, stronger” as it beckons us onward.
Perfecting the Free Throw
At least one group of people should be getting better at one skill: making free throws. As the NCAA March Madness Tournament comes to a conclusion, with many games being decided at the free-throw line, you may want to read (maybe during those interminable time-outs at the end of these games) “Free Throws Should Be Easy. Why Do Basketball Players Miss?
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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