Friday, October 7, 2011

Just Plain Too Clever

... smart people are often those who say the stupidest things. They, like everyone else, have blind spots but, being rather intellectually resourceful, they are even more apt at covering them up and rationalising them to themselves. They construct obtuse abstractions that even they themselves find hard to grasp in order to cover up their blinds spots. Add to this some ill-defined (or, conversely, too precisely defined) jargon, and they’ll set the heads of everyone in the room spinning so fast that everyone forgets what outlandish things they are in fact saying.

Philip Pilkington - Confessions of a Non-Utilitarian Shopper
Although this quote is referring to the economics profession, this expresses my frustration when people like N T Wright and Scot McKnight say things like:
The question is not about whether Jesus preached justification; the question is about whether he preached the Story of Israel coming to its completion in the story of himself as a saving story. - Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel, p 106 (ht JRKirk)
What the heck does this even mean? How does Jesus' descent and rise say anything about Israel's story that continues for 40 more years and, arguably, until the present day? More importantly, what possible light can "Israel's Story" cast on the state of the world today and God's apparent absence of action over the last 2000 years? N T Wright tries the same line in an online Theodicy debate with Bart Ehrman and reviewers are left saying, "What does that have to do with real people suffering in the world?" Personally I think the so-called "soterians" have a better claim - the whole Kingdom of God thing must be about internal salvation because the outside world is still f***ed up.

It is bewildering when a scholar like Rev. Wright, Bishop Willimon or Dr. McKnight say these things that are so out of touch with reality. The above observation that the smarter you are the more skilled you become in rationalizing away your errors is spot on.

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