Mar 03 2010

Another Honor For Al Gore

Category: Al Gore,global warming,humoramuzikman @ 11:52 pm

The University of Tennessee has announced it is going to award Al Gore an Honorary Doctor of Laws and Humane Letters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology because according to University Chancellor, Jimmy Cheek, “Vice President Gore’s career has been marked by visionary leadership, and his work has quite literally changed our planet for the better”.

In keeping with the spirit in which this degree will be awarded I’d like to propose some additional honorary degree candidates:

The Culinary Institute of America should nominate Hannibal Lechter for an Honorary Doctorate in the Culinary Arts for his “passionate dedication to exploring new culinary possibilities combining fava beans, chianti and human organs”.

The Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government should nominate Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for an Honorary Doctorate in International Development for their “unswerving commitment to world peace through open international trade and free exchange of technology”.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts should nominate Larry Flynt for an Honorary Doctorate in Film & Television Production for his “body of work celebrating group copulatory interpretive movement”.

The Cleveland Institute of Art should nominate Charles Manson for the Sharon Tate Honorary Doctorate in Biomedical Art/Interior Design for his “bold, fresh and daring integrated use of human blood as both interior design element, artistic-political statement, and Beatles tribute.”

Fuller Theological Seminary should nominate Madelyn Murray O’Hair for an Honorary Doctorate in Practical Theology for her “lifelong activism related to the subject of the theological equivalent of the unified field theory”.

The Claremont Graduate University, Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management should nominate Bernie Madoff for the P.T. Barnum Honorary Doctoral degree in Financial Engineering for his “proven commitment to wealth redistribution and contributions to the Obama model of economic justice”.

As for the University of Tennessee I only wish they had their tongues firmly planted in the esteemed Chancellor Cheek.  In light of recent disclosures concerning the reliability of anthropogenic global warming data the truth of this latest accolade for Al Gore is more bizarre than anything that could be imagined.

Mar 03 2010

The Left at Christian Universities, part 18: Fear of Fundamentalism

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:11 am

The previous post in this series is here.

It’s really funny, almost.  And sad.

There is a too-large group of faculty at Christian universities who are more afraid of “fundamentalism” than they are of agnosticism, outright atheism and its secularist implications, or, most dangerous of all, simple Christian Leftism, which acts almost exactly like agnosticism or progressive secularism, and supports approximately the same social and political policies, but simply quotes scripture while doing it.

To those suffering from fear of it, “fundamentalism” equates to willful ignorance, stubborn resistance to fact, anti-intellectualism, blind faith, and probably barely suppressed violence in the defense of rigidly held values.  Most frightening of all, some “fundamentalists” appear to think that some things are actually true.

To the Left, of course, and the Christian Left is little different, nothing is really true.  Certainly nothing that can be stated in human language, anyway.  Everything is up for endless re-interpretation.  Not to mention re-interpretation of the re-interpretations.  There is always a way to tease a new meaning out of something whose meaning has been understood for centuries, or even millennia, and then simply replace the old meaning with the new, while claiming to be “faithful to the text.”  So Leftist Christian academics are busy finding support for diversity, multi-culturalism and affirmative action in the Old Testament, socialism and “anti-nationalism” in Luke, pacifism in the Sermon on the Mount, and abortion-on-demand and same-sex marriage in (apparently) “emanations of the penumbra” of the New Testament.  None of these things (with the possible exception of some strains of pacifism) were discovered in the Scripture by the previous 19 centuries of exegesis.

Why do these new meanings point in the direction favored by the secular-progressive left, in terms of social and political implications?   I think a case can be made that outcomes were chosen, and that interpretive methods were selected to support those outcomes.

So, to me, the real question is not why does the Christian Left tend to favor textual deconstruction and relativistic interpretations, thus aping the secular Left.  The real question, to me:  Why is the Christian academic Left  so enthusiastic about those outcomes listed above, so much that it is willing to distort its traditional hermeneutics into intellectual pretzels in order to prefigure the desired outcomes?

There are many possible answers.  I may suggest a few of them in a subsequent post.  But for now, I simply observe that the word “fundamentalism” is sometimes hurled as an epithet on some Christian campuses, in response to the suggestion that maybe the Bible simply means what it says (or at least that should be our first assumption until evidence and context prove otherwise).  Just as the new McCarthyism in politics starts by calling someone else a McCarthyite, the new “fundamentalists” these days are the Christian Left, for whom socialism, sustainability, diversity, climate change and same-sex marriage are the badges of “five point progressivism.”  And from their point of view, anything and anyone who challenges this new orthodoxy or its presumed intellectual underpinnings is dangerous, and probably a “fundamentalist.”

From where I sit, what the Left calls “fundamentalism,” these days, is simply historic, traditional Christianity.  Maybe “fundamentalists” should co-opt the word and make it into a badge of honor.  I’ll bet it would look good on a t-shirt.

But on too many Christian campuses today, “fundamentalist” is the new F-word.  It is used to stop conversation, and to intimidate voices that dissent from the emerging leftist orthodoxy.

And that’s fundamentally wrong.

The next post in this series is here.