Cherry picking

Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, body, Change, Character of God, Cherry picking, Christianity, community, Compassion, contemplation, courage, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Discernment, empathy, Epiphany, faith, God, Gratitude, Healing, healing hands, healing moment, Hope, Human Condition, image of God, Intentional Living, mindfulness, Pain and Suffering, Present Moment, Religion, T. S. Eliot, Theology, Uncategorized, Waiting
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a
Fig Picking, Cherry Picking, And Selective Theology

Fig Picking, Cherry Picking, And Selective Theology

"Life" Issues, activism, autonomy, awareness, Challenge, Change, Cherry picking, Christian Church, Christianity, citizenship, civics, community, conflict, Creator, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Discernment, Ecology, Economy, Enlightenment, Environment, faith, faithfulness, Family, Fascism, GLBT, God, Human Condition, Ideology, Jesus, Nature, progressive politics, Secularity, Skeptic, Thinking, Trump, Uncategorized
It occurs to me that, many times over the four-plus years I have been writing this “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I have taken the political and religious right to task for the venerable practice of “cherry-picking”, i.e., carefully culling all the evidence for any thesis so as to pick out those events and data that support one’s position, while no less carefully ignoring or de-emphasizing those events and data that support contrary arguments.  Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in theological discourse, in particular, theodical discourse. But progressives decidedly on the left of the spectrum, both theologically and politically, have an equivalent tendency to pick equally substantial cherry harvests. Herewith some examples that should make chardonnay-swilling, Bernie- / Warr
Theodicy as Moral Plagiarism

Theodicy as Moral Plagiarism

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, autonomy, awareness, C. S. Lewis, Cherry picking, Christian Church, Christianity, Comfort, comforter, community, Compassion, conflict, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, doubt, empathy, Ethics, faith, Fear, God, Holy Mystery, Human Condition, mindfulness, monotheism, Myth, Ockham's Razor, parable, Religion, Theodicy, Theology, Tragedy, Uncategorized
It will probably come as no great surprise to you if you have read even a few of my “Skeptics” columns over the years, but I have scant regard for theology. When it comes to the specific field, not of theology in general, but the sub-discipline of theodicy in particular, my “regard quotient” craters out all the way to zero.  I admit to being perversely fascinated by theodicy, if only because theodicy has historically illustrated the tortuous twists and turns of which the human intellect is capable when the thinker desperately attempts to avoid concluding “4” from “2 plus 2”, the intellectual equivalent of watching a python swallow a full-grown goat whole. Maybe mildly perverse, like binge-ing out on Quentin Tarantino movies over a weekend. But mostly harmless. Except … one of the most