Tuesday, August 12, 2008

brief altercation

gospel? - I doubt it

I’m not a very sociable person – I don’t get close to people, though I generally get on well enough with them. It occurs to me, though, that though I’m a social animal through and through, I’m never more sociable, more relaxed, more witty, more thoughtful, more loving and caring than when I’m alone.

I teach English to people from Vietnam and other mostly Asian countries, and I perform quite well for them and no doubt give an impression of being affable and friendly, and I’m friendly enough with those I associate with through foster caring, but I’m very bad at keeping up with friends, I don’t always, or often, respond to emails, I never visit or ring people unless I have to, and I generally avoid. I’ve completely lost contact with my ‘real’ family and things are pretty rocky too with the family I married into. My former wife keeps promising to divorce me, but she hasn’t yet. We’re quite good friends, but she’ll be moving further away from me in a few days.

I would really like to have someone to argue with. Someone knowledgeable and secure in themselves who can takes things I say and scrutinize and question them and give me a hard time without being in any way personal, someone who’ll add to my thoughts and deepen them, not letting me away with anything lax, urging me on, with a kind of unserious but really very serious respect. Why are such energizing people so incredibly incredibly rare?

I had the briefest of altercations yesterday. One of my former step-daughters, a theology student, was talking to the recent spouse of another former step-daughter about the various texts that did or didn’t make it into the holy book. She ‘explained’ to him that those other texts were rejected because they were full of myths[?!!] I’d just arrived on the scene at this point, and I couldn’t help chipping in with the sarcastic, “Yes, and those texts that were included contained no myths at all’’. “No, they didn’t,” my former step-daughter said, loudly and emphatically. At the same time, the husband of my other former step-daughter said laughingly, “oh no now, settle down, settle down”, for he’d no doubt heard of my belligerent atheism though I’m quite sure he’d never heard anything from me. Meanwhile, my response to my former step-daughter was a forehead-slapping “Of course they did,” to which she responded with some claim to being an expert, as a long-time and high-flying student of theology. I muttered something about the uselessness of theology, while the husband of my other former step-daughter went on trying to becalm the ruffled waters. That’s when I let it go. End of altercation. Bloody boring. And then went on chatting with my former step-daughter about the house she was hoping to buy, and it was all very amicable… and boring.

Of course [ah, alone again] the question of whether the Bible tales are myth or historical fact isn’t a theological question, it’s an empirical one. Perhaps more specifically an archaeological one, and it’s already been largely answered by that discipline. There is, as far as I’m aware, not a single historical claim made in the bible that has been backed by a scrap of archaeological evidence. Not a single scrap. Of course, theologians don’t take much of an interest in archaeology. And they wonder why they’re considered irrelevant!



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