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January 09, 2010


"Epitomony" is not in the dictionary, but it sounds like it ought to be. So I will make a definition. As "trichotomy" is the belief that something can be severable into three self-standing entities, and a "trichotome" is one such entity, "epitomony" is the belief that that one cut can be made that is above all the rest (or closest to the quick?) and that best cut is an "epitome".

There was also an article in the faith section of the Washington Post that wondered if Brit Hume would offer the same kind of theological advice to wayward basketball player G. Arenas. It would be another opportunity to exercise that religious liberty we so often champion and another opportunity to save another soul from the fires of hell.

Save Arenas, too!!

This spectacle should prove to people that Jesus Christ is way too divisive for prime time. Oh, but we STR’ers knew he was baby!

Secular media tries to keep away an accurate presentation of Christianity. They try to keep the model of follow all the rules, and do good, or else go to hell. This model is rightfully distasteful, but often mistaken for real Christianity. When forgiveness, grace, or mercy are associated with Christianity in the public, it angers the opponents.

Brit was 100% within his rights to give his opinion. I'm glad he did. I just think it was bad advice.

I read Gerson's piece and looked up the pieces he quoted. Links and my take:

Tom Shales : "sanctimonious busybody", "telling people what religious beliefs they ought to have"

First is arguably true. The second is exactly what Brit meant to do isn't it?

Andrew Sullivan: "pure sectarianism" that helps abolish "the distinction between secular and religious discourse."

First, if you don't think Brit was being sectarian what would he have to say to be sectarian? The second is nuts. What kind of distinction would that be, Andrew? Legal? Natural? People can bring up religion any time. If religion is not relevant to the discussion that will come out in the wash. If they make a habit of it that will come out in the wash too.

David Shuster: "truly embarrassing", "my [Brit's] faith is the right one", "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet"

I can't find this. Not impressed with Shuster so far, though.

I agree with Gerson about religious freedom/rights. But none of these people are threatening Brit's religious freedom. They may be saying he's impolite or nosy. They may be telling him to shut up - rudely even. But they are not saying he is a criminal. They are not even saying he should be stopped from saying what he's saying - let alone stopped by the law.
Gerson says:

that others hold differing beliefs... is only a scandal to those offended by all belief.

What does he mean by "offended by all belief"?


Shales writes: "sanctimonious busybody", "telling people what religious beliefs they ought to have"

Of course, Shales is telling Brit Hume the religious exercise he ought to engage in. Thus, Shales engages in what I call "passive aggressive tyranny." It's dogma for sissies.

If Brit believes that true forgiveness can only come through the Christian faith, then he would be remiss not to say so. So, kudos for Brit's faithfulness. Would that I were so faithful as a Christian.

To say that espousing one's faith is to disrespect other faiths begs the question that faith is necessarily to be respected. And what does it mean to respect faith? Faith, in true Christian form, is essentially trusting God. To use an example of faith in a chair one could determine a chair to be unsound and sit another. when someone comes along and fails to make the observation, it is beneficial to tell someone not to have faith in the broken chair. It is respecting their faith to allow them to sit in the chair anyway. It is not disrespectful to publicly doubt their faith. When the bad chair fails, an "I told you so" is often not considered disrespectful. With regard to theology, it is often too late when we find out in the end that the false god doesn't provide what we hoped for.

It should be no surprise for Christians to learn that Tiger Woods is a sinner like everyone else. What moral standard does Buddhism have to offer him the hope of forgiveness, or even that he has done anything wrong? Yet if he hasn't done anything wrong, why is it news?

There are cultures where much promiscuity is normal and not generally considered wrong, but these are extremely rare. The human heart seems to have a sense that extramarital romance is wrong.

So why do we think it's wrong? There is a desire to live up to a moral standard and the human will is hardly monolithic. Therefore, when we fail the moral standard - sin - we must answer two questions:

1. Where did the moral standard come from?
2. Can I be forgiven?

Brit Hume answered both questions for Tiger Woods as one who has seen that the "bad chair" would fail. He offered tiger Woods a better "chair". But he respects Tiger Wood's faith enough to let him sit in whatever chair he is compelled.

Jim: "What moral standard does Buddhism have to offer him the hope of forgiveness, or even that he has done anything wrong?"

There's no forgiveness in Buddhism, but there is morality. They have an eight fold path that includes "right action."

"Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" (Acts 19:34). In the uproar described in Acts 19, which could be called Paul's uproar of the day, the instigator of it was one Demetrius who had a material interest in Diana worship. It is notable that the townsclerk said that Paul & Co. "were neither robbers or churches or yet blasphemers of your goddess". So, from the viewpoint of the secular authority at least, it is not blasphemy to proseletyze one faith in the hearing of, or in the principal city of, those of another.

>>"telling people what religious beliefs they ought to have">>

Yes. Just as someone telling his neighbor to stop drinking poison is "telling him what nutrition habits he ought to have". Only someone who believes religious and moral questions are all subjective would be offended by this.


If Brit's critics truly espoused religious subjectivity, they would not be at all offended by anyone's religious expressions. If some form of knowledge is apprehended in a completely subjective manner without any empirical evidence, then we must remain neutral about others' views of it since we could never have sufficient knowledge to say they are correct or incorrect. True neutrality elicits indifference, not outrage.

Those who criticize exclusive religious claims do so out of prejudice against those claims, not indifference to them.

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