Re: MD God and the Republicans, Democrats & Others

From: Sam Norton (
Date: Wed Oct 27 2004 - 10:38:15 BST

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    Hi Marsha,

    > Please make an estimate (% percent) of U.S. citizens who you believe hold a
    > correct understanding of the Christian God? 80%, 60%, 33%, 2%?

    Ha ha ha! That's really put me on the spot. I'm going to cop out and say 'I don't know'. But I'll
    say a few things. First, a quotation from my favourite philosopher, Wittgenstein:

    'I should like to say that ... the words you utter or what you think as you utter them are not what
    matters, so much as the difference they make at various points in your life. How do I know that two
    people mean the same when each says he believes in God? And just the same goes for belief in the
    Trinity. A theology which insists on the use of *certain particular* words and phrases, and outlaws
    others, does not make anything clearer... It gesticulates with words, as one might say, because it
    wants to say something and does not know how to say it. *practice* gives the words their sense'.

    I think it's possible to distinguish some types of theological thinking from others, though,
    especially in the States, which is so diverse. So even just looking at what I called the 'edge'
    traditions, there are some stunningly good theologians at work. I would mention Stanley Hauerwas,
    Walter Brueggemann, and, in a slightly different way, Eugene Peterson as all very 'sound', and whose
    understanding of God is way, way ahead of mine! On the opposite side, the 'Left Behind' series
    (LaHaye and Jenkins) is a long way from Christian belief. But then, the latters' books sell in the
    multi-millions, the former sell in the tens of thousands. That tells a story, I guess.

    > Sam, are you what they call an e-missionary?

    I have no idea, never heard of them. (Although the name makes me feel like a character from Dr
    Strangelove, with a concern for the purity of my bodily fluids!)


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