Perhaps the money wasn’t the most valuable thing she earned?
After studying the Bible for six hours a day for more than four months, 18-year-old Kari Erickson achieved what hundreds of kids across the country worked throughout the summer and fall to do: She won this year’s National Bible Bee competition held in Nashville, Tenn.
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16
I recently started listening to the Partially Examined Life,a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. As someone who studied political philosophy in college, that isn’t too far off my own experience. Episode 44 was one of the first I listened to; the New Atheist Critique of Religion. In preparation, I checked out from my local library an audio version of “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. Rather than just listening to the first two chapters that were to be discussed on PEL, I ended up subjecting myself to the entire book. That was more than enough of the other New Atheists for me, which turned out okay as the PEL podcast devoted most of its time to Harris. They were not kind. One of them even said something like Harris’ book was “the worst kind of rhetorical garbage
As I listened to Harris cherry-pick Biblical references, revisit long-settled philosophical debates without new information, depend on unstated preconceptions and basically define reason as whatever he found to be particularly reasonable, I found that I couldn’t disagree with PEL. At different times, I couldn’t tell if he was preaching to the choir or preying on the unintelligent.
Leaving aside all of the rhetorical garbage, I want to respond to the claim at the heart of Harris’ polemic: that faith, particularly religious faith, inspires the worst of human atrocities. If only we could leave our religious dogmas and allow society to be governed by reason, we would have a violence-free future.
The current crisis is not final, but reminds us of what happens when one wrenches the meaning of things apart from things themselves, which is a consequence both of over-abstraction and of individualism running riot. I think we need a new sense of the sacredness of land, people, and even money as real goods, though not things to be worshiped in themselves. We also need to realize that humans are gift-exchangers seeking mutual recognition before they are self-seekers. Not only are more ethical market procedures viable, but they would also permit a freer market, run more by trust and tacit understanding. It is actually the neoliberal market that needs the titanic, interventionist state.
Interesting take on the current economic crisis from John Milbank. I started reading his work in college and recently picked it back up again. Will also check out ResPublica.