First, I must say I'm impressed with your Think Tank....
Impressive and very much needed.
[thanks for the feedback and encouragement!]
Second, I noticed while reading your "slow-paced" argument
for Faith, that you casually brush aside the issue you
raise in #15, viz. the interpretation of the Bible.
Wouldn't you agree that the question of interpretation is a
serious one, demanding our full attention--particularly at
a time when various critical theory schools (post-
structuralism, deconstruction, etc) are becoming more &
more prominent & influential in the academic disciplines
as well as 'everyday' public life?
The fact is that many non-Christians I know are reluctant to
entertain Christian propositions precisely because of issues
related to hermeneutics...traditional Christianity, past &
present, has assumed an absolutist stance, reading the
Bible with the implicit modernist belief that language is
stable & neutral and that a text has one clear & intended
meaning that can be grasped by all intelligent individuals
who share the text's language.
[the question of hermeneutix is a question of starting points, to my way
of thinking. In my original research interest in theological method, I
quickly fell into the question of hermeneutics...and discovered the
methodological questions related to language, semantics, and the cultural
There were a couple of hermen-issues that came up BEFORE the
deconstructionist and/or postmodernist views of language became known to me...
Mt 13.18:"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:
But the response hits the very heart issue...the starting point of ALL
LANGUAGE IS 'absolutist'--this is the point of my piece on
self-stultifying arguments. In other words, it is nonsensical to use
language to 'prove' that language has no
So, for Derrida to write a book arguing that books cannot have a
determinative meaning, is less than weak--it is nonsensical altogether.
He hasn't said anything in the process; it seems to be one gigantic Zen koan!
We KNOW from psycholinguistics that we have to 'process' language at a
literal level FIRST, to detect collocational clashes, that tip us off to
'higher' and/or metaphorical semantic levels in the text...our ENTIRE
language processing apparatus is BUILT around the very structures that
the deconstructionist argue cannot be there...(omitting for the moment
their points about the politicization of the process and the oppressive
marginalization of others produced thereby).
[This is where you might be of REAL service to me...might you summarize
for me the 'good case they make'? I honestly would REALLY, REALLY
appreciate it...I am NOT confident that the 3-5 hours of reading I have
done in the area of 'postmodernism proper' reflects the true position, so
some help from you would be GREATLY appreciated!]
Thanks for your consideration.]
It would seem to me, then, that if Christians are to
effectively bring the gospel to the world, particularly
the intellectual world, we have to address these issues that
are so prominent in the secular intellectual arena.
[I would LOVE to, but the methodological problem virtually emasculates
the effort--if their arguments cannot be taken as 'fixed' for analysis
and response, how do we proceed? Do we out shame one other? Out metaphor
one another? How does the response go forward?]
Just a thought....(perhaps I've not seen a page in which
you deal with this!! :-])
[no, as I mentioned I have a small example in the Self-Reflexive piece on
it, I think...]