Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Nuanced Reading

A few weeks ago at my aunty Linda's birthday she told me, "Rohan I love to read your blog! I'm very interested in your postmodern position." In light of this high praise, there are a few things that are now obvious to me:

  • I am from a family of academics
  • Aunty Linda reads my blog, something of which I had previously been blissfuly unaware (Hi Linda!)
  • I am now somewhat justified in posting my philosophical hot air
So! I wrote a thing that might be of interest to you, and maybe food for discussion and thought. On Tumblr I follow a lot of atheists. I didn't mean for it to work that way, it just kind of happened. As such, I see a lot of stuff like this:

Usually I don't respond to stuff like that. Not because I am "trying to be the better person" or anything, but usually I just don't have anything interesting to say. In response to that image, however, I waded in:
This is a deliberate paradox in Genesis. The writer of this part of that book is trying to distinguish capital-G God, the El Shaddai — God Almighty — from the other creator-gods prominent at the time such as El and Ra, who were associated with the sun. This writer is saying that God is the master of even these god-kings, and that all light and life spring first from God and nobody else. Nuanced reading, man. It rules.
After I posted that I received a question in my ask box: "I'm confused. Are you christian?" to which I responded:
Yep. Although I should say, in the previous post to this one I was dealing with the idea of God according to Judaism, which is very similar to that of God in the Christian sense, but not exactly the same. Like, I know that the creator of that image is trying to piss off Creationists, but I’m trying to say that a nuanced reading of the Biblical texts is necessary for both the religious and non-religious (and the religious that do not happen to follow an Abrahamic faith). Like, nuanced reading is why I don’t actually hold to the six-day creation idea. While Genesis contains a creation story (actually, it contains two) the authors of those stories are not just trying to tell the reader about how things came to be, they are trying to paint a much broader picture of who God is and his relationship to people. These authors are doing so long after the world came to be, so they’re really writing about their present experience, and not necessarily about the past.
I should point out that these ideas are not entirely my own. I am re-reading Rob Bell's (in)famous book Velvet Elvis on my lunch breaks at work. My co-workers ask, "What are you reading, Rohan?" and I say, "Oh, it is basically an argument for the application of postmodern philosophies in modern Christian theology." Then they back away slowly and I get to read in peace! I'm so good with people.

Anyway, if you haven't read Velvet Elvis yet you should because some of the ideas in there are just beautiful, and it's really easy to read. And it's only AU$16.24 from! Don't anyone tell my boss I'm sending people there on my blog, or I'll be in trouble.

Oh who am I kidding? I'm handing in my resignation on Friday! Blabber away!


  1. Ooh, interesting! I'd never heard that interpretation/explanation of that particular paradox before. I like it. Definitely makes sense in my head.

    Handing in your resignation? Yay! Or... bittersweet or something... What will you be doing with yourself until you leave for merry England?

  2. I applaud your efforts...and your success...your invitation to think, to understand and believe, to make sense of, to live within the tension between reason and mystery. Well done.

    Peace and all good things for you, Dear One.


  3. Oh gosh, I have the same problem. But I find that on both sides it's hard to find anyone that agrees with me. Other Christians get mad at me, and so do Atheists. You just can't win with this sort of thing.