This post really doesn’t have a point. It’s just something that came to mind last night and I thought I’d write while this here coffee gets drunk.
I have a friend who comments here sometimes by the label “Jimlad” who understands what would need to be understood were one to try to understand the fabric of our universe. This means that when I talk to Jim, I basically sit at his feet. There is much he doesn’t know, as he is fast to tell me but he knows so much more (he has a vastly better grasp of what he doesn’t know than I do of what I don’t know!) that any conversation with him on such a topic is a joy, in part because I am totally the student.
It would be crazy for me to say, “I have five years of physics from secondary school so let me tell you a thing or two about weak gravitational force!”
I am lucky to have a friend who is a mathematician and another who is a historian and a third who is a doctor and so on (I have many friends and am awesomely handsome!). In all of these and many other domains I have an interest and a bit more of a magazine article depth of knowledge but talking to them about these topics always has me in the position of supplicant.
Yet sometimes when I talk to people (especially internet atheists) about theology, the posture they take is the two of us being on the same level. Now I am not put out by this because damnit child, do they not realise how brilliant I am and lauded within my circle!? I am famous among the dozens, dontchyaknow! Rather, I think that this represents a general failure to grasp the extent to which people can be ignorant around subjects that are in the “humanities”.
My wife has found the same thing in philosophy – heck I’ve seen it in tutorials where 1st year students studying classical philosophy and logic tell very advanced post-doc researchers that they don’t accept what is being taught “because that’s my opinion”. Deadly buzz! Fair play! Here’s a gold star for expressing yourself and you get no homework today because you’ve been so good but seriously, that is not philosophy that you are doing.
It is almost as if religion class in primary school, a few weddings, the occasional mass attendance when granny comes to stay and a documentary about this crazy cult group who think every baby is possessed and they need to be washed in cabbage water and dedicated to St. Philomena to be cleaned, constitutes an equivalent grasp of theology to a practicing Christian who reads and teaches the Bible for a living. It’s all opinion, anyway, right?
Probably, I wouldn’t know.
Your Correspondent, Looks forward to every subsequent Now! compliation