It's a topsy-turvy world

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Strangely enough, in Christian philosophy apparently the one on the left is the pessimist, and the one on the right carries the message of hope.

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I don't think this is strange at all! After all, the Latin for left is "sinistra" (sinister) and the Latin for right is "dextra". Similarly the French for left is "gauche" and the French for right is "droit" as in adroit. "Right" in addition to the direction, has always meant legal right as in "Dieu et mon droit", the (Norman) royal motto.

By Derick Ovenall (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

...hands Derick a cup of strong coffee and invites him to read the words on the signs...

You are overthinking, chum, one of my own best-cherished weaknesses. :)

By speedwell (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

Unless Derick is one of those afflicted with the bug which causes images to fail to show up, in which case he was struggling to find meaning in my cryptic words.

'tis easy: life in this world is an endless struggle for survival (as your local Darwinist will tell you), so the coming of the end of the world is indeed a hope. A monstrous hope perhaps; but still a hope nevertheless.

That's as clever an exposé of Christian philosopy as 'So why are there still monkeys?' is of evolutionary theory.

In Christian philosophy the two views are entirely compatible, since this life is not all there is and a Christian can see both as optimistic.

If you're like me, you see the truth of PZ's observation and you're at pains to disassociate yourself from the End Times crowd. That sort of eschatological thinking is really a form of occultism leading many in the churches to devalue the sacredness of the world we inhabit.

E.O. Wilson has a nice piece in the New Republic that attempts to build bridges with evangelicals in order to work to conserve biodiversity and other natural resources. I commend it to everyone. You can find it her:

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20060904&s=wilson090406

Scott

By Scott Hatfield (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

Actually, Mike, it is a clever exposé of Christian philosophy, given as how many Christians are more interested in repenting the deeds done in their lives, or rather, more interested in getting other people to repent the deeds done in their lives, than actually living their lives.
Ken Ham's horrifying eulogy of Steve Irwin is a perfect example, even.

The whole of Christianity and all the ideas it revolves around are, obviously, complicated, but that one "good news" facet of it always seemed confusing to me. "Jesus will save you"... from a problem for which the only evidence of its mere existence is his word alone, which by his own account is created by the direct agency of his father (according to current mainstream Protestant theology, at least.) And we're supposed to be grateful for this?

[Function Call: Insert_Generic_Comment_To_Blog_Post (author: Pharyngula; topic: Christianity)]

And another thing about Christians: Why do they all live in Utah? And have multiple wives? And worship the Pope? And believe in the Rapture? Gosh, I'm impressed with how smart I am.

Mike wrote:

In Christian philosophy the two views are entirely compatible, since this life is not all there is and a Christian can see both as optimistic.

Not that simple. If you are worried about the afterlife, those worries will affect your current life.

The idea is that you should trust that God accepts you, so you can concentrate on this life and love your neighbor like yourself.

Eschatology is actually rather destructive to Christian ethics, because it distorts the focus.