Tag Archives: Truisms

Logical Gal says – Give thought to what you hear and read

10 Jul

Gullible Charlie Brown

There are some sayings, truisms they call them, that have been around a long time.

We swallow them without much consideration, believing them to be truth.

I read one the other day. It’s often used as a critique of a religious person:

  • She’s so heavenly minded that she is no earthly good!

Heavenly minded, no earthly good

What does that mean?  What kind of person IS someone whose mind is focused on heaven ?  And is that a bad thing?  The fleshed-out major premise with the rest of the argument is here:

Either a person thinks a lot about heaven or a person accomplishes good on earth.

Jane is a person who thinks mostly about heaven

Therefore, Jane has little positive impact on circumstances around her 

Thinking critically means that we examine the truth of this major premise.  And based on heavenly-minded people I have encountered or read/heard about, those who meditate a lot on God’s revealed word about heaven are usually people who care deeply about others and seek to do them good.  In fact, one could argue that MOST good is done by people who believe that a far better world awaits them.  Less inclined to cling to ‘their’ stuff here on earth,  they tend to be generous with resources in this life.

**

The other saying I ‘ve been pondering is this:  The Devil is in the details

How often we speak in generalities! Words can be used as a kind of shorthand for a more complex meaning.  As I read my Bible I’m  beginning to realize that a lot of what is said DOES need to be broken down and parsed out with distinctions clarified.  For example, “…..Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27b)

I now understand, through word study and contextual reading of the whole of Bible, what this statement means in its two parts:

  • if you are a Christian (you agree with God regarding your nature and your sin problem and have accepted His gift of a solution – Jesus swapping His righteousness for your guilt), then you have a new nature that includes Jesus being spiritually and forever in you like new DNA
  • and His permanent immaterial/spiritual place in you is your guarantee  – your trust – of future glory in God’s New World

Details - God is in

So…what’s the point of these 2 examples?

Besides the counsel that we should think through all that we hear and read before taking any of it into ourselves, the larger take away is this:

  • We can’t enter into any MEANINGFUL discussion of important issues today via tweets and Facebook exchanges filled with slogans and ricocheting insults.  Worthy discourse takes time – time to understand fully what our opponent is saying and means and then time to unpack what we believe.
  • There’s no point wasting any emotional energy in ‘fly-bys’.  No one gains and many are put off.  Words are resources.  Let’s steward them well.

 

Question:  which contemporary saying or slogan seems most loaded to you?

 

 

 

 

Logical Gal says beware of thinking like Hamlet!

26 May

Hamlet - thinking makes it so

Is this true? 

If you are a moral relativist or a Buddhist it might be.  And in all fairness to William Shakespeare who penned Macbeth, he might not have intended us to draw that conclusion.  See this link:   Setting the scene in context

One can argue, with good reason, that how we think about something or ‘frame’ something DOES make a difference in our experience.  I’ve heard the illustration of 2 boys mucking out a stable full of horse manure.  To the one who ‘thinks’ this is just a punishing task, his labor is odious.  But to the one who ‘thinks’ or reasons from the product to the producer, he is excited about encountering a pony!  Thus, this time in the barn is an adventure sure to result in a happy outcome.

Manue and pony

But let’s be real!  There ARE objective values in life.  There is ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and no effort to think otherwise will change their ontology or ‘beingness’.

Torturing little children or animals for the fun of it is always WRONG!  And that assessment is cross-cultural, cross-temporal. That is not to say that kids and animals are not harmed in our world today.  When that happens, most everyone reacts along a spectrum from horror to resignation.  Whether we draw examples from so-called ‘pagan’ cultures that have in the past or still do sacrifice kids and animals today (Voodooism) OR we point to abortion as a ‘civilized’ example – to say that these practices are for FUN would be labelled WRONG.  They would be rationally justified.

And for those who attempt to deny evil or painful experiences à la Buddhism, I say :

  • try laying your philosophy of calm resignation on the millions who suffer daily from disasters brought on by the ravages of nature, war or man’s inhumanity to man!

Disasters - floods

Our takeaway for the day? Keep questioning ‘pat’ sayings to determine if they are so – even those from the Bard, himself!

Question:  What other truism is worth examining?