Thursday, September 8, 2011

* Jonathan Deadwords College at Yale


(link to YDN article)
 A Bogus Artifact of Theological Humbug

theantiyale 1 day, 10 hours ago

". . . and a firebrand Evangelical preacher (Jonathan Edwards). . . "
You are being kind. Edwards was a paranoid sadist (read his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God") who inflicted centuries of pain and fear and shame on those too uneducated (or too superstitious) to know they were being manipulated by a divine.
To its shame, Yale has not only enshrined him in Jonathan Edwards residential college but in Jonathan Edwards Center.
Paul D. Keane
M. Div. '80

theantiyale 1 day, 4 hours ago

You don't have to swallow anything. As the great mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell  said in "Why I am Not a Christian" (paraphrase): Any religion which would introduce the notion of eternal damnation into reality is in itself inherently evil.
Jonathan Edwards fanned the fires of humanity's fear of Hell ----an imaginary construct created by the warped minds of early christian (with a small c) theology and transformed into a veritable visual feast similar to Disneyland by Dante Aligheri in his "Divine Comedy."
It is likely that this elaborate "Skinner Box" (Hell) was created by the primitive subsconscious as  theologians' way of maintaining efficient social behavior.
The belief in this bogus artifact of theological humbug has caused untold damage and suffering in human history, not the least of which was The Crusades.
To hell with Hell.
Paul D. Keane
M.Div. '80

theantiyale 1 day, 3 hours ago

I proudly plead guilty to a "narrow minded stupidity so profound as to amount to a strange beauty."
Here is Wikipedia's (admittedly pedestrian) definition of the movement the previous poster proclaims Edwards had a "critical role in shaping"
The First Great Awakening (or The Great Awakening) was a Christian revitalization movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, and especially the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal guilt and of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual guilt and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.
Apparently the previous poster thinks it is some kind of theological, intellectual and/or aesthetic achievement to have filled the hearts of millions of simple peasants with dread and self-loathing, and to have  bullied them into believing that they can be relieved of that dread and guilt and an eternal reward in hellfire only by adopting the the idiosyncratic deity of a bastardized offshoot of Judaism: Joshua ben Joseph aka Jesus Christ.
This is Christianity at it best: Bullying, elitist, paranoid, self-hatred.
Paul D. Keane
M. Div. ‘80
M.A., M.Ed.

terryhughes 1 day, 18 hours ago

Well, Mr. theantiyale, you have your opinions, vigorously stated pleonasms. Unlike you, Jonathan Edwards offered well expressed reasons for all to read, with which they could disagree or agree, both of which they are still doing centuries later. That's one mark of Edwards' continuing greatness. William James thought so, too. MOST people who know about such things say Edwards was a great writer and thinker and religious reformer and generally interesting guy. That is, they don't agree with your strident absolutisms denigrating one far your better.
It's good that you "proudly plead guilty to a 'narrow minded stupidity so profound as to amount to a strange beauty.'" Appropriate, that. Insight.

theantiyale 0 minutes ago

I have not had time to respond to your comments directly. You seem a civilized fellow Mr. Hughes, so I will take the time.
Also, you write with a poison pen, which I admire.
Regardless of the intellectual subtlety of his thought, the intricacy of his theological crocheting, I am evaluating Edwards on his contribution to humankind.
It has been a decidedly cruel contribution. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the devil, eternal damnation, and hell exist. If you wish to kowtow to a sacred text, the Old Testament had an afterlife in an underworld called Sheol (the grave, pit, or abyss) but it was a decidedly neutral place; folks simply stumbled around like drunks in a dark barroom. (I had the luxury of taking the late Marvin Pope's seminar on Sheol at Yale.)
Hell, eternal punishment and suffering in an inferno, is a delight imagined by christian theologians. Lovely idea.
You write with verve and intellectual acuity. I cannot imagine why someone like that would wish to surrender his or her destiny and fate to the lugubrious imaginings of Reward/Punishment theologians. That is a device used to keep humanity from murdering, raping and pillaging itself.
Try the photo-tropism theology of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or stay in your dark hole if you wish.
Plato let us know that there is sunlight out there.
Paul D. Keane
M. Div. '80
M.A., M.Ed.

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