Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dreaming of Something Brighter Than Fluorine and Neon

Virginia Stern Owens:
So what do I make of these responses? First of all, I now understand why, in literature classes, one has to explain the simplest biblical allusions, even references to Jonah and the whale or Noah and the ark. Beyond that, however, I find it strangely heartening that, except for the young man who found the Sermon on the Mount a guide to good manners, the Bible remains offensive to honest, ignorant ears, just as it was in the first century. For me, that somehow validates its significance. Whereas the scriptures almost lost their characteristically astringent flavor during the past century, the current widespread biblical illiteracy should catapult us into a situation more nearly approximating that of their original, first-century audience. The Bible will no longer be choked by cloying cultural associations.

Certainly this prospect presents a number of frightening possibilities also. The underpinnings of society as we know it, already sagging dangerously, may collapse completely. As Western civilization expends what little biblical capital it has left, we may find ourselves living impoverished, not in just the post-modern age but in the New Barbarism, a sort of fluorescent Dark Age, like the inside of a mall.

On the other hand, those who dream of something brighter than fluorine and neon—or pastel posters—to illuminate their lives, may, by these living words, be lured outdoors into the true light.
Read the rest.

(HT:  Andy Naselli)

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