Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Letting the Author Clarify Himself

I think more than a few folks can relate to the situation illustrated here (link).

If people around you both misinterpret what you write, and refuse to accept your clarifications of what you write, what chance is there that such people are going to understand what you wrote?

A similar phenomenon happens in the reading of Scripture.

Folks read it, see what they want to see, and refuse to let the rest of Scripture correct their misunderstanding. This is a personal, subjective problem. It's not a problem with Scripture; it's not an objective problem. That's where the church (meaning the saints around us, whether our spirtual brethren, our spiritual fathers/mothers, or even sometimes our spiritual children) can help. The church helps fallibly, but it can help.

If, however, one decides that one's own reading ability (whether because it is one's own, or that of the sect to which one belongs) is infallible, then one can end up to an observer looking as ridiculous as the reader in the cartoon linked above.

-Turretinfan

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The cartoon could also illustrate that a person can be oblivious to the true meaning of what they write, via their own illiteracy and lack of logic.

Turretinfan said...

Since the person who wrote the report is the hero of the cartoon series, that interpretation of the cartoon is unlikely to be correct (as being the purpose of the cartoonist's illustration).

It is true that such a separate problem exists, namely that people sometimes people fail to say what they mean, or that people sometimes fail to understand the consequences (logical and other) of what they have written.

Those are objective problems, and Scripture - being objectively perfect - does not have those problems.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

Obviously Scripture doesn't have that problem, but all systematic theologies do.

Turretinfan said...

From what I've seen:

a) non-systematic theologies are much more likely to have that problem than systematic theologies; and

b) when systematic theologies DO have that problem, it tends to be relatively infrequent.

Systematic theologies do contain mistakes (more or fewer), but usually systematic theologies do actually say what they mean and mean what they say.

On the other hand, many many readers experience the problem illustrated in the cartoon.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF

you reading my mind?

A blind man can lead blind people into a ditch! Only one seeing can lead them out of the ditch they were all blind too! Ah, unless maybe they just like being the only one seeing, then they will pass those damned blind people by leaving them in that damned predicament! :)

Turretinfan said...

Let's hope that I'm correctly your "damned" in the sense of "on the road to hell," and not some other sense.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF

yes

question:

Presumably I am commenting to one of God's Elect now aren't I herein?

:)

But to support my position just in case:

Pro 10:24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
Pro 10:25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.

question:

Do you believe Satan is blind as he works down here?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

Satan is very dangerous and very clever. God may have, in God's exceeding mercy, blinded Satan to Satan's own doom, and Satan (in the book of Job) seems to have been blind as to certain matters of the heart.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF

I do believe I am getting your point and you mine!

Have you visited the hotly contested kosmos debate?

I have been putting comments in over there and asking for your kindness in replying to my queries with mercy seeing you have nothing else to offer me?

Turretinfan said...

Orthodox:

Got your comment.

Hit the reject button.

I publish thoughtful, reasonable, polite comments. That one didn't qualify under any of those categories. Sometimes I publish other comments as well, but if they fail under all three categories, their chances of getting to the "publish" button are slim.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Michael,

I'm busily preparing my response(s) to various comments on that debate.

I think a number of your comments started to head off in various tangents, so I may not be answering all of them.

If any are of particular interest to you, perhaps you won't mind redirecting my attention to them.

-Turretinfan