Fools for Christ

Aric Clark Fools for Christ quote

Believing in inerrancy doesn’t make you a fool for Christ anymore than believing the world was flat contra Galileo made the Catholic church fools for Christ. Resisting injustice, sacrificing your life for others, showing solidarity with the oppressed, selling your goods and embracing poverty – these are the sorts of actions that make one a fool for Christ.

– Aric Clark

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t think the Catholic Church ever believed the Earth was flat.

    • Ian

      Simultaneous comments! Yeah, what Enopoletus said…

      • Erp

        Agreed though apparently some Catholic clerics back in Augustine of Hippo’s time may have thought so.

        • Ian

          I suspect it was probably widespread among many professionals up until the time when science was seen as a separate thing requiring specific education. The ancient greeks were measuring the circumference of the earth, so the knowledge was out there, but I wouldn’t assume it was in the heads of every person with a modest education.

          I mean, as we saw a few days ago, Ray Comfort (who presumably sat through a western scientific education in which Newtonian mechanics is the central pillar of physics) thought there is no gravity in space. So yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me that a proportion of catholic ministers in Galileo’s time also didn’t know the earth was a sphere.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            I felt that the overall point – that Christians ought to be different by being more compassionate and concerned for justice, not by being dogmatically wrong about science – was worth highlighting, even with the historical gaffe.

  • Ian

    Galileo discovered the earth wasn’t flat? Who knew!

  • David_Evans

    Why is it a good idea to be fools for Christ? He said to his disciples “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless (in other translations, innocent) as doves.” Fools are often neither harmless nor innocent.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Following a crucified messiah is itself a certain kind of foolishness. Clark’s point is that Christians ought to be considered foolish because we are too generous, too open, too caring, not because we are too ignorant and dogmatic and old-fashioned.

      • David_Evans

        Oh, I agree.

  • Sean Garrigan

    “…selling your goods and embracing poverty…”

    Have you known many Bible scholars who were happy to exemplify that particular form of foolishness? ;-)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      A great many educators have chosen that vocation despite the possibility of making more in some other line of work.

      And some of us have gone and taught either with no salary, or with a minimal one, in other parts of the world where our skills were needed but the economic realities there did not permit them to pay us.

      • Sean Garrigan

        I don’t think that the salary of most college professors can honestly be likened to “poverty”, can it?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Certainly not in this country, at any rate (excluding adjuncts). And even missionaries tend to have support which places them much better off than is typical in the country to which they have been sent.

          • beau_quilter

            Unfortunately, the adjuncts you are excluding now comprise a huge percentage of college professors in this country.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              My point in adding the “excluding adjuncts” was precisely to point out that, if by “professor” one means all those who teach at a university, then some live on a pittance, although even so most adjuncts in the United States may not be poor when considered in relation to global wealth and income distributions. And so my point was to indicate that there is more to the matter than simply the salaries of full-time educators, and I’m glad that didn’t go unnoticed.

              • beau_quilter

                Very good!

  • Gregory Peterson

    Contra contra Galileo wasn’t about a flat earth, I think, but Terra Centric belief contra Heliocentric.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Aric Clark said the above in an off-the-cuff remark on Facebook, and so it was a bit unfair that I took it and ran with it in this way.

      He corrected the point when that was drawn to his attention. I’ve contemplated updating the meme to reflect his subsequent comments.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Oh, I don’t consider details of science unimportant, whether they are botched by someone making an otherwise excellent point, like Aric Clark, or a completely nonsensical one, like Ray Comfort! ;-)

  • arcseconds

    It’s a bit more than a ‘detail’, in my opinion.

    There’s a pernicious myth that the world being a spheroid was discovered during the Renaissance, and it’s often supposed to have something to do with Columbus.

    It’s part of a wider negative and ignorant attitude towards the state of knowledge in pre-modern times, which often goes hand-in-hand with the idea that the history of knowledge is some kind of winner-takes-all war between Religion and Science.


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