The word of the year

OED2_volumesThe Oxford English Dictionary–that mammoth reference book that chronicles the history of every word in our language–has announced the word of the year for 2016:  post-truth.

Most commenters are relating the term to the lack of truth in today’s politics, particularly with candidates that the commenter opposes.  The implication is that they think being “post-truth” is a bad thing, that they would like objective truth to come back as a category for our time.

But “post-truth” is nothing more than what postmodernism has done to all objective truth, the notion that we can create what we want to be true by our subjective decisions, that we can create what is true for us.  Thus, strictly speaking,  transgenderism–the view that we can select our own gender identity apart from our objective bodies– is post-truth.  Gay marriage, with its assumption that we can re-create sexual morality and social institutions at will, is post-truth.  The notions that all religions are the same, that attempts at persuasion are nothing more than impositions of power, that my truth is just as valid as your truth, are post-truth.  No wonder that politicians act in the same way.  But those who don’t really believe in object truth might as well embrace the term. [Read more…]

Tom Wolfe takes on Darwinism and its failure to explain language

Tom Wolfe is among our best contemporary writers.  The founder of the New Journalism, which uses novelistic techniques for the purpose of non-fiction, and a novelist who employs real-world research like a journalist, Wolfe is also an iconoclast of contemporary culture.  (See, for example, his send-up of wealthy leftists in Radical Chic, and his mockery of the trendy art world in The Painted Word.)

Now Wolfe takes on the biggest icon of modern thought, the one thinker who must not be questioned and the one  sacrosanct idea:  Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Wolfe’s book, The Kingdom of Speech, is a lively history of Darwin’s theory and its continually demonstrated inability to account for human language.  It also gives us a portrait of Charles Darwin and his nemesis Alfred Russel Wallace, who beat him to the theory of natural selection.  Wolfe also takes on Noam Chomsky, the leading linguist of our day and a leftwing activist, and his nemesis, Dan Everett, a former missionary who disproves his theory on the innateness of language.

Though Wolfe is neither, from what I can tell, a creationist nor an Intelligent Design advocate, he shows how science is made–by human beings, with ambition, politics, and social pressures all playing their part.  The book is informative, funny, and stimulating.  And it is ultimately a tribute to the transcendent Word that underlies all things. [Read more…]

Lennonism

Michael Barone says that many in our cultural and political elite follow the tenets of “Lennonism.”  Not “Leninism,” but the philosophy of John Lennon in his song Imagine:

“Imagine there’s no countries. . . .Nothing to kill or die for. … Imagine all the people living life in peace. … And the world will be as one.”

“And no religion too.”  But Barone defines Lennonism as the desire to eliminate distinct nations.  Thus the impulse for global government, a global economy, unlimited immigration, and multiculturalism. [Read more…]

“Liturgy shaming” for “liturgical abuse”

Many Catholics are indulging in “liturgy shaming” as a response to “liturgical abuse.”  That is, they are taking to the internet to mock and criticize priests whose liturgical innovations go beyond the pale (e.g., clown masses, Cheesehead liturgies, priests presiding while riding hoverboards or bicycles).  Such services are being called “liturgical abuse,” on the grounds that they violate the solemnity of the mass and harm Christians in need of true worship.

Some Catholics are saying that liturgy shaming is a good thing, while others are saying that it is a bad thing.  What do you think?  Is any of this going on in Protestant circles?  In Lutheran circles?  Should it?

Read about the phenomenon and the controversy it has stirred up after the jump.
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The deplorables

Hillary Clinton puts a name to that category of Americans that Democrats most despise:  “the deplorables.”

These are the “haters,” those whom liberals deem to be sexist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic.  To take those ideological and psychological terms as liberals use them, those who question feminism, don’t believe in gay marriage, take the cops’ side in the “Black Lives Matter” demonstration, worry about illegal immigration, and believe Islam has a role in Islamic terrorism are all put into “the basket of deplorables.”

Mrs. Clinton said these deplorables are not American and are “irredeemable.”  Those are especially dehumanizing words to apply to someone you disagree with.  They don’t belong in America.  (That’s what xenophobes say!)  They can’t be redeemed.  (That’s what religious bigots say!)  Any Christian deplorables probably think they are redeemed, but Mrs. Clinton says they are not.  In the secular usage, the word means that these people can never change, and there is no hope for them.

“Half” of Donald Trump’s supporters, she said, are “deplorables.”  The other half are people with economic problems who deserve Democrats’ pity.  She is now trying to walk back her classification.

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Saying God is transgender

The contours of a new liberal theology, one in accord with the new ideology of sex and gender, are starting to come together.  (Liberal theologians have never found a new leftist ideology that they don’t like and won’t refashion theology around.)  A rabbi has written an op-ed in the New York Times maintaining that God is transgender.

After the jump, read why he thinks so and read a response from a Bible scholar.

The argument hinges on confusing linguistic gender with natural gender, confusing a Being who transcends gender with someone who purports to change the sex he or she was born as, and scholarly bloopers of an embarrassing scale.  But it exemplifies how liberal theologians often twist the Bible so that it can seem to support their ideology.

[Read more…]