Thursday, 26 March 2009

Our stupidity may kill us, warns Archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned us that we may ruin our 'material world' through our own stupidity. He says:
In the doomsday scenarios we are so often invited to contemplate, the ultimate tragedy is that a material world capable of being a manifestation in human hands of divine love is left to itself, as humanity is gradually choked, drowned or starved by its own stupidity.

This raises a couple of issues:

Firstly, if we are made in god's image why are we so stupid? If this scenario is played out it seems that he hasn't equipped us with the necessary tools to ensure our survival. It's a bit like the argument for belief in god; he has given insufficient reason (when that reason is applied *properly*) for us to believe in him, and yet we are to be punished for eternity for this demonstrable application of the reason *he* supposedly gave us. Doesn't seem fair to me.

Secondly, surely this scenario *fits* the very thing that his belief predicts; the end of time, the rapture. He is presumably welcoming it, so that all humanity can ascend to, er, heaven, or whatever? I think we should be told.

He goes on...

The disappearance of humanity from a globe no longer able to support it would be a terrible negation of God's purpose for a world in which created intelligence draws out the most transformative and rich possibilities in its material home.

Er, but, again, I thought that's what you believe is going to happen? See the Last Judgment.

As is true in various ways throughout the whole created order, humanity and its material context are made so that they may find fulfilment in their relationship. Without each other they are not themselves. And the deliberate human refusal of this shared vocation with and within the material order of things is thus an act of rebellion against the creator.

I really don't see how this ties in with the concept of heaven. He clearly says that humanity and the material context are not themselves without each other. So we aren't 'ourselves' in heaven, presumably?

Technology, Yannaras argues, is toxic when it forgets this artistic and transformational dimension – that is (in the terms I've been using here) when it loses its proper human intelligence. But it is a particular image used by Yannaras that perhaps expresses most simply what a Christian account of responsibility in our environment comes down to. In his book of meditations, Variations on the Song of Songs, he speaks of how love compels you to see things differently – to love 'the landscapes we have looked at together.'

I've seen a sort of new-worldy, hippyish tendency creeping into some apologist arguments recently, and this seems to be along the same lines. It's tapping into the vague distrust many members of the public have for science, because of a number of well publicised failures in science. They would like to think that intuition and feelings are automatically as valid as reason and evidence, so they appeal to an 'artistic', 'transcendent' truth.

This is wrong *because* of this wrong-headed notion that the truth is available to us. We may gain valuable insights about the world around us in any number of ways (reason, evidence, and, yes, artistic) , but we will not find the truth, just a working model. Once *everyone* finally understands that we will surely be closer to wiping out such sloppy thinking.

Another baffling speech from the Anglican main man.


  • Steve Zara says:
    26 March 2009 at 10:34

    Good post. Isn't Anglicanism supposed to be vague and baffling?

  • Mark Jones says:
    26 March 2009 at 14:46

    Cheers Steve; well, it's always baffled me, but the tea and cake brigade seem to find it a pleasant diversion of an afternoon.

  • Darwin's Teapot says:
    31 March 2009 at 06:12


    Awesome "Mission Statement" under the "About Me" section. Great stuff. Very nice site as well. Cheers!

  • Mark Jones says:
    31 March 2009 at 07:57

    Very kind of you to say so, DT, especially as your site is mind-bogglingly good!

  • Darwin's Teapot says:
    31 March 2009 at 14:28

    I think that the good pope's comments could be summed up with this picture. Thanks for the compliment Mr. Jones. I really do enjoy your editorials and perspectives....Ok, enough of this reciprocative back-patting, back to blogging! ;-)

  • Mark Jones says:
    28 July 2010 at 01:50


    This is a test

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