Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Productive Confusions: Faith with Doctrine, Community with Church

"Hey, how 'bout them Phillies!"
"What? Two good games? Fuhgeddaboudit! I lost my faith years ago!"
--Typical fan comments in Philadelphia
Confusion, which relies on ignorance, naiveté or inattention, is a much used marketing tool, both for commercial and political purposes. Why? Because it works. ("Idealists" who think that everyone appreciates the value of providing a good education, should dwell on this point. See The Classroom Teacher: Who Wants Experts?")

Confusing "faith" with "doctrine" and "community" with "church" has its pay-offs, too. The question to be asked is the ancient, "Cui bono?," "Who benefits?" Do not jump to the conclusion that the answer is: the faithful or a community of faithful.

Confusing faith with doctrine is like confusing a baseball fan with a player, or a hunter with a soldier. The differences here rest on the fact that the behavior of players and soldiers is constrained by discipline, by "rules of engagement," which fans and hunters need pay no attention to.

But even more important, professional ball-players, like soldiers, have commitments to team or to armed service; commitments that amateurs likely do not have. Professionals come with agendas generally not shared with the laity or with civilians.

In the same way, community may be confused with church, even when it is capitalized, e.g. "Church." This is like confusing a home with a house, or love with marriage. They may sometimes coincide, but they are still critically distinguishable.

And who benefits from the confusions? Ask yourself the economic question: "From which persons to which others do transfers of wealth occur?" Who gets the loot? Look past the smoke and mirrors of claims of a "spiritual" transaction. Such may occur, but are they the point?

There are those who believe that such confusion could be cured to some degree if our public schools could include some religious components, a vision of something higher than individual success and happiness, or market competitiveness. Maybe.

But, let us shift our eyes, for a moment, away from celestial glory and salvation, down to the problems we have to deal with everyday in our worlds of commerce and politics. Down to where moth or rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.

For references and to examine these issues further, see Religion, Intelligent Design and the Public Schools: serving God to Mammon?

--- EGR

** Bill Klem. (n.d.). AZQuotes.com. Retrieved August 02, 2016, from AZQuotes.com Web site: