Re: The forgotten verses

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Thu Jun 05 2003 - 09:00:24 EDT

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    >From: "Vernon Jenkins" <>

    The thinking part of me says to let this whole exercise in futility die a
    peaceful and quiet death. The rest of me, however, finds it difficult to
    resist one more comment.

    > I had hoped you would consider it important that we factored in to our
    > deliberations vis-a-vis how things began what the Scriptures have to say
    > about the nature of those who so deliberate.

    If the powers of human perception and deliberation are as corrupt and
    distorted as your usual rhetoric implies, then "surely you must agree" (to
    use one of your favorite rhetorical devices) that this corruption and
    distortion applies to your own perception and deliberations regarding the
    numbers that you declare to be a significant indicator of the character of
    the biblical text.

    > Regarding the numbers: I see them as fulfilling a complementary role in
    > confirming the text to be divinely-inspired -....

    The numbers to which you give so much your attention are declared (by you,
    after the fact) to be significant on the basis of nothing other than your
    own individual judgment (human judgment that you repeatedly disparage as
    untrustworthy). Your whole approach is a-theoretic. You have no basis for
    any independent theory to establish, "If the text is divinely inspired, then
    it will generate numerical qualities of the following sort....." You declare
    certain numbers to be significant only after you sift through the vast
    sandpile of numbers that can be generated from any text. You dispense
    numerous assertions of the form, "...surely you must agree...." without the
    faintest semblance of warrant other than your own preconception of the
    character and intentions of God. How can this be anything but manifest

    > and that, surely, can be no bad thing.

    Surely? Bunk! On the contrary, I see the focus on numbers as a harmful
    distraction from focusing on the life-enhancing presence of the Sacred.

    Indeed, I believe the attention given to numbers here serves only to enhance
    the bibliolatry that infects millions of contemporary Christians --
    especially in North America -- for whom the strident defense of humanly
    crafted statements about the biblical text seems far more important than the
    living of a life enriched by the insights of the biblical text into the
    authentic human experience of Gods presence.

    > Indeed, I believe the numbers serve to enhance the ability of the
    > text to stimulate awe and worship.

    For your sake, Vernon, I hope that you find this to be true of your own
    experience. I do not find it so in my experience. I see it as the kind of
    enterprise that opens the door to warranted ridicule of religious beliefs.

    Howard Van Till

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