The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 67.2: Good News for Anxious Christians

General Introduction
– Still in the decimels
– Grubbs and the yearbook

Who Is Philip Cary?
– And who designed his book cover?
– Eastern University
– Anxiety and the Protestant tradition
– Academics and popular writings

Why read Cary?
– The prevalence of the New Evangelicalism
– Taking the New Evangelicalism seriously
– Counseling students

What Is the New Evangelicalism?
– Consumerism + Protestantism
– Novelty, desire, lack of responsibility
– I’m only human
– Keeping up with the Joneses
– Anxiety enters in

Hearing God’s Voice in Your Heart
– Getting psychological
– Why you can’t necessarily trust your interior voice
– Biblical illiteracy
– Making up your own God
– When you can trust your instincts

Don’t Miss Heaven by Fourteen Inches
– Hebrew vs. Greek
– Thinking about feelings
– Reflecting unanxiously about your motivations
– Proper sequences
– Emotions as perception
– Who’s to blame?
– Revival preachers and advertising

Tedious Imperatives
– Bible-shaped imagination
– Applying literature
– Application, and then application

But What Can Professors Do?
– Why teaching literature helps
– The peasant women
– Using your authority
– Don’t just assign it

What We Would Add
– Well, my Bible says that . . .
– Theological trump card
– Deliberation
– Shaping the affections

3 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 67.2: Good News for Anxious Christians

  1. I have two bits and one serious question.

    The first bit is that NO ONE gets that excited at a U2 concert. NO ONE.

    It’s not a great joke but they can’t all be winners. It’s compounded by the fact that I’m only 80% sure that no one is two words. I’m not going to google it.

    The second joke is that people with massive torsos miss heaven by 15-18 inches.

    Anywhoo, here’s my serious questions. Because of the nature of religion and the fact that it deals with things that occur outside of nature or at the very kindest level semantically things that occur outside of casual human thought (I suppose that’s a debatable statement) isn’t the personalization of divine mandate an inevitable when the timeline is extended?

    If nothing else, in Darwinian terms, isn’t the ability to claim God’s voice as a personal a competitive advantage that will inevitably snuff out a calmer, more reasonable voice of Christianity?

    I forget who made the statement but, eventually, all communist economic systems have devolved into a state-run dictatorship so, to say that these are exceptions would be wonky. In the same tone, is it wonky to imply that the personalization of religion and divine illiteracy is some sort of corruption rather than a natural outgrowth of religious thought?

    -RDG

  2. I just realized that an amazing joke would be to close out that last post with “That’s what MY bible says.”

  3. Ryan,

    Good question. My answer would begin with a denial that a natural-selection framework can answer every human question. I know it’s fashionable lately to tell evolutionary just-so stories that make all social, psychological, and political phenomena inevitable and thus immune to critique, but I tend still (though it’s terribly last-century) to attribute will and agency to human phenomena. That means that the “ought” questions are still very much alive in my own mind, sometimes in the face of quite imposing “is” statements.

    For that reason, arguments like Cary’s, and for that matter historical arguments like Hegel’s, make a good deal of sense to me: in retrospect, we can account for what has happened, but such explanations do not render the phenomena that we recall in memory either necessary (in a philosophical sense) or good (in a moral sense). It just means they’re intelligible by some means. One possible avenue for making sense of things, if the realities of will and agency persist, involves saying that this or that phenomenon is better, more righteous, more human, more beautiful, or otherwise superior in a meaningful sense without simply defaulting to “if it is, it is good.”

    Also, explanations of Christianity should, I think, at a minimum acknowledge that, at the core of our own accounts of reality, there’s a moment in history when those with a severe competitive advantage executed the Son of God. There’s nothing that says that anyone has to agree with that, but do understand that the vindication of righteous suffering, not the selection of strong over weak, is ultimately the core of Christian self-understanding.

    I liked the U2 joke. The huge torso joke might be one of those cases where the frame of reference is Michial Farmer and nobody else. 🙂

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