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Extrapolation and Its Refusal

April 7, 2010

Texts like the Qur’an or the Bible always contain principles that we might or might not want to extrapolate from and apply in our own context.

Sell our daughters into slavery? Hell no. Love your neighbor? Hell yes.

How do you know which principles to extrapolate from and which to refuse? How do you know which should still apply and which applied only in some ancient, “original” context?

Simple: the ones you still like still apply; the ones you don’t like don’t apply any longer.

Whether or not a passage in an authoritative text should enjoy continual application or not depends on something outside the text.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. larry c wilson permalink
    April 7, 2010 8:14 pm

    You have a wonderful way of pointing out the obvious.

  2. larry c wilson permalink
    April 8, 2010 12:41 pm

    But, then again, maybe it’s obvious only because I’m 67.

  3. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    April 8, 2010 1:11 pm

    It’s certainly not obvious to my students—nor my family members, for that matter. I had a cousin throw out that old Christian line, “unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials,” and I asked him how you could know which was which. He told me that if I were in the spirit I would know.

  4. April 8, 2010 4:41 pm

    When I read this post this morning upon waking up, something about it reminded me of the people who claim that it is impossible for an atheist to live morally. But now I’ve forgotten and can’t remake the connection…

  5. larry c wilson permalink
    April 12, 2010 9:02 pm

    The Boss would say what we have here is a failure to communicate, but I would suggest it is an example of popular deconstructionism. What I meant when I said it was obvious was that it is obvious that people pick and choose among philosophies, theologies (etc) based on their temperaments. They always have and, perhaps, always will. However, my intention is not as important as your understanding ( I can’t call it a misunderstanding since your reception trumps my broadcast.)

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