God in the Machine

Literally "God in the machine", Deus Ex Machina originally referred to Greek plays, where the "gods" would be lowered onto the stage with ropes in order to provide a quick resolution to the story. Today, Deus Ex Machina refers to any improbably and/or overly convenient character or mechanism that comes out of nowhere and saves the character(s).

Name:

"I don't get it, Big Dan..." -George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Internet... Have It Your Way!

I am, and I admit this with no small reluctance, the pastor of a Baptist church. Having done a year or three of formal Biblical training, I have a medium to fair grasp on some of the content of the Bible (interpreting it correctly is another matter).

Whenever someone in my church makes some kind of wacky claim and tries to prove it using Scripture (as Baptists are wont to do), I repeat the same line. By now, the church usually repeats it with me: "Anybody with a handful of Bible knowledge can make it say whatever they want."

Meaning, of course, that if you take verses out of context and out of the spirit of the text, you can find support for virtually any craziness you want to promote.

Welcome to the Internet, home of the suddenly hyper-popular political blogging system. I finally get it.

This very day I have seen "scientific" websites predicting a Kerry win over Bush by 10 points and another that gave Bush a 9 point win. I have seen vitriolic, raging, name-calling hatred on sites from both sides of the political spectrum.

I have even seen thoughtful, caring, reasoned insights on both sides.

THIS is the draw of the Internet. You can pick and choose, like a political buffet. You can jump into the pool, pick out what suits your taste/argument/desire/greed, and leave again.

The true Christian uses the Bible for support AND self-criticism. When the Bible disagrees with my particular selfish view of faith, I hope that I am strong enough to recognize its spirit and change me.

Maybe the true political student on the web visits with an open mind those places that make him/her intentionally uncomfortable. After all, aren't growing pains the only way to really know that we're doing just that: growing?

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