Thursday, January 29, 2004

the coolness of my blogroll

I like my blogroll because I think I pick good people to inhabit it. These people often save me the work of coming up with my own new ideas, which allows me to actualize my enormous potential for laziness.

Case in point: Ryan Overbey's blog has been a great source for one of my favorite topics, religious pluralism. Here's another post of his on the subject.

And here's what I ended up writing in the comments section to that post:

Nate's talking about something similar to what I'm driving at: less focus on philosophy, more focus on experience and orthopraxis-- "groundless" pluralism, mutual inclusivism, what have you. This idea's actually been around for a while; one early form of it can be found in the mid-1980s writings of Paul Knitter, who stresses a "confessional" approach to questions of religious diversity.

Common ground doesn't necessarily have to be found in the philo/theo arena, though we can't discount the possibility that commonalities may be discovered or established (e.g. the possible parallels some Christians and Buddhists see between Christian kenosis/self-emptying and Buddhist sunyata).

One of the things that your blog is helping me think through is the question of the criteria for failure of philosophical models of pluralism. "These models fail because..." Different critics of pluralist models cite different reasons for why the models fail. Sometimes those critiques have merit and sometimes they don't. My own feeling is that, if pluralists envision a goal similar to what you describe with your Trojan Horse image, i.e., the spreading of an irenic meme, then how well or poorly a model performs can be judged in terms of whether it seems to be doing the Trojan Horse's job.

Viewed in this way, it seems obvious to me that philosophical models fail on an extremely practical level: they're not available to most of the practicing religious public, who generally don't and won't concern themselves with abstruse questions of philosophy. The praxis-oriented approach recommends itself here.

Still fleshing this out, but there you go. Hats off to Nate for a very interesting post.


Ryan also passes along the good news that literary theory is dead. Uh... long live literary theory?

And over at Tacitus, the question is: should we be celebrating the list of French officials supposedly in collusion with the Baathist regime? Caution may be called for.

Annika's moved.

Joe Katzman, whom I normally consider one of the sanest voices at Winds of Change, is very, very, very pissed off about this whole "understanding terrorist motives" thing. I'm not sure why this has become such a big problem: so long as one acknowledges the difference between understanding and condoning (a difference glossed over in the French saying "Qui comprend tout pardonne tout"-- he who understands all forgives all), what's the big deal?

Cobb thinks it comes down to a Kerry-Edwards ticket. And he wonders where Spalding Gray is. Apparently the guy's still missing. Yikes.

The Marmot reveals to us why the Cleveland Indians "suck."

Kevin at IA offers us his take on the noble Korean anti-spam war and a decidedly dissheveled James Brown.

The Yangban posts on, among other things, the Christian connection in NK/China.

Kirk posts on Tokdo.

Meanwhile, Kensho Godchaser talks about his love of languages.

Glenn offers even more perspective on the new role that porn plays in his online life. I hate to disappoint the morality police, but I wish Glenn luck with this project and hope he ends up raking in the dough. Gotta give him credit for something I'd never in a million years have the brass balls to do. And even if I did end up running a porn site, I sure as hell wouldn't announce it on this blog!

The Maximum Leader's blog is once again host to some lively guest blogging. I have a question for Smallholder, who runs his own farm: What the hell are people thinking when they feed cow brains and cow blood to their cows? What was the original reason people started forcing cows to become cannibals?

The Air Marshal provides some Oscar thoughts, perhaps the most important of which is the very first sentence he writes.

The ML himself posts on family matters, naval power, and whether Rev. Stanger was being a "scoundrel" by appealing to the suffering of children. I posted Stanger's quote because I, too, found it rather provocative. In truth, Jesus probably didn't suffer as much as other people who've been cruelly tortured and killed, but why get into a useless pissing contest about quantifying individual suffering (I address that question to Stanger)?

And that, folks, is why I like my blogroll. Keep those ideas a-comin'.


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