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Christian Scholarship

I was talking to a friend the other day and some how we started talking about Star Wars. My friend told me that he didn’t like the Prequel Trilogy. I couldn’t believe it. Who does he think he is? Has he studied the Prequel Trilogy? Does he have a degree in it? What scholarship has he read about it? He couldn’t even name one Star Wars scholar and yet he has already formed an opinion about the Prequels.

While I do take my Star Wars very seriously and I do love the entire Star Wars Saga (episodes I-VI) that is not what today’s blog is actually about. Because as much as I love the Star Wars Saga (sometimes even dogmatically) I am aware that it is fiction. Even though I can’t really prove that Darth Vader never really lived a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I am still reasonably certain that it is fiction. I don’t need to study the latest Star Wars scholarship to know that. Nor do I need to have a degree in Star Wars-ology.

However, many Christians seem to think that just because they can create universities, seminaries, and even museums devoted to the study of their fictional book that this some how makes their fictional book less fictional. Someone can study the Bible intensely for an entire lifetime and that still wouldn’t make it any less fictional. Sure, an intense study of the Bible may yield some interesting insights and perhaps even a little wisdom here and there as well, just like an intense study of the Star Wars Saga would. I will say that there is probably much more insight and wisdom in the “Holy Saga” than there is in the “Holy Bible,” but that is another debate for another day.

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  • Mr. X

    Jar-Jar was a travesty of a character. But at least Mr. Lucas took the hint, and scaled down J-J’s presence in episodes II and III.

    But, you raise an excellent point. Why DON’T we have any “Star Wars” Universeties?!?! (SWUNH, etc.!)

  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    Maybe Australia will develop universities and degree programs devoted to Star Wars. They’ve already adopted the religion.

    • http://www.myspace.com/misstea43 Miss Tea

      I don’t see how an entire university would have enough students to support it. But many colleges offer courses in science fiction, since it is a very popular genre. Internet search: “Star Wars Jedi Knights course offered by Queen’s University Belfast” reported on www. telegraph.co.uk/education/Star-Wars The intent is to attract younger people to “open learning.” The course is “also about the sociological and political issues addressed in the films.”

      • admin

        And I think a course or two in science fiction is great and very educational. But the course is not trying to persuade people that science fiction is science fact. It is also not a full degree. I can understand a literature course in the Bible or in Star Wars. I definitely would love to teach a philosophy class in Star Wars and can totally understand a philosopher course on the Bible. A computer course in Sci-fi could make sense too. Even some science classes could take a sci-fi angle, but to have a degree in sci-fi or in a particular fictional show would be ridiculous. Can you imagine putting that on your job application? My point here is that Christian Scholarship is no different that Star Wars Scholarship. It is fictional and calling someone a scholar doesn’t make them educated.

      • admin
  • A-Dizzle

    I want a degree in Star Wars-ology.

    I’m putting Jedi on my next census form.

  • http://www.myspace.com/misstea43 Miss Tea

    I’m in a rush again and don’t have much time. But let’s look at it this way. -You can divide religions any way you want to, but here let’s divide them as (A) those who interpret the bible literally AND believe it is historically accurate, and (B) those who not only do not interpret all of it (the stories) literally, not always – nor intended to be – historically accurate; but rather, the Christian mythology.So all of this, in the universities such as Harvard (which I’m most familiar with since my best friend got her degrees from HDS), is taken for granted right from the start. Someone who goes into Harvard expecting to debate whether the piece of wood found on a mountain top was REALLY part of Noah’s ark or not, will be in trouble. I doubt they’d even be accepted as a student. -And they’d know to apply to a Southern Baptist college, anyway.That’s not what they do. The gospels themselves – any debate is going to be over whether they were written 35 years after Jesus’s death or 70, or 90. When versions of the bible are unearthed, scholarship is about dating them and figuring out who used them, etc., comparing the texts to our bible – what’s different? Was it changed, by whom, when, and why? Their graduates are not going to be working at fundamentalist churches. Their parisioners will likely all accept evolution. Many of them will be struggling with reconciling evolution with Christianity, with the bible. So in the curriculum at HDS here is one example of a course, “Emergence/Creativity and God” which is taught by a scientist and a theologian. The scientist, Stuart Kauffman, founded the Institute for Biocomplexity and Information; the professor of divinity, Gordon Kaufman, teaches also at the Univ. of Calgary. Summarizing the syllabus: Focus is on recent developments in scientific thinking (esp. biology) and recent theological proposals about God. Explore current thinking in biology about the reality and significance of ongoing emergence of new forms of life on Earth and the implications of this partially lawless creativity on the universe. Does lawlessness challenge 350 years of Western science? What are the theological implications?Here’s the website for the HDS curriculum. Yale and the other established universities would be along the same lines. http://www.hds.harvard.edu/registrar/applications/Courses/Spring_Course_Schedule_2009r.pdfTo the point in many myspace discussions: “Religion, Conflict, and Social Transformation” – Relationsip between religion and social dynamics of conflict, significance for violence prevention and social transformation. Examine issues of identity-based violence, interreligious dialogue, interethnic coexistence, religious resources for healing and peacebuilding in our divided and post-conflict societies.”The Pentateuch” this probly concerns you a lot – the first 5 books of the bible. They talk about the literary design, “theological message(s) and interpretive reception.” Different interpretations and how to deal with that.THen there are comparative religion courses – a lot on Islam. Historical development courses. History at the time the bible was written is an undergraduate course. ” ‘Death of God’ Modern and Post-Modern Responses”. “Satanic Verses Problem in History,” “Religion and Moral Action,” “Ethics and Public Policy,” “Homosexuality and American Churches.” Here’s where they’d talk about literalism: “Puritanism and Colonial New England.”If you look at the curriculum for a fundamentalist college, like Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, you’ll see courses on Old and New Testament “study”, Evangelism, “Church Growth,” “World Missions,” “Crosscultural Evangelism,” counseling courses, etc. What you see and read will be as different as night and day.Now, like Harvard, they’re not going to debate either whether all the stories in the bible really happened, whether they’re historically accurate. They’ll take it for granted that they did, and if you don’t believe that what are you doing there?The religious canon – in all churches – is like an inverted triangle, with the Bible being the point at the bottom. I dare say in the fundamental religions, it is a very flat, broad ‘point.’ All through the ages, more is added to the canon.

    • admin

      My friend Tom went to Yale Theological Seminary so I do understand the differences between the Fundy Universities like Liberty and the Academic Seminaries like Yale. But the bottom line in that none of these things make the Bible any less fictional. While both groups have different views and different ways of interpreting the Bible, they both still have the goal of converting people to Christianity. They just go about it differently. It kind of reminds me of the blog I wrote about the Good Cop/Bad Cop Christians. A degree in The Lorax is still a degree in fiction.

      • existential blues

        There are a lot of atheists who have graduated from the HDS, including my friend’s former UU minister, who successfully fought off cancer without God’s help.

    • existential blues

      Miss Tea, that was some good info. Thank you.

  • http://www.myspace.com/misstea43 Miss Tea

    Sry it’s all one paragraph. I tried using html codes but they didn’t work.

    • existential blues

      This is not MySpace’s terrible blog system; bbcodes (basically, HTML tags with [b]square[/b] brackets rather than [i]angle[/i] brackets work, I beleive). Also, you can just hit return for a newline.

      • existential blues

        Hmmm…I guess bbcodes don’t work…oh well.

        Hitting return does, at least.

  • Graham

    If Lucus had any balls, he should have had Aniken kill Jar Jar in Episode 3; everyone would have loved it!!

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    lol you always bring this up….i don’t get it. Star Wars was INTENDED to be fiction…the author KNEW it was fiction and wrote it to make money! You can’t even compare the two!!! It’s so vastly different…Venus and mars.

    The Bible is just a combination of the History of the Israelite’s and various books by old Testament Prophets as well as eye witness accounts of Jesus Life. (Gospels) Letters written to new churches (Paul) as well as accounts of revelations.

    Now, we can debate whether or not Jonah was swallowed by a whale. It’s a stupid debate though. Who cares? Either way it takes no meaning from the story. You still lean the same thing. COULD it have happend? Sure. 1 of my good friends who recently finished his dissertation thinks that the original Hebrew actually reveals that it was simply a story. I don’t know…I don’t care! It doesn’t matter if that part is fiction!

    What else in the Bible do you consider fiction? Everything about the accounts of Christ? You call it a fictitious book all the time but much of it is a historical account.

    • admin

      You claim Star Wars is fiction, but you can’t prove it! The fact is that no one shred of evidence exists to support the claim that any of the Bible is actual history especially not the magical stuff. The Mainstream historians are even not questioning the Exodus and that was supposedly the part that was meant to be taken as historical. Some Biblical scholars are even claiming that the Bible was never meant to be taken as literal history, but was simply modeled after the Greek myths in style.

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        Um….archeology supports much or the old Testament….dates and cities describe and such.

        I dont’ care if I can’t “prove” it’s fiction! It was NEVER meant to be anything BUT fiction. Apples and oranges staks.