Stanley Fish’s Columns Are Usually Interesting

There are a few themes that have developed on this blog.

  1. Usage Determines Meaning.
  2. Technology gives and technology takes away.
  3. Think carefully about your Bible software purchases.
  4. The standard view of ἀγάπη love out there is suspect.
  5. Stanley Fish’s columns are usually interesting.

That last one goes deeper. There’s a reason those columns are interesting. Fish grasps something that I did not until some point (early, I hope!) in grad school. Yet another New York Times offering in the same Opinionator section where Fish appears, a piece by Robert Wright, hits the same theme:

Why do people tend to hear only one side of the story? A common explanation is that the digital age makes it easy to wall yourself off from inconvenient data, to spend your time in ideological “cocoons,” to hang out at blogs where you are part of a choir that gets preached to.

Makes sense to me. But, however big a role the Internet plays, it’s just amplifying something human: a tendency to latch onto evidence consistent with your worldview and ignore or downplay contrary evidence.

This is an immensely helpful principle. As usual, the commenters on Wright’s post—a post which focused on the different strains of teaching in the Koran—need some of that help. “Jessica” from “Tx” writes,

#71 Every religious scripture will have a regrettable part. The idea that only one worldview is right and all others are completely wrong is the real cause of friction among various religious faiths.

145 people recommended that comment, but it’s not as neutral and objective as it first sounds. Jessica from Tx has merely told us that her worldview is better than the Christian one. She has made a power grab: exclusive worldviews, she says, can’t be right. But who says, Jessica from Tx? Jessica is latching onto evidence consistent with her worldview and ignoring and suppressing what can be known about God from the creation. God help us—we all suppress that knowledge apart from grace. I’m not picking on people from Tx.

I’m also not saying that evidence plays no role or that Creation science wastes its time examining the evidence. I’m only saying that Stanley Fish’s columns are usually interesting. Try one.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

1 Comment

  1. Wesley Barley on September 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Oh Great, now you’ve gone and done it – you have messed with Texas which, incidently, is its own worldview. We can only guess what will be the fallout from this slip-up.

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