Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, February 13, 2010

MATTHEW CHAPTER 23

One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is Matthew, Chapter 23 [yes, I read the Bible, rather often, and have favorite passages. It is not necessary to be an uncultured boor simply because one is an atheist.] It is too long to type into this blog [there are 39 verses], but verse 27 will give you the sense of it, if you don't have your Bible handy:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." [The Revised Standard gives us "white-washed tombs," which is a correct translation, but has no poetry. "Whited sepulchres" is one of the great phrases in the English language.]

As you might guess, it is Jesus speaking, and he is really ticked off at the scribes and Pharisees. I like the passage because it gives voice to my feelings about Fundamentalists and Inerrancers who deny evolution, claim to believe that the world was created six thousand years ago [4004 B.C. according to Bishop Usher], and then have no hesitation about availing themselves of medical treatments that depend essentially on the contrary assumptions. I have in mind, for example, people quite willing to have radiation therapy for cancer, even though the therapy presupposes things about the half-lives of radio-active substances that make no sense in a recently created world, or people who deny the fact of evolution while availing themselves of vaccines whose development assumes that one must protect oneself against mutating viruses. And so on.

When I am having a bad day [as I am today], I find myself wishing that all these people would summarily be denied medical treatment until they publicly forswear their loony beliefs. I will give the Christian Scientists this: they have the courage, unto death, of their absurd convictions. [A propos, if you have never encouintered Mark Twain's hilarious short book, Christian Science, I srongly recommend it.]

If the mainstream media had any guts and intelligence [qualities incompatible with their profession, I know], they would hunt down every Born-Again Christian Senator who has received such treatment, or has a child who has, and confront them on it. I wojuld watch the evening news for that show.

4 comments:

NotHobbes said...

I wonder Professor, why would they all seek such heretical treatment when they all know that the "Rapture" is close at hand? ;-)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Or buy life insurance? You KNOW that some of them are life insurance salesmen!

NotHobbes said...

Perhaps we(Your devoted Wolffpack) should run a competition to find the most inappropriate vocation/profession for the rapturists?
Just an idea, could be quite funny

notasheep said...

interesting post. must tell you one of my fav chapters in the Bible is Matthew 24!!