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"Out of the Closet Meme"

Over at Faith and Theology I came across this rather fun 'meme.'  I am pretty safe that no one will ever tag me with any 'memes' and to be honest they are usually more fun to read than to respond to, but this one I quite like, so here are a few off the top of my head comments...

I confess that I have never heard of most of the theologians people blog about

I confess that I never understood a word of my philosophy of religion classes but still managed to get a good mark for the assignment

I confess that I have long forgotten which heresy went with which heretic and never really cared anyway, because I think that so-called heresy is a necessary corrective to, well, heresy of the so-called orthodox variety

I confess I'm a happy heretic

I confess that I'd like God to be a universalist even if I can never quite get there; if not can God be anihilationist please

I confess I don't like theological labels

I confess that I often wonder if one day I'll wake up and think its all a load of tosh (but after 30+ years of wondering that, maybe I won't)

I confess that I like debate and sometimes play advocate for the dark side just to make it more fun

I confess that I am stubborn, pedantic, workaholically-inclined and have an odd sense of humour

Oh yes, and I also confess that Jesus is Lord and I am truly glad to count myself among his followers


  • I confess that I have read all of this blog and the other one cited and I still haven't worked out what a 'meme' is.......

    I confess that I'm not sure what an anihilationist is either......

    I confess that I have colluded with your devil's advocate activities in the past (good old silly sofa days)....

    and amen to the last bit!

  • I confess that I found it very funny when I discovered that E Schillebeeckx (who I can never spell) had called his autobiography 'I am Happy Theologian'. Sounds like a cue for a song (Chorus "Now I am happy, happy as can be, etc.!")

    And I also confess that I had to show it to lots of other people in the college library who were trying to work at the time.
    That's probably nothing to do with the meme (but I too have added that to my bluffer's list of words that I don't know what they mean either).

  • Hi Elaine, well I think you got the gist of it!

    A meme. Hmm, well around 10 years ago when I first encountered them they were the ideas equivalent of genes, things that determine what we think/believe etc. They can replicate themeselves, and presumably if they combine with other memes you get hybrids, I'm not entirely sure. This understanding is roughly what Richard Dawkins (whose into this kind of thing) would use. Memetic determinism is like genetic determinism (and even a bit like Calvinism) in that everything is determined by your memes, genes (or God - predestination). Nowadays the meaning seems to have mutated (which is legitimate for a meme) to become the kind of thing this is - a sort of chain letter type thing where people 'tag' each other and share ideas. Bet you wish you'd never confessed now!

    Anihilationism - this is all to do with heaven/hell arguments and has been in the Baptist Times recently. There are various views on what happens to non-Christians when they die... (a) heaven (b) hell - often viewed as eternal conscious torment (c) they cease to exist. Ihtink they can all be defended Biblically, dependending which texts you select...

    Answer (a) is universalism (e.g. parts of Paul's writing). Answer (b), at least in the 'eternal conscious torment' version has more basis in medieval imagery than the Bible (but has hints of 'weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth', a 'fire that never goes out,' a 'worm that never dies' and 'unending darkness'); that doesn't mean there's no hell, just that it isn't likely to be what we think. Answer (c) is a kind of middle view, held by many respected theologians, including evangelicals that says they are anihiliated (cease to exist) - hence anihilationism. I have forgotten the basis for it, but in one of its popular forms it runs something like, if you don't want God, then God will respect that (which is also used for hell as 'eternal separation from God'). Again, by now you wish you'd kept quiet! Of course this could be your PhD then you could explain it to me.

    Now all the real theologians are laughing at my ham-fisted explanations (or affirming my heresies) and those who study memetics have already given up in disgust. But I can't help it, my memes made me do it.

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