Showing posts from October, 2023

Recommended Reading: Fahrenheit 451

  Topic: Fahrenheit 451 & the Rise of Anti-Intellectualism This week’s sermon is about the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953, and what it is really about according to its author. This book is often misinterpreted as a warning against the evils of censorship, but Bradbury states that it is about the rise of anti-intellectualism in American society. He believed that the television would be the beginning of the end of our collective IQ’s, and if you look into our history, he had a point. People believe what they see on television, even when it is complete bullshit.   We are seeing an attitude of “my ignorance is as good as your knowledge” around scientific concepts that should not even be a matter of debate. Scientists and researchers who have spent their lives learning about something see their work dismissed in favor of the incoherent ramblings of some random actor that is only good at dressing up and playing pretend but has enough money and charisma to con

War is Not Hell

  Topic: The Difference Between War and Hell Today we are going to talk about the phrase “War is hell” and offer a counterargument. For that counterargument, I would like to quote an exchange between Hawkeye and Father Mulcahy in the television series M*A*S*H: “Hawkeye: War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse. Father Mulcahy: How do you figure that, Hawkeye? Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell? Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe. Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them — little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.” America is a violent country. We have been at war for 222 out of 239 years. That is 93% of the country’s history, and it is partly because we have such a hard time seeing other people as humans, only potential enemies. War has shaped our culture, and our culture, in turn, celebrat

Effort and Effective Communication

Today’s topic is the Virtue of Effort and how it applies to communication. We are talking about the distinction between saying what you mean and meaning what you say. We are not saying that one is superior to the other; we are just going to examine those concepts and unpack them a little. “Saying what you mean” and “meaning what you say” are not the same thing. The difference lies in the directness of the language used to convey the message. Consider how some people will talk around a subject without naming and addressing the subject itself. They may mean everything they are saying, but they are not really saying what they mean. What they mean is being hidden in subtlety and euphemism. For example, somebody can say something about the fact that alcohol can lead to liver damage, when what they really mean is: “Al, you are an alcoholic and I am worried about you.” They may mean what they are saying about the dangers of over-consumption, but what they really mean, underneath that, is un