Posted by Pastoral Musings on 30th January 2012
“Through The Looking Glass” has an interesting exchange between Humpty Dumpty and Alice. Humpty Dumpty tells Alice,
There’s glory for you!’ ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘ ‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected. ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.’
Carroll, Lewis (2009-10-04). Through the Looking-Glass (Kindle Locations 874-876). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
‘I read it in a book,’ said Alice. ‘But I had some poetry repeated to me, much easier than that, by—Tweedledee, I think it was.’ ‘As to poetry, you know,’ said Humpty Dumpty, stretching out one of his great hands, ‘I can repeat poetry as well as other folk, if it comes to that—’ ‘Oh, it needn’t come to that!’ Alice hastily said, hoping to keep him from beginning. ‘The piece I’m going to repeat,’ he went on without noticing her remark, ‘was written entirely for your amusement.’ Alice felt that in that case she really OUGHT to listen to it, so she sat down, and said ‘Thank you’ rather sadly.
Carroll, Lewis (2009-10-04). Through the Looking-Glass (Kindle Location 924). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
Today we see something similar in liberal theology. There is an attempt to turn words into something they do not mean. For example, the term “literal” is taken to mean that a literal reading of Psalm 36 would have us believing that God has wings; or that a literal reading of Isaiah 53 would have us to believe that God has arms. The same could be said about the sun rising and setting, as though we don’t see such things in our daily newspaper’s weather forecast. In reality, to interpret something literally is to interpret it according to its literary sense, thus leaving much room for figurative speech.
Of course, the problem is that the liberals won’t have that. They would rather be like Humpty Dumpty and tell us that words mean what they say they mean and nothing else. They have determined to be the masters of meaning. After all, the one who defines the terms almost always wins the debate.
When you determine that you have had enough, or rather too much, of their words, they simply continue to pontificate and pour out words and sayings which have next to no ground in reality. They often refuse to listen to reason, are incorrigible, and continually insist that it is the conservative Evangelical, or the Fundamentalist, who is not only mistaken, but wrong and dishonest. And so they continue on and on with their redefining of words and multiplication of fallacies.
What are we to do with the Humpty Dumptys of today?
There was a long pause. ‘Is that all?’ Alice timidly asked. ‘That’s all,’ said Humpty Dumpty. ‘Good-bye.’ This was rather sudden, Alice thought: but, after such a VERY strong hint that she ought to be going, she felt that it would hardly be civil to stay. So she got up, and held out her hand. ‘Good-bye, till we meet again!’ she said as cheerfully as she could. ‘I shouldn’t know you again if we DID meet,’ Humpty Dumpty replied in a discontented tone, giving her one of his fingers to shake; ‘you’re so exactly like other people.’ ‘The face is what one goes by, generally,’ Alice remarked in a thoughtful tone. ‘That’s just what I complain of,’ said Humpty Dumpty. ‘Your face is the same as everybody has—the two eyes, so—’ (marking their places in the air with this thumb) ‘nose in the middle, mouth under. It’s always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance—or the mouth at the top—that would be SOME help.’ ‘It wouldn’t look nice,’ Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty only shut his eyes and said ‘Wait till you’ve tried.’ Alice waited a minute to see if he would speak again, but as he never opened his eyes or took any further notice of her, she said ‘Good-bye!’ once more, and, getting no answer to this, she quietly walked away: but she couldn’t help saying to herself as she went, ‘Of all the unsatisfactory—’…
Carroll, Lewis (2009-10-04). Through the Looking-Glass (Kindle Locations 943-949). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
There is very little one can do with someone so unreasonable as to argue with truth, meaning, and reality except to walk away and declare along with Alice that the experience was unsatisfactory.
Sadly, any further experience with liberal theology will lead to the same unsatisfactory experience. One simply does not manufacture meaning and reality. He must yield to meaning and reality.
If he does not do so, he is bound to have a great fall.