Ever since I resumed thinking about the philosophical distinction between nominalism and realism nearly two years ago, I’ve had in the back of my mind the question “how does this compare or contrast with the accusation I frequently heard in my youth that so-and-so was merely a ‘nominal’ Christian,” which by implication was no damn good at all. Was this use of nominalism contrary to the philosophical meaning, parallel, or unconnected entirely?
My first foray suggested that “nominal” Christianity to the voices of my youth was simply lacking in zeal. My second foray got a bit further. This will be number 12, though it has been nearly a year, it appears, since my last outing.
I think I’ve now grasped the relationship. I know “nominal” meant “they only call themselves Christians,” but I think the proper opposite of a nominal Christian is not one with zeal, but one who thinks there’s a reality behind the words of the Creeds and other traditional Christian affirmations. The result may be zeal, but the zeal comes from a realistic versus a nominal adherence.
A “nominal Christian” effectively thinks there’s no reality behind the words of the Creed, or that Christianity is plural, with each “believer” holding a unique version which cannot be gainsaid by any external reality — which really is quite parallel to the philosophical meaning back in the nominalist/realist debates.
That’s a subtle error, and I say that because I fell into it, to my surprise when I discovered that I’d done so some 45 years ago.
If your belief in Christianity is nominal, teaching it to your children would feel, I think, rather like solemnly teaching them about Santa Claus. That’s why they teach their children, and the children of other parishioners if they’re entrusted with “Sunday School,” arts, crafts, and niceness rather than dogma.
These thoughts aren’t complete, but Monday bedtime approacheth. Perhaps I’ll update them here or return to the topic sooner rather than later.
All Things Considered says the bugs are out of the online Obamacare system. It also says that the system was offline several hours March 31, the deadline day, for “extended maintenance.” It said those things within a minute of each other.
One of these statements doesn’t belong, and I suggest it’s the first that’s a whitewash rather than the second being a mere, Kafkaeque invention.
I just hate it when activist federal judges miss the obvious in an effort to score ideological points.
Calling the theological giant’s stranglehold on the religion industry “blatantly anti-competitive,” a U.S. district judge ruled Monday that God is in violation of anti-monopoly laws and ordered Him to be broken up into several less powerful deities.
Sheesh! Hasn’t this Judge heard of Protestantism?
Oh. It wasn’t yesterday. It’s an old story. And it’s from the Onion.
My bad. Or “April Fools!” as the case may be.
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)