Monday, October 17, 2005

Books, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Bible Study

A kind soul gave me a lift to town on Sunday evening, navigating the dark wet roads so I could grab a book.

"How do you manage to buy so many books?", he asked, to which old Schopenhauer would have answered,
It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.
Arthur Schopenhauer was a sharp chap and some of us used to be terribly fond of him and the man he supposedly influenced, Friedrich Nietzsche (who in turn was supposed to have inspired nazism, though he vigorously denied it).

So fond were we of them that every Tuesday night, thin pale bearded graduate students of philosophy, wild-maned English professors, chain-smoking classical musicians and singed-haired researchers from all the neighbouring counties, armed with feeble torchlights, would make the long trek through the bitter English cold on trecherously frosted ground, past apple orchards and pastures of sometimes rampaging cows, to meet in the even more bone-chilling cellar of an ancient pub which used to serve tankards of ale to the pirate-lord Francis Drake when he was in town. Amongst the huge stacks of beer kegs, under a solitary naked light bulb, we'd sit or stand around an old pub table, bundled up with most of the clothes in our wardrobes, stamp about, rub our roughly-gloved hands together, quaff beer and cider and smoke roll-your-owns and pipes to keep warm, watch the almost petrified wisps curl up towards the gnarled wooden floor of the pub and discuss Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

Just before service last week, someone argued that people shouldn't keep telling him to go for bible study,"After all, I don't need to go for bible study to be saved what."

A good grasp, perhaps, of some of the concepts of the Bible: sola fide (faith alone), sola Christi (supposed to be Christ alone but my Latin sucks) and sola gratia (grace alone). It is true that it is not by works (and so certainly not by faithfully attending bible studies/small group sessions!) that we are saved, but by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

So following the last post on How to be in a Small Group, why bother going to small group bible studies in the first place?

Well, the question should actually be,"Why not go for bible study?". The straggly lot of us Schopenhauer and Nietzsche fans would willingly and faithfully trudge miles every week to discuss the writings of long dead men

because it was the natural thing to do when you think something very important and are interested in it and want to find out more about it and can hardly contain your enthusiasm on finding people who love the things you love. It's also somewhat like why people go to Star Trek conventions and aerospace shows.

But with Bible studies, there is something much much more. (And it's not to achieve the meditative purity and universal oneness that 柳宗元 hankered after while reading Buddhist scripture:

Akan datang.


At October 18, 2005 5:50 pm , Blogger paddychicken said...

Gosh, your blog really doesn't work with IE, does it.

Just wanted to say I really love this descriptive style of writing, I was really sad that it ended after just one para.

At October 19, 2005 9:36 am , Anonymous hamster said...


Having said that, this kinda article is really long overdue... Everyone seems to equate bible study with our Christian salvation (a la Mass), when it has less to do with that and more to do with the response to salvation. Looking forward to how you round off this immersive literary post.

At October 19, 2005 10:32 am , Anonymous mysterious cupboard space said...

those using IE can click on the monthly archives on the right, and ta-dah.

At October 19, 2005 11:33 pm , Blogger pearlywhirls said...

akan datang-ing. what in the world are the ?? supp to be? im using firefox but still cant read :(

At October 20, 2005 3:45 pm , Anonymous mee soto ayam said...

It's Chinese. But to me that's the same as ????. pearlywhirls, you probably need a Chinese plug in on your computer.


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