Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why I Listen to Christian Radio

The title of this post is a bit too narrow to encompass everything I do to stay on top of the culture where I live. As a passionately indifferent atheist, I listen to Christian radio (sermons, music, etc), read blogs of amiable and thoughtful Christians, and pretty much read and listen to anything where the material is educational, rather than political or sensational in nature.

Recently, I stopped following the Religious Right Wing as closely as I had been. Bryan Fischer, Kevin Swanson, et al. Essentially, my reading and listening used to be a listing of those people that Right Wing Watch copiously kept track of. I stopped because I got tired.

Think of it like programming, my day job:

You're writing a program, using a high level code language to do so. Everything you use in that language is so abstracted from the actual internal logic of doing the dirty work. Sorting functions are used instead of writing a sorting algorithm. Collection objects are fondled and loved, instead of writing code to handle every edge condition when accessing an array or some other basic non-trivial programming construct.

Then, something bad happens. You work for days, trying to discover the bug in your code. You Google incessantly, post ad nauseum to Stack Overflow, even go as far as putting your code out on Facebook and begging your barista friend to pretend he knows something about code and humor you by looking it over. Then someone says the obvious: RTFM.

That stands for "Read The F*cking Manual," something not done much these days, being that the intelligence of a programmer's Integrated Development Environments are legen - wait for it - dary. Nobody codes in Notepad anymore, and if they do, you wouldn't know them anyway, because they're introverted hermits, living in their grandmother's basement, hidden from all government spies, scheming to take over the world.

Reading the manual then opens the programmer's eyes to the foundational concepts behind the high level coding language. As you read, there will be more than a few "AHA!" moments, and you may happen across the reason behind your bug.

Or, one day, your code just begins to work - but we won't talk about those days.

And that is pretty much why I care to keep my mind up to date with the foundational theology of Christianity, a huge component of our American and especially western culture, historically. 

But mostly, I have six kids. These kids ask a lot of questions, something I did when I was a child, and yet I was spoon-fed one-sided ideas (high level ideas, based on the foundational reasoning of Christian thought), rather than given the basic building blocks for making sound, life defining decisions. 

In short, I have put it upon myself to stay fresh, so that, if I say, "Free will is impossible because God cannot be omniscient and control the hearts of kings at the same time," and my kids ask, "Why, Daddy?" I can give them a really good answer.

Also, they've almost graduated from asking questions like, "Daddy, does God fart?"

Hint: I know the answer to THAT one.

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