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Lessons Only Seminary Could Teach Me

I'm procrastinating. 

I have read portions of (and in two cases, entire) eight books so far as I research my Apologetics paper. I'm writing about the problem of evil. I have such a mish mash of information in my head, but nothing really coherent to say just yet. The paper is due next Friday, and it is my goal to have my outline done by the end of the weekend so I can start actually writing. This is such a huge topic. I'm tempted to do nothing and fritter away the day, but I know I'll regret it come this time next week.

Researching an apologetics issue has introduced me to new terms: compatibilism, consequentialist, libertarian free will, modus ponens. While Alvin Plantinga's book God, Freedom and Evil, was very helpful, it wasn't an easy read. I'm probably the most not-logical person I know, and sifting through his analysis was challenging. Yesterday, I read a section of John Feinberg's book The Many Faces of Evil where he evaluates a selection of Modified Rationalist views on how to answer the problem of evil. Then I read his own answers to the problem of moral and natural evil; it was a long day. I'm thankful for complete silence during the day, because reading that kind of material taxes my wee brain.

Despite the fact that this has been a very challenging exercise, I'm so thankful for it. Being expected to read views I don't understand and possibly don't agree with is a good thing. Slowly, my thinking skills are improving, even at my age. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? This is not something I would necessasrily have chosen to study had I not gone to seminary.

Reading outside of our typical areas of interest is good for us. It opens our thinking to areas that we might never consider. It's like being willing to go outside our home towns. We can be very comfortable in where we engage our minds. Social media makes it possible to craft a safe little echo chamber where we don't let any of the bad guys in. But being in seminary has meant thinking about things from more than one perspective; and my school is theologically, more or less, in line with my own views. I cannot help but wonder what it would be like to go to another school that is outside my own circle. 

It's got me thinking.

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