Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bumpersticker Exegesis and Critique

In Pursuit of That Which is True offers some hearty and curmudeonly exegesis and refutations of popular bumper stickers. We should not be inured to everyday absurdities.


John Stockwell said...

The author write:
I will explain. The purpose of the
Darwin fish with legs is to announce
to the world that we are all accidents
and, by logical default, life is
meaningless. Therefore, this concept
of questioning authority has no real
intention to remain for an answer, as
answers imply meaning. It is just
merely empty questioning. And
people say that Christians are
losed minded! What the sticker is
actually communicating is "Reject

Talk about your postmodernist deconstructions! The purpose of the Darwin fish is humor. Sure, it is humor
at the expense of certain Xtian fish displayers who also happen to be science-deniers, but it is humor just
the same.

The author neglects (or perhaps bears false witness against) the vast number of Christians who also have no trouble with the notion of evolution.

Paul D. Adams said...

Dialog via bumper stickers ends up saying very little, if anything at all.

John Stockwell said...

paul d. williams wrote:
Dialog via bumper stickers ends up saying very little, if anything at all.

Exactly. The Darwin fish is just a joke.

Now some people in the Xtian community who actually have sense of humor intact have responded with shark eating Darwin fishes, and other variations, even one were a
version that is supposed to look like a
flying saucer made of partial fish-like forms says "Alien."

Fletcher said...

Thte Darwin fish (as well as the Jesus fish) are not always intended as jokes. Often they say "this is my worldview and I am proud of it."

I've got pals with both types of fish, and some certainly feel strongly about it, much more than a joke.

Communicating via bumper stickers is counterproductive and a waste of time though.

Paul D. Adams said...

Fletcher says:
"Communicating via bumper stickers is counterproductive and a waste of time though."

'Tis my point.

Banners, placards, stickers, one-finger salutes, fist waving, dismissive bodily gestures, et al. are no substitute for reasoned, face-to-face civil and sane dialog. For that matter, neither are blogs...oops ;-0.

Kevin Winters said...

It seems to me like the blog's author is just trying to find something to corageously bludgeon, sorry, curmudgeon so she gives each one the most literal and/or simplistic meaning possible in order to show her superiority and the driver's inferiority.

For example, why bring in the dictionary meaning of "coexist" except to belittle? Isn't it obvious enough to not need to be mentioned without throwing doubt on the driver's intelligence?

Furthermore, why should we assume that asking that we all coexist is a relativistic claim? Certainly the blog author can agree that religions battling each other in religious wars is not a good thing, nor is one religion throwing invectives at another religion a desirable thing. Surely these are ways of "coexisting" that even someone who thinks they have the truth can wish for.

But, no, she has to interpret it in a relativistic way (the perpetual scapegoat of modern Evangelicals, it seems) so she can throw her righteous indignation against a driver that she doesn't even know. Isn't that a logical fallacy...something about mind reading? Even if it isn't a fallacy, it sure is un-Christian and epistemologically unethical.

But, alas, I guess I can't be a curmudgeon about another curmudgeon's curmudgeonry.

Sarah Scott said...


The dichotomy lies not between the driver and me, but only between good arguments and bad ones. Regardless, such a black and white comparison can hardly be considered relativistic.

Besides, if my argument is "the most literal and/or simplistic" one possible, there is no room for reading between the lines in order to extract a "hidden attack" on the drivers of these vehicles.

Yes, if in fact I was attacking the person and not the statement, then it would be an ad-hominem fallacy.

Fletcher said...


Exactly. You nailed it, way to think. How countercultural of you to do so.


Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Being a postmodernist, Kevin is allergic to binary distinctions--even when they are obvious.

I have seen that bumper sticker and the message clearly is relativistic or pluralistic--no religion is better than any other.

I still think he could lower his blood pressure by avoiding The Constructive Curmudgeon.

righteousness first said...


Sadly you misunderstand the audience of this blog. As fundamentalists we want to eradicate every trace of liberalism and non-literal interpretations of the Bible. That's where the buck stops and those who disagree might say we are narrow literalists, but at least we are clear about what we stand for and unashamed of our unshakeable position. While there might be some collateral damage, we make no apologies and stand firmly by the Word.

JanusMagus said...

If the claim is that some drivers have the bumper sticker and don't take it in a relativistic sense, then it's obviously true. If the claim, as originally intended by the maker of the slogan, has a relativistic meaning, then that's a totally different matter. I can't claim to know if the latter is true or not, but I do know that many people who talk of "religious tolerance" have a kind of pantheistic ideal of the divine and still think that all religions are one (or something like that). To give just one example, there was a big symposium at my university and two proponents voiced such views there.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Two Kevin Winter posts have been deleted since they are beligerent and pointless. Any further mocking posts will be eliminated immediately.

Kevin Winters said...

What is wrong with my interpretation of the bumper sticker? Why is so "clearly" wrong with it? And, please, give arguments, not dogmatic pronouncements.

righteousness first said...


I need to repeat what I wrote earlier. It is important for those of us who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (fundamentalists (though we don't Bible bash!)) to analyze culture through the lens of evangelicalism. Perhaps you are correct that the bumperstickers don't advocate postmodernism, but the very fact that they could disagree with our scriptural interpretations makes us suspicious. I for one have embraced my fundamentalism. I used to say I was evangelical because I wasn't part of the some IFD denomination (I'm PC USA), but relized that the dividing line between scholarship and what we do is that we take a stance on inerrancy and interpret all data though those lenses, and I've embraced the fact that we are fundamentalists, and with that, come certain (to you predictable) responses. Groothuis is a great example of a fundamentalist: he consistently interprets our worldview in such a light--that is why we read this blog.

Aaron Snell said...

Righteousness First,

Forgive me if I am misreading you, but your manner and tack make it hard not to see your portrayal of your "position" and those you include among your numbers as a shell game. Maybe you are sincere, but something is just not sitting right.

Has anyone else noticed there is more going on here than RF's sweeping claims of fundamentalism, or is it just me?

righteousness first said...

not sure I understand? I see nothing wrong with agreeing in the fundamentals of the faith. As far as I'm aware, Torrey helped create this system: virgin birth, diety, atonement, all rooted in inerrancy. Fundamentalism was thus part of a movement in the 1920's that defined itself over and against liberalism.

Do YOU believe in the fundamentals?

Dave said...

I've often remarked that many try to put their "sound-bite" bumper stickers on their car to reflect their worldview, what they truly believe. My response to that is, "Well then I guess I believe in the University of Tennessee and the David Crowder Band."