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This is a very interesting article by Jackson Wu on Patheos.
It has a nice discussion of some of the points brought out in the book I can hope our linguistic library gets but that is too expensive for me to buy myself, Theology in the Flesh: How Embodiment and Culture Shape the Way We Think about Truth, Morality, and God, by the ever-provocative John Sanders.
The Wu summary explains the idea that a big part of our understanding is shaped by the frames that are activated in a situation and the controlling metaphors that we bring to our analysis. Much of this can be unconscious, as the studies he describes demonstrate.
The discussion relates to faith/science discussions in two ways:
Clearly, we have to understand the cultural frames that were activated by the Genesis text for the ancient near east audience. John Walton does a good job describing some of these frames (he doesn’t use that term, he calls them cultural streams and cognitive environments I think) in his Lost World books.
Slightly, less obviously, the scientific community and the Evangelical community have their own subcultures and cognitive environments in many ways. Communication between the two groups is a kind of cross-culture experience. We probably need to understand better what frames and controlling metaphors are activated in the minds of YEC and anti-evolution conversation partners and what frames or controlling metaphors scientists have activated that they assume everyone else has to have also by default? Are their metaphors we could introduce into the discussion that could actually shape how people interpret and take away the facts presented?
The article takes this quote from Sanders’ book (p.144) about a study on how controlling metaphors shape interpretation:
So, for discussion, have you noticed any frames or metaphors that impede understanding in discussions with YEC conversation partners? And on the other hand, what assumed frames or metaphors should we be more aware of having to actively promote instead of thinking everyone else shares them?