The paper which first gave me the idea to accumulate bloopers was written by a student who went on to earn his Ph.D. and is now on the receiving end of such fun. His paper was on Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence, which states that the greatest possible being must exist, otherwise he wouldn’t be the greatest. Some philosophers think this itself is a blooper, or at least a whopper. I happen to like it, as does Alvin Plantinga. So there.
The student wanted to emphasize that Anselm’s argument hinges on God being the ultimate being, so in an attempt to forcefully make the point he repeatedly said that God is the “penultimate” being. He thought he was saying that God was “very ultimate,” but penultimate actually means one step below ultimate. So his paper aggressively argued that God is the second highest being. Believe me, that’s funnier when it’s the tenth paper you’ve read and you’ve got ten more to go. And we do.
Here are ten more bloopers, less funny than yesterday, which were less funny than the day before, but they’re still nothing to sneeze at.
10. “In a summary of his view on sanctification, Wesley integrated both Calvinism and Armenianism. He held to an Armenian view of election.”
Anyone who has taught a class in seminary has heard this one, as students commonly confuse theologian Jacob Arminius with the country of Armenia. I used to accuse these students of an ethnic slur, until I realized that this would only be the case if they agreed with my Calvinism. So I was unintentionally slurring them. By the way, does anyone know a Calvinist Armenian? Now that would be funny, and confusing.
9. “With the unexpected declaration of war on Iraq, however, the ethics of war and the proper response of the Christian to military service suddenly took center stage. Overnight pastors and preachers began addressing the subject of war in their sermons and Sunday Schools.”
I know that some online programs are nothing more than degree mills, but this still seems quick. What is an overnight pastor—someone who goes to bed as a bricklayer and wakes up with a church?
8. “Kuyper believed, proclaimed, and delivered the message that science is not a demon. His justification of science came wrapped in the shroud of Calvinism.”
If science is not a demon, then what is it doing in a shroud?
7. “Peter Fromm began his journey up the slippery slope early in the novel….”
This would take effort, but I admit it’s not impossible.
6. “The views of the state of man after the fall run the gamete.”
That is some impressive DNA.
5. “Capitalization has led society to be market driven.”
I would not have guessed that using higher case letters would have this effect.
4. “His early genius and precocious youth are evident in a host of dairies and adolescent writings….”
He probably was trying to milk his talent. Groan. This pun was inspired by President Obama’s “joke” in the last State of the Union address.
3. “When we look at the functions of the Persons of the divine essence, especially in the redemption of man, a certain degree of insubordination is involved….”
Here’s a unique twist on the complementarian claim that there is subordination of roles within the Trinity. Does that offend you, egalitarians? Then brace yourself for the crazy, because we may also believe in insubordination. This is where the Son prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. And if you’re not willing, then neither am I. If you love those people so much, why don’t you die on the cross for them? Find somebody else. I’m out of here.”
2. “It seems obvious to Luther that Pope Leo has been told quite negative things about his message and the manor in which that message is delivered.”
Luther, not only does the pope disagree with what you’re saying, but also he thinks your house is the ugliest building in Germany.
1. “The decorative cause of evil is not a creation of YHWH, but us.”
So the cause of evil is…Martha Stewart?