Written in response to a report by Dennis Hokama in the most recent issue of Adventist Today.
She: Hear you’re getting a new dog!
She: Looking forward to choosing it?
She: Bet you’re going for a puppy, not a grown up.
She: What kind are you looking for?
She: I ask you what kind of puppy you want and you say “none?”
She: You don’t care if the puppy comes with papers. Is that what you mean?
She: Maybe you don’t care if your puppy is not a purebred. Now am I following you?
She: I don’t get it!
She: Are you telling me you want a puppy with no breed?
She: That’s impossible!
She: Because every puppy is some kind of puppy.
She: No one can buy a generic puppy.
She: Every puppy is this and not that.
She: Remember Philosophy 101?
She: That’s where we learned about the “ontological necessity of particularity.”
She: Now that I’ve brought it up do you remember?
She: Philosophers make a pretty good living by pointing out what everybody sees but no one notices.
She: They have to feed their kids too.
She: Everything that exists in the real world exists as something particular, something specific.
She: If it’s any thing, it’s some thing.
She: Generic things exist only in our minds.
She: So you can’t buy a generic dog or a generic kite or a generic ice cream cone. You can’t buy a generic version of anything!
She: Even the “generic” medicines we buy aren’t really generic. Each one is some special mix of stuff.
She: We get them for less because they don’t have labels.
She: You haven’t tried to buy a generic puppy, have you?
She: Any luck?
She: Not surprised. Except that you tried. That does surprise me.
She: Let’s change the subject.
She: You’ve decided to become a Christian?
She: What kind? Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Disciples or whatever?
She: I suppose you want to be a generic Christian.
She: That’s impossible too!
She: Every Christian has a religious pedigree of some kind even if he or she doesn’t know what it is.
She: Nobody ever comes to Jesus Christ as such.
She: Everyone comes to him as he is presented by some group that has a particular history and understanding of him. No exceptions.
She: Some groups think they’re the only ones.
She: Nobody can be a generic Christian. It’s impossible!
She: Little things, like whether the person who presents Christianity wears a robe or suit, tell you a lot.
She: This is Sociology 101.
She: Do you remember when we took it?
She: It’s time for me to get out of here and do something.
She: Straighten the rear view mirror in my car. That’s what!
She: Take care.
David Larson teaches in the School of Religion at Loma Linda University.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/327