4/21/2011 | Share this article:By Ex-Pastor Dan ~
For my ‘light’ reading lately (you know, the book on the nightstand, or the one in the bathroom - the one you have been reading in quick snippets for the past three months)
Image by Pombinho via FlickrI have been enjoying When God is Gone Everything is Holy by Chet Raymo. Chet is a prolific writer who was educated at Notre Dame (High School & College). Chet is an Ex-Catholic, turned Agnostic, or as he self-describes - “a Religious Naturalist”, and thanks to a class in epistemology, he turned from “ religious apologist” to “agnostic scientist” during his last three years at Notre Dame University.
In chapter 6 (sub-titled – Wielding Ockham’s Razor) he sets the scene of a family dinner where he, his wife, their daughter and her husband were discussing a recent poll that revealed, “9 out of 10 Americans believe in God, and 9 out of 10 members of the ‘National Academy of Scientists’ do NOT.” While they were contemplating the “WHY” of this not-so-shocking finding, the son-in-law blurted out……”OVERWEENING HUBRIS!”
As the laughter died down, their daughter asked the obvious question (at least to me), “What does ween mean?” Oh yes, I had to know! Being a lover of words, I get downright giddy at the thought of a new word which holds the promise of describing my former colleagues with even richer disdain than I have heretofore been able to conjure. “Overweening Hubris”, it just had a certain ring to it. The root word – WEEN – held such potential; the Jokes alone were already beginning to form in my funny bone (found somewhere between my ears). That place in my brain was starting to vibrate with anticipation ….. “What the hell does WEEN mean?”
The Franklin Dictionary describes Hubris –
Exaggerated Pride or Self-Confidence; Excessive self-opinion; Conceited; Egomaniac; Vain; Arrogant; Narcissistic; Proud; Self-Important; Immodest; Megalomaniac; Vainglorious; Big-Headed.
This word holds great significance in my life. Although I didn’t like or use the word much at the time, it almost perfectly describes ME, as a Christian Minister. The only word that the Dictionary leaves out (and one that my wife would add) is Asshole! To shorten it up to a more fluent and usable phrase; one that my wife could yell without taking a breath …. “You Hubristic Asshole!” described me to a tee!
WEEN – A GREAT OLD WORD
Ween is an old word, from another era. It is descended from:
Archaic or Antiquated language of the past; Relating to and characteristic of an earlier or more Primitive timeHere is its meaning –
Believe; To be of the Opinion; To suppose; To hope; To be CHARMED; Under the SPELL.Holy Shit! This word was gaining steam! And when you add the modifying prefix “OVER”, you get the tremendous word, OVERWEENING.
What happens when you join the describer ‘Over’ with the word in question ‘weening’? Here goes:
Over-Believer; Overly-Opinionated; Overly Supposing (gullible); Baseless Hope (hoping beyond all odds); Completely Charmed and Totally Under the Spell of…………..
O.K., I know that the two words together are redundant, but what a Great Phrase – “Overweening Hubris “– it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? You could accuse your Christian friends and relatives of “overweening hubris” and they most likely wouldn’t know whether you had just complemented them or insulted them. Depending on your delivery it could sound really cool, e.g., “You, my friend, have great overweening hubris!” Or, you could leave no doubt as to your meaning with, “You overweening, hubristic Asshole!” (LOL – I just think the word asshole is funny).
Speaking of funny, think of what you can do with this old-timey word – WEEN. Again, while talking to Fundys you could use Phrases like, “You are a real WEENER!” Depending on their level of FAITH, they could be an Overweener or an Underweener. Hell, they may even attain the much sought after level of SUPERWEENER! “You’re a real WEENIE” would not necessarily be considered derogatory. Hey, I think I’ve just founded a new sect of Christianity (number 32,001), THE FIRST CHRUCH OF THE WEENIES, and everyone could carry their Weener’s Annotated version of the Bible.
Would a “weenie-roast” be something you do after Youth Service or something that happens to martyrs? Hmmmmm…
THE MEANING OF FAITH?
If you all are anything like I was for over 40 years, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I never could quite get a grip on the meaning of Faith. What the hell did it mean? Was it hope … not quite. Was it confidence … not really. Was it belief … sort of. Was it trust … now we’re getting warmer! The Bible says it’s “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As Scooby-Doo says, “WWHHAAAUUUHHHAAT?” Substance, Evidence? Those are things that Christianity has NONE of. FAITH is an Oxymoron! Christians say “We don’t need evidence, we have Faith!” Again, cue Scooby, “W…………………………………………?”
So what the FU(K is Faith? Anyone? (Cue the crickets) I didn’t think so. It’s un-describable, it’s non-understandable, it’s an oxymoron ………….
(Some thoughts from the mind of a one-time, overweening, hubristic Asshole – just ask my wife)