Ways and memes

October 3, 2013

Like R. E. Rawles (Letters, 26 September), I was somewhat startled by Gerald J. Pillay’s reference to memes as “wildly imaginative” (in his review of Christianity and the University Experience: Understanding Student Faith, Books, 12 September). I suspect the key issue here is that folk in confessional traditions emerging from the medieval and early modern eras typically tended to have little difficulty in embracing models of “incarnational” aspects of faith. However, today they may be a little afraid to explore contemporary models that use concepts such as memes in attempts to formalise incarnational aspects of spreading the good news. Perhaps the central principle for those of us who are (even conservative) believers in the contemporary post-liberal outlook is that God undoubtedly does use memes (to show where He’s been?) and their existence does not mean He doesn’t exist.

As an academic “mystery worshipper”, I routinely identify the existence and passage of memes in the socio-theological grammar of many types of religious “text and talk”. A cogent example I reported last month at an ecclesiology and ethnography conference at Durham University is that in more than 20 years of broad-based mystery worship (it comes under the heading “sensitive research”), I have only been insulted by one Methodist – a meme from the Wesleys and indeed the first century AD if ever there was one.

Noel Heather
Egham, Surrey

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

PhD Scholar in Medicine

University Of Queensland

Manager, Research Systems and Performance

Auckland University Of Technology

Lecturer in Aboriginal Allied Health

University Of South Australia

Lecturer, School of Nursing & Midwifery

Western Sydney University

College General Manager, SHE

La Trobe University
See all jobs

Most Viewed

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi