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 6 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

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest