Monday, August 20, 2012

Cars and Creeds become dated . . .

R.E. Olds actually began building cars before Henry Ford – and for many decades the Oldsmobile brand was an industry leader. In 1988 sales were poor – and the company introduced its new model with the tag line – “This is not your grandfather’s Oldsmobile”. That didn’t work and the final Oldsmobile rolled off the factory lot in April 2004. Nostalgia for what once was doesn’t work in today’s automotive world.

The Apostles Creed is certainly one of the oldest in Christendom, developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Pre-dating the Apostles Creed is, of course, the Nicene Creed, developed in 325 to battle the teachings of Arius. It experienced many re-workings over the centuries. The version most frequently in use today dates back to 1549!

While some may think reviewing the use/acceptance of cars and creeds odd – [even ludicrous?], factors in both have similarities:

·         Egos! The history of creeds and Christianity has clearly been impacted when egos clashed over interpretations, control issues, political battles, etc. Such is also true in the automotive history. Think Paul vs Peter, Athanasius vs Arius, Martin vs Leo; think Olds vs Ford, GM vs Toyota.

·         New knowledge!
          o   Autos
                §  Initially used heavy metals in manufacturing. Now & other lighter materials
                 §  Computers now handle timing, maintenance, cruise control, global positioning and a myriad of other aspects involved in driving an auto.
                 §  Environmental impact of burning fossil fuels [as well as cost increase] has led to newer means of propelling an automobile.
                §  Safety and comfort factors became more mandatory.
                §  Foreign manufacturers were able to compete successfully in all aspects of the auto
          o   Creeds
                §  Galileo and Copernicus revealed the earth is not the center of the universe. No longer can we postulate a “tiered” universe in which heaven is “up”, hell is “down”.
                 §  Newton forced us to recognize that this universe operates on certain laws which even God cannot suspend without dire results.
                 §  The discovery of ancient manuscripts reveal many other texts with significant claims to being considered as important as the Bible.
                §  Darwin’s work on the evolution of humanity reveals that creation is not “done”  but is still evolving; that while the Psalmist saw us as little lower than the angels, we are really only a little higher than animals; that it is even possible we could become extinct!
                 §  Freud’s work on the human psyche opened up the way humanity reacts when the reality of mortality confronts us: we create gods and myths, experience fear and anger, and come to feel guilt.
                §  Sputnik – and all the other works involving outer space – make us aware that our galaxy is only one of many; that the distances involved are trillions of miles; and creation is very, very old – long before Genesis 1!
                §  Our involvement with persons from other creeds/religions forces us to re-consider whether or not we can insist on the supremacy of Christianity.
                §  All these aspects need to be worked into our theologies [just as our ancestors had to do in their time].

The world of 2012 is much more than what our grandmothers and grandfathers knew. It’s time to up-grade our creeds!