Friday, 9 August 2013

A Chip off the Old Block

Block with chip?
To call someone "a chip off the old block" is usually regarded as a compliment. But according to that most astute word authority Max Cryer, it didn't exactly begin that way.

The expression can be dated all the way back to 1621 when a certain Bishop Sanderson of Lincoln included these lines in a homily:

"Am I not a child of the same Adam... A chip of the same block, with him?"

It's a rhetorical question which swiftly passed into the bloodstream of the Queen's English, mutated into the current form, and moved beyond. Who'd have thought, though, that the 'old block' was originally old father Adam?

Apart from providing the language with a colourful expression however, I wonder how many of us - Christians included - would today respond unequivocally with a "yes, indeed" to the good clergyman's question?


  1. And I thought the "old block" or at least the quarry from which we were hewn was Abraham and Sarah (Isa 51:1-2)

  2. Yeah, you know, the problem of Christianity is that Jesus is supposedly a chip off the old block too. It's that "original sin" thing that's so hard to get away from, you know. Jesus has to be a chip because, otherwise, his sacrifice wouldn't be relevant to the other chips. OTOH, Jesus can't be tainted by the original sin of the old, his mother was a virgin.

    Well, that didn't solve the problem either, because his mother was tainted by being a chip from the old block. So...there was the idea that Jesus' mother was also descended from a virgin..."immaculate conception" was born to answer that problem.

    But, what of Mary's grandmother? Well, she was a virgin too...from there it was virgins all the way back, I suppose. But then you come to mother Eve...the woman who sinned first and caused it all. Besides that, Adam and Eve were "one flesh", so she was a part of the old block.

    Okay, Jesus was God, problem solved. Nope, because it was the old block who was sentenced to death, not God. Besides that, God is immortal and can't die.

    In a nutshell, Christianity has an unsolvable conundrum as its core belief. Therefore, today, people want to ignore the first principle of original sin and pretend it never existed.

  3. There was no Adam. There, I said it. We should all deal with it.

    There probably was no Jesus Christ, either. Or, more likely, there was somebody with that name who did some of the things written about him. Or maybe several people each of whom did some things. However many of the things he reportedly did were just plain "made up", by some anonymous Greek-speaking authors who were later dubbed "Matthew", "Mark", "Luke" and "John" but were almost certainly NOT those persons. Further, they were made up based on incorrect understandings of Old Testament scriptures, to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah. However it was done so ham-handedly that the authors contradict each other and often contradict even themselves within the same book.

    Oy veh. What to make of it all? And how silly that we foolishly assumed every single word was literally true. All it takes is an unbiased reading to realize that the book says both "A" and "B" are true but often if "A" is true then "B" cannot be true.

    Like the three different accounts of how Saul died. OK, how did he really die? Probably none of the above! Or the two accounts of how Judas died. Or the two different lineages from David to Jesus. Or the hopelessly contradictory accounts of what happened during and after Jesus' alleged crucifixion. Why do you think Garner Ted gave up on writing his "harmony of the gospels? Because he thought it would be easy, but once he started writing he realized that there is no way the accounts harmonize.

    So good to be free ...

  4. >Why do you think Garner Ted gave up on writing his "harmony of the gospels?<

    Perhaps he thought that adultery was more exciting, and less time consuming.

    1. OK, Tom, go ahead and give a flip answer if you choose. But the point remains. Garner Ted's foibles aside, the gospels just plain don't harmonize.

      Here's a challenge for YOU. Using the four accounts of what happened following Jesus' death, try to write down what happened in time order. You'll find that all four stories cannot be accurate: if one is true, another must be false, at least with respect to the order of events, who did what where, etc. You don't have to tell us the results, just for your own edification, I suggest you make a bible study of it and see what you learn.

    2. I'm sure that the adultery was more exciting but I don't think it was less time consuming. However, GTA's dad was the farmer who figured out that it was easier and less time consuming to raise his own instead of going shopping.

  5. That was too easy, Tom! But, flip remarks aside, the point remains. The gospel accounts do not harmonize. They cannot all be 100% accurate.

    I challenge you to try this test: create a time line of exactly what happened after Jesus allegedly died on the cross, using all four gospel accounts. Just try it - you don't even need to share the results with us - it could be an eye-opening experience for you.