They Can be Learned

Vocabulary Round-up

“avidity”: extreme eagerness or enthusiasm.

“They can be learned, and the degree to which they are learned and successfully used depends entirely upon the intellectual avidity and motivation of the learner.” (Study is Hard Workp. 1)

“sinecure”: a position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.

“It is not a sinecure for the rest of your school experience.” (Study is Hard Work, 5)

 “reify”: make (something abstract) more concrete or real.

“Religion in general and Christianity in particular may have some instrumental value, but not much; religion may have some mythological value as that which represents the best and noblest in the human spirit, but to reify the myth is to depreciate humanism.” (Christ and Culture Revisited  116)

“effluent”: liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea.

“Secularization thus becomes tied, in popular outlook, to the effluent from the Enlightenment, to material prosperity, and above all to the idea of progress.” (Christ and Culture Revisited 117)

“riposte”: a quick clever reply to an insult or criticism.

“Today there is a small but growing and important riposte that questions these connections.” (Christ and Culture Revisited  117)

“if not plain stupid”

Vocabulary Round-up

“guache”: lacking ease or grace; unsophisticated and socially awkward.

“For the new generations coming along, they are merely the way things are, and questioning them is made to appear unbearable guache, if not plain stupid.” (Christ and Culture Revisited, p. vii)

“asymptotically”: toward an asymptote: (a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance.)

“We tend to sidle up to the truth, to approach it asymptotically – but it remains self-refuting to claim to know truly that we cannot know the truth.” (Christ and Culture Revisited, 90)

“interlocutor”: a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation.

“Where Smith carefully distances himself from his imaginary interlocutor, from the “postmodern theologian,” it is over against the former’s commitment to confessional orthodoxy.” (Christ and Culture Revisited, 111)

“salience”: the state of being salient: (most noticeable or important)

“There is an increase in hypothalamic and VTA activity, which is likely correlated to the release of dopamine fueling the salience of the sexual signals.” (Wired for Intimacy94)

“Eating a good meal when hungry, drinking a cool glass of water when thirsty or making love to your wife all have emotional salience.” (Wired for Intimacy, 101)

anomie”: lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.

“Richard Neuhaus observes that ‘the destructive effects of anomie and anger are already evident as a result of law divorced from constitutional text, moral argument, and democratic process.'” (A Hunger for God146)