Proverbs that make us think?


If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home. Vance Havner

You can’t wake someone who isn’t sleeping.  Polish Proverb quoted by Rush Limbaugh on why some people, when they hear the truth, still will not change a wrong position.

...alcoholism a disease… It is the only disease I know of that we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to spread. Vance Havner

To be negative is easy. I know that. That’s how we won the House. Nancy Pelosi as speaker

One popular Christian painting shows an angel watching over two young children crossing a dangerous stream on a rickety bridge. The spleen is something like that—standing watch over our bloodstream.David Menton explaining the function of the human spleen

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.– Jimi Hendrix

There’s no better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself. Dwight L. Moody

Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country — Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. — but never in Chicago. So it’s curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago…Ann Coulter

The number going to college exceeds the number capable of mastering higher levels of intellectual inquiry. This leads colleges to alter their mission, watering down the intellectual content of what they do.  research of AEI scholar Charles Murray’s book “Real Education” (2008)

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. Carl Sagan (And he doesn’t believe in creation?)

In many ways I think Barack Obama was done a big disservice by the news media’s unwillingness to take him seriously and to deal with him the way they did everybody else. As a result he didn’t learn the things you have to learn to be effective in the White HouseNewt Gingrich on taking the heat from media attacks that  holding political office requires

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.Mark Twain

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of (YHWH) the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD (YHWH).

About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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4 Responses to Proverbs that make us think?

  1. smijer says:

    #1 – Agree. There are a number of other similar proverbs (“you can’t reason a man out of what he wasn’t reasoned into”) There is now a good bit of research into the cognitive biases that make it difficult for people to change their minds. Dr Ramachandran has some interesting ideas described here, about the independence of two nodes of the brain that seem to be involved. What is worrisome is that so many people recognize this tendency in others, but seem oblivious to their own difficulties with it.

    #2 – seems like political posturing. As such it probably carries more than a grain of truth but only at a generic level. The same critique could be made against many or maybe most politicians without being unfair, including likely against the person uttering it. Its universal applicability weakens it as a particular criticism – and its particularity distracts from larger and more important questions about the political system.

    #3 – Pithy, and only partially correct. One assumes that this is an argument in favor of prohibition – or possibly commercial censorship, but it is doubtful that many people will accept those arguments given the availability of persuasive arguments against either.

    #4 – See #2

    #5 – You can never appreciate the spleen too much. Also the bile ducts. Not being a biologist, I can only assume that if I knew enough about spleens I would either agree or disagree, and it wouldn’t much matter elsewise.

    #6 – Critics of the social gospel movement of the late 19th and early 20th century have plenty to work with. That said, you can’t really agree or disagree with a rhetorical flourish. If we lived in a time when the social gospel movement was relevant, we would be inclined to cheer or to boo – which is unfortunate because cheerleading is an unfortunate substitute for thinking.

    #7 – I agree. See #1.

    #8 – “Defending the Bible” has been fashionable in protestant circles ever since liberal protestant scholars began trying to understand it through critical methods. The funny thing is that you rarely ever hear anyone actually defending the Bible. Instead, you hear clamorous noise from people defending a particular set of ideas about the Bible. If that same amount of energy was channeled into trying to understand the Bible, then western religion would look drastically different than it does now.

    #9 – Innuendo and out the other.

    #10 – Without directly disagreeing, I think the premise is unsound. There may be some grains of truth in it, but there is an ideology lurking below the surface – that there is virtue in keeping more people uneducated and employed at brute labor if any at all.

    #11 – A joke on the taking the meaning of “from scratch” to its extreme – apparently was clever enough when told originally, as it is continually quoted even today. Sorry to say I don’t remember what he was illustrating with this turn of phrase.

    #12 – I agree unreservedly.

    #13 – Less apt to the observable universe than its cousin from Matthew 5: “…For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”


    • jlue says:

      You make some good points, but on number six I would like to add this: Knowing Dr. Havner, he would never be opposed to giving someone a place to sleep and a sandwich, however, he would require some personal responsibility on the part of the recipient at some point. In America, we have allowed political motivations to get in the way of common sense and no longer are able to distinguish between helping someone and destroying someone with help. In the parable referred to by Dr. Havner, the son went home with the attitude that he would offer to be a servant in the house of his father. He did not go home with the attitude that he would go home and let his father feed him for life. Sometimes our ‘good intentions’ are not really good for the person we are trying to save and some people only learn life’s lessons if we stay out of the way. The son’s father must have stayed out of the way even though I suspect it hurt him to do so.


  2. smijer says:

    A few more to go with #1:

    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” – Leo Tolstoy

    “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams

    “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” – Prov18:2

    And on the failure of political systems:

    “It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” – Douglas Adams


    • jlue says:

      Similar ideas to that of Tolstoy is used in capturing the minds of college age students and in (sorry to say) brain-washing and political propagandizing because it is easier to capture the mind of those who haven’t really thought about a topic. It isn’t quite the same thing as what Rush was saying, but has some similarities. Rush was saying that some people have already thought through a concept and have decided to stay with a flawed concept for other reasons. For example, if a person is so enamored with the idea of ‘___________’ they will vote for one party over another if that party supports ‘__________’ even if they know the party is taking the country down the road to destruction economically or with a foreign policy decision or whatever. “You can’t wake a man whose not sleeping.” He knows A is best, but he chooses B for other reasons.

      Douglas was right about the people who rule. Those who are enriching themselves in Congress right now are good examples of this and I think our president is (as have many of the recent presidents been) an example of this. The American people are so busy, and some just feel too overwhelmed, to really find out what is going on and get those out of office who should be voted out.) This is one reason that politicians want to begin class warfare. They had much rather we fight each other than focus on what they are doing.


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