Scripture vs. Chess; Similar Intellectual Challenges?
Some have regarded chess as an intellectual activity rather than as a game. Others have compared learning the ways of chess to learning trails in a forest or to a mouse learning and memorizing its way through a maze. Intellectual activity that largely involves memorization of specific historically precedented patterns as a format for execution of new activity with judgment is common to all of the above, and it may be common to learning and memorizing scripture chapter and verse.
I would like to think that all of those fundamental Christians that memorize much of the Holy Bible have the kind of minds that would make them good chess players able to memorize chess openings, middle and end games by famous players of the past. Like those that devote themselves solely to reading the Book of God, those devoting themselves to learning solely the book of chess (the historical games and patterned evolution of chess) that end up at grandmaster depth follow a comparatively closed intellectual field with a specific finite or delimited content rather than an open book such that history reading presents that is far more challenging to even survey comprehensively much less memorize.
I have learned chess the past three years as well as theology the past two and have respect for those citizens that learn chess or scripture so well they can cite games or verses accurately from memory. While I am good at finding trails through forests and memorizing ways even where there is no trail, I have been reading the Bible since I learned how to read and simply haven't learned to learn by rote memorization. Instead I have learned to survey everything available so far as possible and learn how to recover data from given locations when necessary; that wouldn't impress the authoritative Bible quoting people nor win chess matches against those who have memorized 30 forms of the Sicilian defense or Queen's gambit.
I think there are several forms of intellectual activity today. Some forms are solely mental pursuit of abstract issues while some forms involve mental activity that has mental abstractions and concentration or application immediately to real-world problems.
It is this latter field that I will comment on presently. Consider the intellectual activity of a house repainter. His thought if painting alone may include the location of every component of the work such as location of materials around the work site. The work site if in a secluded rural area with the owner absent may be free from abstract potential social interference by others. Even a car horn or dog running into a 24' extension ladder with the painter atop may cause issues. The painter needs to consider many issues abstract and a priori before they occur. He is not just like a mono-dimensional athlete on a game field who is actually a simile for a mono-dimensional chess player playing a game board. The active painter may be intellectually applying a Kantian form of synthetic a priori judgment comprising potential rain showers, spacetime weather abstractions, paint drying conditions, drying times, pant materials as primary or final applications and drying times and locations simultaneously. The intellectual activity is applied through his command and control of his body; arms and hands that may apply 3000 brush strokes to a single small home in a custom job. Financial abstractions in negotiating in a disadvantaged state, social conditions of ambient cheap labor competition for painting labor wages etc. A self-employed independent painter not established as a licensed paint contractor is quite disadvantaged-even NPR has dissed them as the clan with rave demotic falsely, and has little economic security or continuity of employment from job to job. The work engages the mind synthetically however in mind-body behavior intensely with risk even of spraying bleach mist used to remove mildew into one's eyes or lungs.
Intellectual work in purely abstract pursuits like philosophy that has similarities to history reading in tremendous, almost bottomless depth also may have contiguous academic fields with abstractions such as classical and symbolic logic that retroactively may be applied to the field with transcending transformation. It is possible to learn classical and symbolic logic to a certain depth and then use that knowledge as a filter to analyze or critically evaluate historical and philosophical ideas for accuracy. Chess tends to lack any sort of depth in that regard, although there are some tools such as exploiting square colors with oppositely colored bishops and elements of positional chess play that make it an interesting and intellectually stimulating game.
Reading scripture alone generally-although few people today become literate reading just the Bible, brings one into a world and Universe of unlimited depth. Some may stay on the surface just learning and memorizing scripture, yet its depth calls one to think about the ways that similar verses relate and inform. The Bible student inevitably develops his or her own way of interpreting scripture and develops some theory about it-that is called a hermeneutic in Bible scholarship.
The Bible has more than 3000 years of history behind it unlike chess. So if one goes beyond reading just the Bible and learns about Bible composition history one may also learn about ancient Middle Eastern history. Plainly great Bible scholars and theologians that have gone before call one to look into their writings. Scholars today like Kenneth Gentry who has brought a new approach to end times studies in a field called eschatology answer questions that arise in the thought of anyone who has read and thought about the Bible books of Matthew, Peter and the Revelation of John of Patmos. This sort of intellectual activity has more challenges than chess and is an open intellectual field rather than a closed field.
Modern chess computers have reached about a 3800 rating and that's about it-even with the best programming available. World chess champion Magnus Carlsen today has about a 2850 chess rating. Computer data banks may have millions of times more history content than a human being, not just less than a third better, yet a computer cannot presently write a single book of philosophy that is meaningful or useful much less write anything competent that is a philosophy of world social history.
I think that today evolution theory has inspired many people take up a jaundiced skeptical world view of atheist phenomenalism and randomicity theory as a philosophical point of view. Necessarily disregarded are deterministic factors of physics. Featured is quantum uncertainty while disregarded is the possibility that quantum uncertainty is simply a packing mechanism for one-dimensional or very small quanta that are not in space-time scales large enough to be measured in a steady-state-determined field. That does not mean that the quanta are themselves indeterministic phenomenally speaking. They too exist as dimensional phenomena in some greater than is measurable paradigm.
Applications of chess to the real world- inferences one may make from the chess tool kit about the nature of reality are few. Sociopaths and political theorists have commented on individuals in society in chess pawn and piece metaphors. There are people who view society as a sort of abstract chess game that one may 'win' through careful manipulation. In short, chess provides a penury class tool kit for making inferences about reality.
Chess as a philosophical tool is largely of an a posteriori construct. Chess analysts have noted 'materialism' in some players who will take an immediate en pris pawn for instant gratification instead of building a plan to maneuver and destroy an opponent. Chess is not Lao Tzu's 'Art of War'.
Reading and memorizing scripture alternatively may lead one to learn ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin languages; in fact even old English or German-since Bibles were translated into the German language by the 5th century. Philosophically scripture may lead one to make new inferences about the nature of reality based on remaining consistent with theology. Here is one example...
Christians learn that they are born with original sin. Perhaps it is the thermodynamic spatio-temporal and material state of being they have inherited from the fall of Adam and Eve-original humans who became cognizant of their fallen state. A Christian may infer that the ancient doctrine is informative and from God and perhaps a metaphor or analogy encompassing a criterion of cosmology.
If Christians require salvation because of their original sin and the temporal condition if they are to be acceptable and forgiven to the eternal God then a way to do that for humanity that is incapable of doing that for-themselves must be provided if they are to be saved. Only God himself in the Son Jesus Christ is capable of making that atoning sacrifice and of creating a bridge to eternal salvation.
That is a parameter that can support inferences of a very advanced kind. That is with the grace provided by God wherein the Christian is led to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior-a substitute for themselves. Technically speaking one may wonder how that is done.
Thus one may establish an inferential paradigm and use physics concepts essentially as analogies since God as an Absolute Supreme Being who is spirit has transcendence over all physics.
Through acceptance of the Lord into one's heart a kind of real replacement therapy arises in which the Christian becomes more Christlike. The elect individual actual is receiving the grace of God allowing him or her spiritually to evolve to a state of pure Spirit closer unto God. God is acceptable to God unto eternity. Jesus is God. Christians receive the substitution content of God for-themselves spiritually and are readied for eternal being.
Of course there are innumerable details and complications to the process that will remain mysteries. Yet it is possible to imagine a situation where an old ship for instance is gradually replaced with new parts until it is a completely new ship made of a superior substance. Alternatively one could have an existing large and complex computer program that is gradually rewritten or translated into another language that is more appropriate for a new platform while keeping the meaning of the original program content except for flaws. People that are saved are like that becoming replaced in time with Christ although retaining their form and thoughts to a certain extent. Christians receive new and improved spiritual bodies much like their present form in heaven, yet I suppose each will be perfected.