Algorithms and Allegories  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , ,

Some friends at another church in town are releasing devotionals for Lent, and this is today's entry...good for us all to celebrate and remember...

1 Corinthians 1:26-27 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Recently I was explaining to a friend that algorithms (a fairly simple procedure for solving complex mathematical problems) and allegories (a convoluted method of teaching simple truths through symbolism) had similar Latin roots. The major difference was that Allegories had a double “l”, which made it more complex. She suggested that I was crazy (probably true), she did not know what algorithms were, except that they were mentioned in the TV show NUMB3RS, and they were not simple. To prove my point, I showed her that the word alga (or algae) started with the same sound as algorithm; and alga were simple one-celled plants, while allegro had the double “l” and meant fast (complex). She countered that I could allege anything I wanted, but it did not make it true.

While my friend will never accept that algorithms are simple, she knows a lot of allegories from the Bible:
Jesus’ parables,
Jesus as the Good Shepherd,
Jesus as the Lamb of God,
The symbol of the cross which stands for the blood that was shed at Calvary.

Meanwhile I will go through life praising God and thinking that algorithms and alga are simple, and allegories and allegro are complex.

Lord, thank You for making Your truths so complex that scholars have trouble understanding them, but so simple that a child can understand them. Amen.

This entry was posted at Thursday, February 26, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 thoughts and responses


Incredibly insightful or at least I think so. You probably noticed but didn't chose to comment on the fact that Algorithms and Allegories both have 10 characters in the word. It immediately brings to mind the question that begs for an answer. What is the significance of "10" in the numberical relationship?

NOTE: This was posted during my lunch break and should not require a payroll reduction.

Bus across America:

March 2, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I guess I first wonder about "numberical" :)

I don't initially get much verve out of the shared letter counts of the words, but there is some irony there.

March 2, 2009 at 8:53 PM

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