Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Reading

Here are a couple of blog posts:

From Strauss to Christ, an interesting post which expresses some of my own concerns in the realms of apologetics, reason, and faith. Here's the conclusion:
Accepting revelation is not tantamount to turning off reason; it is not to become a fideist in the strictest sense of the word. It does mean, however, the dismissal of a purely intellectualized interpretation of the world. Reality means something more than what reason alone can examine. Reason’s limits are dismissed and with that dismissal comes a freedom more dangerous than one any atheistic “philosopher” ever drooled over in their shabby polemics. The philosophic life is, after all, a restricted life—not with regard to its questions, but to the chance it has any permanent answers. And is it not the answers, even the wildly fantastic answers, which give rise to the actions that shape the way in which we live? In the end, this all circles back to faith and not just any faith, but the Faith in God Incarnate, Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all. “Faith” is the substantial evidence most scorned by non-believers and least defended by those aforementioned minds committed to a tensionless existence between what they have learned and what they claim to believe. It is, however, what must be taken or rejected if being a Christian is possible. Leo Strauss—a Jew who consciously renounced his people’s orthodoxy—saw this. He saw it so clearly that he knew if his choice for the philosophic life was to amount to more than a mere act of decisionism, revealed religion had to be confronted, exposed, and ultimately rejected. Unlike so many moderns, he believed and, dare I say, he demonstrated that such an assault had not been properly undertaken in modern times. Its claim to victory was a hollow claim; its acceptance came more by way of reception of a questionable tradition than an irreproachable demonstration. Christians—even Orthodox Christians—still receive this tradition; they still embrace it and from there believe that the reasonableness of the critique can only be met by showing, in some convoluted way, the greater “reasonableness” of their Christianity. They may be well-meaning, but they are still ashamed by the Cross. They want to know—and they want the world to know that they know—more than it.

The Ochlophobist offers some insightful comments on the topics of linguistics and flattery here. Here's a sample:

The degeneration of language that we now see is the sad putting on of appearances by demons still trembling in fear because of the word of the Theotokos spoken in accordance with the Word she accepted and bore. They have every reason to fear now, for in their pursuit of the flatteries and fabrications of Nothing their potential victims need only bend the neck and utter from the heart a "be it unto me" and the whole game is over - even in metal shops, and classrooms, and sales meetings, and Lord knows where else. God, who energetically seems to make occasion for irony, appears rather intent on expressing salvation in the most seemingly impossible situations. In fact, as St. Paul makes clear and as many of us have experienced, the greater the degree of realized need, the greater the degree of our potential clarity in seeing grace. Thus in Christ's new order, the order of Nativity, when things get worse, there is all the more power in what is better. Flattery abounds, but in such a context the icon of a real word spoken or written only serves to bear a greater witness.

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