You don’t know how to comprehend what you read, you don’t know the difference between an explanation and an argument or what the genetic fallacy is, and you shoot yourself in the foot by criticizing me for not dealing with the nuances of your brand of Christianity even while you quote me as talking generally about monotheism.

For those reasons, I can’t take your criticisms seriously. I can see that you likewise don’t take seriously what I have to say. So we’re at an impasse. Luckily, there are lots of other sources of information out there for both of us.

For the record, though, I’ll just fill you in on what I was going for in the first half of that long article you didn’t finish reading, in case you’re interested in closure. The point was to explain why some Christians and Muslims make a show out of the alleged rationality of their religious beliefs, whereas there are reasons why they should be averse to tarnishing their faith with a worldly presentation of it in rationalist terms. After all, they think the world is a fallen place, plagued by demonic influences. So a philosophical justification of Christianity, for example, should strike authentic Christians and Muslims as being like a Jew quoting from Hitler in defense of Judaism.

In much of the first half of that article I was speaking very generally, because these points apply especially to the evidential apologists from both Christianity and Islam. (Most Jews aren’t so caught up in theology.) But I went on to show, more specifically, how the Catholic Church made a habit of appropriating the customs of other cultures. When modernity arrived in Europe, the Church couldn’t let the new standards of critical-thinking rest unchallenged, just as the Church (e.g. Augustine and Aquinas) had attempted to assimilate ancient Greek philosophy. The Church clashed with modernity in the Protestant and Scientific Revolutions and in the Enlightenment, but tried to insulate itself by once again assimilating the standards of its potential rivals. In short, the Church remade itself in the image of its greatest enemy.

More obviously, though, the misplaced ideal of the intellectual Christian is due to the interest in supporting an inerrantist reading of the Bible. To explain why nonbelievers deserve to go to hell, even though they seem now to have many good reasons for rejecting Christianity, these literalistic Christians have to pretend that reason is on the side of Christian faith.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store