I have been asking defenders of sophisticated theology for a reading list of works they are prepared to defend as intellectually bracing and honest, but I have yet to have my challenge met. I am tempted to conclude that they have realized, on closer examination, that they, too, have adopted a double standard, letting pass as deep thought work that is actually just obscure--and often apparently deliberately obscure. Such works serve only to buttress the adopters of epistemological modesty, who can reason as follows: "These professors are professorial thinkers about religion. They are still in the church, so they must have gone way beyond me in thinking these issues through. I don't get it, but they do, so I should accept their authority." These high-flown ruminations may well be incomprehensible, but they are nevertheless deemed inspiring and authoritative. "Go read the meticulous arguments of this thinker; they should sweep away your doubts." (And if they don't, it must be your fault.) (page 224)To a T, sir. To a T. There's simply no 'there' there, no solid ground but a fuddled slough so vast that no end can ever be reached to prove it.
Apr 23, 2014
Caught in the Pulpit Quote
I read Daniel Dennett's and Linda LaScola's Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind recently. A powerful book for anyone who's left a faith, and presumably for anyone who's stayed. One passage in particular, written by Dennett, stuck with me in light of other recent discussions:
at 9:58 AM