Everything bad that happens to me from this point on, I lay at the feet of the author of “Cambria Will Not Yield”. All the churches I’ll be rejected from and all the polite societies which will give me a cold shoulder (and all the women who ask me what century I’m from) – it’s all because of Mr. Cambria.
I say this tongue-in-cheek of course. So much the worse for the snooty society-types if they reject a charming fellow like me.
I’ve had an awakening (six years in the making). A flurry of old-European sparks intertwined with the tiny spark inside of me (an ember of the old Europe I was born with), and now there’s smoke coming out of my overly-sized ears. Whatever bad comes from it is surpassed by the euphoria of thinking with a whole heart.
I’ll say it scientifically for my modernist readers: Mr. Cambria was the catalyst for a “meiosis” – notice an emphasis on the “me” sound. Like a human cell, I’ve been cleaved; my overly-intellectual faith, vying with heart-felt religious sentiment, has finally caused a formal split.
I’ve moved all my “philosophy” and presuppositional apologetics to another blog. See “Van Tillian Fire” (for what it’s worth). However much passion I’ve put into this intellectual game (because, in the end, that’s all philosophy is, even the Christian sort), has left me in the exact state Mr. Cambria predicted.
When given too prominent a place, such over-intellectualizing of Christianity can send the potential convert into a downward spiral, ending in the Slough of Despair. Source.
While not a potential convert (I was a zealous ideologue), this still applied. I was the master of the slough, and visited it regularly. Combined with a post-military depression, this was all the more devastating. The lower I sunk, the more diligently I’d study. I’d read the old Puritans or tomes of systematic theology. And while I could put an intellectual whopping on Atheists, my studies seemed to drive me further and further from the narrow path of Europe.
Much of this was due to my infatuation with Calvinist theology. I’m neutral about it now; could I choose, I’d reject it. But I’m convinced that if we’re going to play the “intellectualizing game”, we’ve got to do so as Calvinists. Still – I’ve met too many despicable Calvinists.
They’re not even cowards (most of them), because they don’t know what it means to be courageous. Old European ideals of manliness are foreign to these zealots, who spit on non-theological literature. (Even those who give lip-service to writings of C.S. Lewis or Walter Scott, for example, do so with an eye towards Reformed deconstruction. Like the Freudians who read sick psychoanalysis into Hamlet, these Calvinists look for nothing but predestination or some other such doctrine in the great works.)
This plays over into their apologetics and, as popularly conceived, Van Tillian presuppositionalism might rightly be called a hyper-rationalist defense of a systematic set of Christian propositions.
I’ll pause here to add what, as far as I know, is an original observation (although, I’m sure that, as I grow in my studies, I’ll find it in any literature worthy of the name). Again, I’ll cite this in quasi-scientific terms:
There’s a hierarchy of sorts in the sciences.
We begin on the smallest level with theoretical physics. Scientists speculate about quarks and sub-atomic particles. These make up the protons and neutrons in atoms.
From here, we go on to investigate how these atoms relate to each other and how molecules interact to form elements and compounds. This, we call chemistry.
Of course, chemical reactions are important in understanding how cells operate, and so from Chemistry, we get the study of biology, which itself is broken into microbiology and all other sorts (marine biology, etc.)
From there we get to the entire human organism, the actions of which, due to human freedom, are speculated about by so-called “soft-sciences” like sociology and psychology.
This is where most modernists (and materialists) stop. The Calvinists however, move a step beyond and study God with their “theology”, which, they’ll have you know, is the “queen of the sciences”.
I’d like to suggest there’s another, even “higher” way of viewing the world, (the monarch who rules the Queen). It’s this the poets study. It’s only in literature we get at the true understanding of the world. That is to say: God sees the world poetically – His concerns are literary concerns, and His “worldview” is that of a master author. (And to take a controversial step further: it’s only the old-Europeans who’ve seen the world this way – they alone have read God’s story).
To give a practical example:
The materialists may think of a chair as a series of sub-atomic particles, interacting together in complex relationships. This leads their philosophers to doubt the existence of chairs all together (hence: we have entire schools of philosophy devoted to metaphysical anti-realism). The theologians, always quick to give ground to the atheists, usually agree.
It’s the poet who says: …but that’s my dad’s favorite chair and I wouldn’t have it thrown away for anything. Every hitch in its seam, every lost penny in its crevice, is worth one hundred times the value of its stuffing.
Here’s where Mr. Cambria is right to call for a “Fairy Tale” apologetics:
The false assumption of the Catholic apologist is that reason alone stands unpolluted by original sin. This is false. Our reasoning faculty is not less tainted than our intuitive or our imaginative faculties. It is by incorporating all our faculties into a vision that we can overcome the taint of original sin enough to say that now we at least “see through a glass darkly.”
The new apologetics then must be like the old apologetics, showing us a vision of the true God through the use of parable, story, and the image of the hero.
And why not reach for people’s hearts instead of their fallen minds? If the Calvinists are right in their theology, this is what they ought to be doing anyway. (Much more can be said about this, but I’d be going against the thrust of this post to do so, at least, in a direct “didactic” way).
For years now, (ever since failing to become the heroic Navy SEAL commando I dreamed of as a kid), I’ve been moping through life, cynical about my place on the American plantation and depressed about ever fitting in.
But the other day, while buying a pair of pants, the lady at the register asked me what I did for a living…and without thinking (and without care for being honest), I told her I was an author. She beamed at me and wondered if she might have heard of anything I’d written. “Well, not yet” I told her, “…but keep your eyes peeled for me.”
It felt right.
And why not?
I know I’m not as intelligent as C.S. Lewis (and I’m certainly not as passionate as him about writing stories), and I know I’ll never attain the power of Mr. Cambria’s writing. And while I have a lot of “polishing” to do when it comes to style, overuse of exclamation points, and a sophomoric habit of incorrectly using adjectives, I hope that I, at least, can be a better author than most of what I find in the fiction section of Barnes & Noble.
And put simply – it’s this sort of apologetics I’ve always been inclined to anyway. Hopefully my short stint with puritanism hasn’t damaged me beyond where I might be of some use to the Kingdom.
And so I’m leaving the era of Pre-Cambrian apologetics and will henceforth wade into a world of Fairy Tales. And you, dear readers, will (I hope), travel along with me.