Pre-Cambrian Apologetics

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.

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15 Responses to Pre-Cambrian Apologetics

  1. Wonderfully said, Shotgun
    I really do appreciate the poetic view of the world & I get it entirely even if I do not express it properly at a given moment. I’ve been told by more than one gal that I have a poets heart because of how I had put into storybook form what some of the simplest encounters had arisen inside.
    – tkbk –

  2. I went to this one Anglican church whilst living in the Pac. N.W. where the rector, celebrating mass three weekdays in addition to his Sunday duties, would, on those weekdays, pick the saint from the calendar as a biographical homily or sermon. The stories were impressive and passionate, learning about martyrs, evangelism, Church histories and heresies. It’s probably the thing I miss most about that locale…

    A.J.P.

    • A lot of this post was inspired by the biography of C.S. Lewis I’m currently reading. Of course, the author felt the need to speculate about Lewis’ sexual habits, which I didn’t appreciate and could have done without … but otherwise, it’s fairly entertaining.

  3. Fr. John+ says:

    AJP, then convert. Pure and simple. No more ‘exclusivity’ becase you’d then be ‘in the club.’ The ONLY club worth being in, frankly….

    It’s clear that Shotgun is finding (as I did, 30 years ago) less and less (beyond a certain calvinist rigor of thought) to hold him to the ‘bare, ruined choirs’ of the PCA, OPC, ‘exclusive psalmody’ BS.

    I merely mentioned that I had ‘been there, done that’ – and put down a URL. Now, if (and it’s a big IF) there is to be any truly serious contenders for post-White, post-Christian America, it has to start with the conversion of these same whites to the ONE Faith that alone is true.

    The rest, let Shotgun determine for himself if he will or will not, follow. I merely pointed out this post, new this last week, by men of his own age/era, and who have given me hope for the future.

  4. I don’t think swapping one scheme for another is a good idea. And “Orthodoxy” regardless of how “western” the “western rite” may have been hundreds of years ago – will always be foreign to me.

    As for the “Avalonian” initiative, I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis said (and I’m not just citing this because I’ve recently read his biography)….

    “A man wont find an abiding strangeness on the moon unless he’s the sort who can find it in his own back garden.”

    They’re looking to Italians, the French, Russians, and anyone in Europe who exhibits the slightest pride in their identity – but they overlook the (substantial) identity movement here in the South – a people with a significant amount of regional (maybe even “ethnic” pride) already; the southern identity has, arguably, the largest infrastructure of advocacy groups as anyone in the United States. (No other white-identity-group or movement comes close).

    And while the Trad Youth guys have always been friends to Southern nationalists and supported Southern initiatives, I wonder why they’d choose to try and “start from scratch” as it were, *and* with appeal to a religion that is utterly foreign to the history most Americans? Instead of Orthodox “Avoloians”, why not Southern Baptist Southerners? (Southern Baptist ecclesiology has just as much potential to support ethnic nationalism as Orthodox ecclesiology does, even if the initial struggle would be all uphill and difficult).

    Nevertheless, the “Avolonian” initiative and the League of the South’s “Secede” initiative, seem similar in general thrust – even though I think the “Avolonian” is more well thought out and ideologically sound (on the other hand, the LoS initiative has more historical and popular precedent).

    I already have an identity. I’m a small town Southerner, which means an “Aristocrat of the Soul” with an agrarian bent and a hick accent. I don’t want to be an “Avolonian”.

  5. Matt Parrott says:

    I hesitate to even discuss the project here, for fear of stoking the inevitable concerns that I’m trying to hijack rather than be sincerely friendly with the kinist circles.

    “I wonder why they’d choose to try and “start from scratch” as it were, *and* with appeal to a religion that is utterly foreign to the history most Americans?”

    Well, first and foremost, we believe the religion is true.

    Institutionally, the Protestant denominations are designed wrong, borrowing too much from Enlightenment and contemporary theories on institutional organization. You claim that Southern Baptism is compatible with identity. I’m skeptical of that proposition itself, hand-waving its history of identity as largely an unprincipled exception that was eventually expunged from a worldview which is integrally egalitarian and individualistic. But setting that aside, its lack of apostolic hierarchy guarantees that the church will be directed from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down, democratically.

    And what’s democratic ultimately favors mercantile interests over priestly or martial ones.

  6. Swiss Kinist says:

    The only thing I have to say to those who promote either so-called “Orthodoxy” or any other brand of so-called Christianity is this:

    Show me the godly families in your circles. Show me a few Biblical families that are the fruit of your doctrines. Show me the communities that are glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, especially in the so-called “Orthodox” churches, there is no difference between those families and those of the world. The fruit is corrupt because the root is corrupt.

    • There’s no righteous community … our works are like filthy rags to Him.

      • Swiss Kinist says:

        That depends on your definition of the word “righteous”. Sure, there is none righteous, and the verse you quoted is true, however, when Christ comes and lives in you, you become righteous, not because of yourself, but because of Christ in you. The same applies for communities. Our “own works” are as filthy rags, but Christ’s works through us are righteous. Therefore a community that glorifies God in it’s actions is righteous. I personally know of a community about 1 1/2 south of me that is Christ honoring, with very godly families.

  7. You know what they say…

    …the grass is always greener…

  8. Anonentity says:

    Where is this community? I’m planning to move, and am interested in townships that feature such demographic characteristics.

  9. white1awake says:

    Reading this is like opening the best Christmas present of all. You’re gifted and have much to share so it’s only right you take on the proper title: author. I adore Cambria and think you well suited to ‘follow in his footsteps’-but I get that you feel unworthy of that thought perhaps as the man is simply amazing. However this entry makes clear you are too ;) Merry Christmas ole Shotgun…..and may 2015 bring great things our way…VIVA THE FAIRY TALES ! PS: Consider adding Podcasts please…..I’d love to be able to listen to Cambria-style gold.

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