Research has a minor place in the scheme of things because research is dependent on an objective researcher and an objective examiner of the research. But man is not an objective creature. He does not use his reason to determine what is true; he uses his reason to defend that which he wants to be true. Is there then no way out of the rationalist dilemma? Yes, there is:
“You can prove anything with figures; and reason can lead you anywhere; but if you’ve got a real strong feeling about something, deep-seated and unshakable, it is bound to be right.”
— P. C. Wren in Bubble Reputation (Cited at CWNY). H/T to H.Mucklewrath.
While my shift in attitude over the years wont be of much interest to my readers, I believe I’ve struck upon a few conclusions that might be of overall interest:
I spent the entirety of my intellectual development (up to a few years ago) assuming without thought, the attitude of an apologist. “Apologists”, so I thought, were the knights of the new democratic world order, where men attacked with ideals instead of force of arms. I envisioned Sunday School classrooms like rural aristocratic courtyards, where young squires were trained in the art of rhetorical warfare, and upon graduation, were set loose upon a hoard of slobbering Satanists.
That the Sunday Schools of America were woefully inept for even this much training, was shelved and unconsidered. And that the slobbering Satanists had vastly superior training grounds only intensified the glory of the intellectual contest. We’d beat them despite their scientific institutions – the way Rocky beat the Russian; with guts and passion.
I got so good at this sort of rhetorical combat, atheists began avoiding the arguments all together. But here-in I discovered a truth – one that the antique-Conservatives had known all along: ideals *never* sway passion. Rather, the passions sway the ideals. As the heart, so the mouth speaketh…
Stalwart Reformed Kinists disagree here. This point runs counter to their preferred dogmatics, which claim a man’s intellect guides his heart (or that the two are bound in such a way that the intellect and heart are ostensibly united, but that the intellect wins out in practice). To say otherwise would damage the strictly rational apologetic these men were so passionate about.
I was passionate about it as well and tried to reconcile the antique-Conservative “heart” with the Reformed intellect:
The distinction between “heart” and “mind” is sometimes construed (in the philosophical literature) as a distinction between dispositions and intentional states.
I’m convinced that if we construe what is normally meant by “heart” (in western literature, as well as in certain Biblical texts) as an emotional disposition, then we can easily appropriate the antique-Conservative material into a Reformed framework.
Our emotional dispositions are intimately involved in the belief-forming process. For instance, consider Quines famous illustration. We have three beliefs:
1. Apollo is a god.
2. Gods are immortal.
3. We see Apollo die on the battlefield.
Now these three, at face value, are inconsistent. We must give up one of these beliefs, or all three.
Our emotional state determines which of the three propositions we are more devoted to maintaining. So, for instance, if we’re emotionally attached to 1, we might reject 2 (maybe gods aren’t immortal after all?) or we might reject 3 (maybe an evil witch hexed us on the battlefield and only made it appear as if Apollo died?). Or we might be more emotionally attached to 2, and reject 1 or 3 (or both). Or, we might be so emotionally attached to the reliability of our senses that we keep 3, but reject 1 or 2 (or both).
At this point, the only way we can save “reason” from the shifting “arrow of modus tollens”, is by suggesting that there is a “correct” emotional state.
Only the Christian worldview can provide this – God has created us to have certain emotional dispositions towards all the states of affairs we encounter, and only if we maintain this “regenerated” emotional state (ie: only if we have a regenerated heart) can we reason to the correct conclusions.
Poetically, we might refer to this as “thinking with a Christian heart” or some such.
Whatever the merits of this view (if any), I’m convinced that no apologetic will ever sway the heart of the zealous Satanist. At best, apologetics simply annoy the Satanist and force him to jump through a few rhetorical hoops to rationalize his evil business; but his evil business will continue…and business (for the Satanists) is booming.
“Activism” is apologetics writ large.
I see it as prancing around with so many signs and flags, in a religious ceremony aimed at petitioning a minor deity of Satania – namely: “the people”.
“Please, dear people, hear our petitions and act accordingly!”
And it’s no mistake all the “conservative” activists are picking up the ways, means, and habits of all the vile degenerates who’ve pioneered “activist” strategies. They’re copying the strategies because they’ve copied the theory – that is: they believe the nature of man is plastic and able, with enough rational engineering, to be molded into the desired form.
This is in stark contrast with the antique-conservative view. STARK STARK STARK contrast!
The “conservative” activist needs to be active on his farm or homestead, or in his local area of influence, actively working away at children and community stability. The “conservative” activist, to save himself, must either flee the offending Satanic encroachments, resist them when possible, or suffer under them … but the conservative can’t play the liberal’s game of trying to shape and mold his neighbors.
This is an evil desire and, while it seems temporarily successful for the Satanists, can’t yield anything other than Satanic fruit for the would-be conservative activists.
…or so it seems to me…