The Reasonable Investigation of the Pragmatism and Sophistication I Lack
February 14, 2014 28 Comments
The other day I wrote,
“This is a long conversation that I’m not terribly interested in having right now. Suffice it to say that a clear reading of the Bible is more useful, shorter, and deeper than some ancient nerd’s meandering attempt to justify the living Christ to dead Greeks.”
This terribly offended Novaseeker’s sensibilities, and he went around to at least three blogs of which I am aware, and made sure the people he respects knew what scurrilous things I had said about Aquinas. Fearing that the implications of my sin might be too subtle for gentlefolk, he made plain for them that I am “a buffoon”, “anti-intellectual”, and to be ignored post-haste before too much damage is done.
People did not imagine Thomas Aquinas was a nerd? I don’t think there is anything controversial about that characterization. Even if it’s wrong, surely it is well within the bounds of imagination; something on the scale of mistaking a New Zealand accent for Australian. That sort of error might be ruffling to a Kiwi, but only because he’s sentimental about New Zealand–as a Kiwi ought to be. However; I think a nerd chauvinism is counter-productive to the cause.
I propose that: If any philosophy or practice has attracting women as a goal, part of that philosophy or practice ought to be avoiding sentimentality for nerdiness; whether or not nerdiness itself can, should, or will be avoided.
Because on the rest of the statement there can be no disagreement if we are Christians and we believe the Bible to be true. The Bible is the foundation; not Aristotle. We do not believe the Bible because it agrees with Aristotle. Aquinas’s intent was not to supplant the Bible, but to expand out from it. In the same way, it’s better for everyone to read the Bible than to simply accept my interpretation and move on. I am going to miss things; things that are in and under and around and brought to the very text I might be talking about at the moment.
The applicability of Aristotle’s methods of reasoning may be corroborating evidence that is useful for evangelizing lovers of Greek philosophy, but to the great mass of us it is not terribly useful. The guy who runs a dry cleaner simply has very little use for Aquinas; to say nothing of the dry cleaner’s wife, or the shopboy that works for him. That’s who I write to: The Christian Everyman. It takes no imagination for me to believe Pope Francis would agree with me.
This, though, is my favorite of Novaseeker’s decade of derision:
And now our Aquinas bashing moron Cane is attacking me (he’s right, I always saw him as a dangerous moron, but only recently has he opened the kimono fully on his moron nature). Anti-reason, Anti-Greek, Anti-Eros, Anti-Aquinas — I mean, anti anything intellectual other than “art which involves no system”, which of course is not how actual writers and artists proceed — they all have a system. Anyway, beware this crackpot as well. He is an emblem of what is wrong, and Zippy’s easy association with such a crackpot is condemnation in itself.
By “attacking”, you can see he means, “Cane understood my string of criticisms against him”; showing once again an oversensitivity to utterly uncontroversial remarks.
I propose that: If any philosophy or practice has confidence as a goal, part of that philosophy or practice ought to be avoiding knicker-twist for mundane expressions of understanding; lest its adherents be undone by “thank you”, or “I see what you mean.”
Most of the rest of the comment begins understandably enough: He implies that he does not agree with me about several things. But note the italicized portion that not directly about me. “Zippy’s easy association with such a crackpot is condemnation in itself.”
Has it not been maintained and endlessly repeated by Novaseeker that the reasoning of “guilty by association” is no way for Zippy, myself, or anyone else to judge the truth or utility of a concept; such guilty associations being precisely the foundation of my cautions against pagan philosophies and religions? Yet is it not also the case that it is associated guilt which Novaseeker himself is (reasonably!) wielding against the idea of guilt by association?
That’s the problem with faith in the reason of man. Men aren’t reasonable, and even when they are, man’s reasoning can be broken upon itself.
In that same thread, Nick B. Steves wonders:
“I cannot imagine Zippy being too happy about Aquinas bashing?”
Zippy can answer for himself about his emotional state, but the important thing to remember is this: Who cares? What Zippy finds noteworthy about me is that we end up in the same vicinity of truth. Do you know who else is likely to end up in our vicinity? Someone like Roissy or Roosh, because they are willing to sacrifice everything to get to the truth. Each Dido utterly committed to their first love.
Novaseeker, I think, will not; at least not now. He is pragmatic and sophisticated, and those love ease and comfort above all, because–by definition–pragmatic and sophisticated people aren’t looking for the truth, but tools for easy living. That goes for most of the denizens of the Men’s Sphere.
I got nothing for those people. I truly don’t. This is fundamentally different than the poor man who needs some help getting by. The man waylaid in the road doesn’t need tools; he needs a friend who will pick him up, tend his wounds, and pay his way. For him I have a few meager answers that I will share along my way.
Finally, a word to Novaseeker on being moderated by Zippy: Hey man, I been there.
 I did not say one cannot see truths in Athens. I said it is infinitely better to know Jerusalem. So much so that by comparison Athens is practically irrelevant, and very often misleading; that one cannot properly even see Athens until one has been to Jerusalem.
It remains that there is only one King, one Truth, with power over life and death Who has gone before us.