Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"A More Clever Devil"?

Over at my Facebook page, where posts from this blog automatically appear as "Notes," my friend Lara took issue with my post from yesterday quoting Andrew Sullivan.

It was such a strong and thought-provoking comment I've decided to post it here:

"I really don't get your thing for Andrew Sullivan, Pav. Bad enough he's totally self-referential in his irritating illogic, why must his writing be so desperately boring in the bargain? Anyone who calls himself a "religious secularist" with a straight face can't be taken seriously for even a moment. On top of all that, he knows less about Catholic doctrine than I do about cold fusion (which is to say, nil). Just goes to show, Oxford plus Harvard plus a blog plus some name recognition demonstrably do not equal goodness, rightness, or intellectual rigor.

And where's your love for the last great Christian writer, Clive Staples Lewis, who perhaps had the likes of Mr. Sullivan in mind when he wrote "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil"?

The Eucharist is the only means by which new life is transmitted to us, and the Sacrament is the most holy object we encounter in this life. There is no substitute. But your Andrew Sullivan sees with eyes that make "dunes the sacraments, the water and air the incense, and the reeds the vestments, and the tides a remembrance of the change that persists." I laughed when i read this, then stopped when the seriousness of his mistake came into view.

He calls himself a Catholic, but I discern no evidence of it in his outpourings. All he wants are bells and smells, all the ritual and genuflection, without the nuisance of having to embody Christian precepts. It's evil, man. Just evil."


Concord Carpenter said...

Laura sounds angry... I like it

Anonymous said...

Not angry *really* :) - condescending and indignant would be more like it. My soapbox is turbo-charged and sometimes carries me away. A more economical version would read something like, "Faux Catholicism - because fantasy pop-culty religion is way more funner!"

ConcordPastor said...

Whether one agrees with Andrew Sullivan or not, his voice makes a considered and cogent argument from his own point of view. He's better versed in things theological and ecclesial than Lara may know. Of course, that doesn't mean he's right: one can be very wrong about things one knows. Perhaps, on occasion, Lara has had that experience herself - or not.

Fran said...

I refrained from commenting yesterday because I felt a bit angry - nothing personal Lara.

It is a challenge for me to want to dispatch all those who disagree with me. It is a very big church.

And the CP speaks words of wisdom for us all to ponder.

Thank you all for the provocative reading.

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