St. Stephen's Musings

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:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Thursday, August 14, 2003 ::

A Candidate for G.K. Chesterton�s �Maniac of the Year� Award

Aaron is asking for comments and possible rebuttals to this complicated (as opposed to complex) defense of Iconoclasm.

James is also crafting a rebuttal and is asking for a little pan-Orthodox involvement.

Since some of my comments were not well received the last time I tried to offer a direct rebuttal of a Protestant essay, I will refrain from offering any systematic counter-points this time around. Others will fill in the gaps much better than I anyway.

After quickly reading the essay in question, and wondering how someone so obviously intelligent could write something so stunningly incoherent, I found the recent comments made by Touchstone editor S.M. Hutchins that much more profound.

Concerning a particularly hostile �letter to the editor,� Hutchinson muses, �I have noticed this morbid tendency in a number of very gifted people. One of the signs of superior intelligence is the ability to discern connections. But if this aptitude is not ruled by a strong respect for the necessity of credible evidence and a well-developed sense of proportion, logical associations quickly become regarded as existential--the smoke of speculation materializes into a genie of imagined �fact� that soon has the summoner firmly in its grip. This is particularly true, the associations becoming putatively "obvious," when good evidence is almost entirely lacking, for then one may construct whatever "history" one wishes, however bizarre or improbable in reality, "between the dots."

This reminded me of how G.K. Chesterton once noted the problem with the insane isn�t that they lack the ability to think logically�the problem is they *only* think logically. Likewise, the problem with the author�s Iconoclasm and particularly the way in which he defends it, is that it is (like all heresies) just plain boring! It lacks the grandeur, the mystery, the holism of the Orthodox vision.

If one is going to attempt a defense of an ancient heresy, the least one could do for the reader is dress it up a bit, try a new angle, use your imagination, quote different texts than the ones we�ve already explained �..something�. anything to make it worth reading!

Update: The blog by Hutchinson is now off the main page of Mere Comments for reasons I can't determine. Perhaps I hallucinated the whole post!

:: Karl :: 11:27:00 PM [Link] ::

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