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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Swimming the Ohio

I had, myself, long noticed the sort of internal incoherency of much of the criticism of Protestantism by many Catholics (and some Orthodoxen) of which Wilson speaks.

Douglas Wilson: -- "The charge against the Protestants is that we build no civilizations, and when it is pointed out that we built a very great one, the response is that it is quite a wicked civilization, now that we mention it, full of characteristically Protestant sins. You don’t ever do this, and besides, you do it so badly that it blackens the sky above us.

In short, we are not being critiqued — which we, being sinners, could stand a lot more of — but are rather being steered, which we could stand a lot less of. We are being gamed. If we teach no church history, we are Gnostics. If we teach a distinctively Protestant approach to church history, we are bigots. It turns out that the only solution to these internal contradictions lies on the other side of the Tiber, or the Bosporus. No, no, I reply — it lies on this side of the Ohio. And if you never thought of the Ohio in religious terms, then maybe that’s your problem.


Anonymous said...

Love Douglas Wilson. You might appreciate this along the lines of incoherency from Chesterton, who interestingly enough was Catholic, but nevertheless, a great apologist in his daym IMO .

"For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women , and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting , where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines . In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything."

Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-17). Orthodoxy (pp. 33-34). . Kindle Edition.