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 Post subject: Leitmotifs of religious apologetics
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:21 pm 
Stake High Council

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In a thread in the Terrestrial Forum, I recently referred to E.B. Pusey's Daniel the Prophet as an example of a mainstream conservative Christian work of apologetics which speaks in the same rhetorical key as the publications of the FARMS boys (although it is much better written, being crafted in florid Victorian prose). Pusey was a well known Anglican cleric who wrote the book to defend the untenable thesis that the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible was written in the Exilic period.

In order to illustrate my point, I'm going to post the first couple of pages of the book. In this post, I'm going to past a clean copy of the text. In my next post, I'm going to show how the themes are eerily similar to those of Elders Peterson, Midgley, et al.

The context was that a group of liberal Anglicans had recently published a controversial work entitled Essays and Reviews.

The following lectures were planned, as my contribution against that tide of scepticism, which the publication of the "Essays and Reviews" let loose upon the young and uninstructed. Not that those Essays contained anything formidable in themselves. Human inventiveness in things spiritual or unspiritual is very limited. It would be difficult probably to invent a new heresy. Objectors of old were as acute or more acute than those now; so that the ground was well-nigh exhausted. The unbelieving school of Geologians had done their worst. Chronology had been pressed to the utmost long ago. The differences of human form and of language lay on the surface. The Jews had tried what pseudo-criticism could do against the prophecies as to our Lord and His Church. German rationalism had been deterred from no theory in regard to Holy Scripture, either by its untenableness or its irreverence. The Essays contained nothing to which the older of us had not been inured for some forty years. Their writers asserted little distinctly, attempted to prove less, but threw doubts on everything. They took for granted that the ancient faith had been overthrown; and their Essays were mostly a long trumpet-note of victories, won (they assumed,) without any cost to them over the faith in Germany.

They ignored the fact, that every deeper tendency of thought or each more solid learning had, at least, done away with something shallow, something more adverse to faith. They practically ignored all criticism which was not subservient to unbelief. Yet the Essayists, Clergymen (with one exception), staked their characters, although not their positions, on the issue, that the old faith was no longer tenable; that it was dead and buried and the stone on the grave's mouth fast sealed. Their teaching was said to be "bold." Too "bold" alas! it was towards Almighty God; but, from whatever cause, its authors shrank, for the most part, from stating explicitly as their own, the unbelief which they suggested to others.


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 Post subject: Re: Leitmotifs of religious apologetics
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:31 pm 
Stake High Council

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The following lectures were planned, as my contribution against that tide of scepticism, which the publication of the "Essays and Reviews" let loose upon the young and uninstructed. I am protecting the faith of the simple "uninstructed", like the Relief Society sister in Parowan, from the so-called intellectuals. Not that those Essays contained anything formidable in themselves. No, because we can assume that there is no substance in criticism of the church. Human inventiveness in things spiritual or unspiritual is very limited. It would be difficult probably to invent a new heresy. Objectors of old were as acute or more acute than those now; so that the ground was well-nigh exhausted. All the criticisms of the church are old and have been answered long ago. The unbelieving school of Geologians had done their worst. Those damn Geologists, with their disbelief in Noah's flood. Chronology had been pressed to the utmost long ago. The differences of human form and of language lay on the surface. The Jews who have few enough friends in the world! had tried what pseudo-criticism could do against the prophecies as to our Lord and His Church. German rationalism had been deterred from no theory in regard to Holy Scripture, either by its untenableness or its irreverence. The Essays contained nothing to which the older of us had not been inured for some forty years. I am thinking of writing "E.B. Pusey's Adventures in Anti-Anglican Zombie Hell". Their writers asserted little distinctly, attempted to prove less, but threw doubts on everything. These damned wolves in sheep's clothing, they hide their unbelief behind a façade of questioning and doubt. They took for granted that the ancient faith had been overthrown; and their Essays were mostly a long trumpet-note of victories, won (they assumed,) without any cost to them over the faith in Germany. Typical intellectual élites, sneering at us with their fancy German scholarship.

They ignored the fact, that every deeper tendency of thought or each more solid learning had, at least, done away with something shallow, something more adverse to faith. They practically ignored all criticism which was not subservient to unbelief. If only they had been familiar with the latest apologetic scholarship. Yet the Essayists, Clergymen (with one exception), staked their characters, although not their positions That's right, their integrity is compromised by money. They are "career anti-Christians", on the issue, that the old faith was no longer tenable; that it was dead and buried and the stone on the grave's mouth fast sealed. Their teaching was said to be "bold." Too "bold" alas! it was towards Almighty God; but, from whatever cause, its authors shrank, for the most part, from stating explicitly as their own, the unbelief which they suggested to others. Korihor is back, and he's got a printing press.


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 Post subject: Re: Leitmotifs of religious apologetics
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:51 pm 
Hermit
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Very nice. There's definitely a timeless sneer doing the heavy lifting in these defenses. Nibley had this down. As a believer, his easy dismissal of all things secular was a boon to faith. For whatever reason, your insertion "All the criticisms of the Church are old" reminds me of Nibley poking fun at evolution, going back to some old cave drawings which presumably demonstrated the idea man evolved from monkey has literally been around forever. Impressive to the uninstructed.

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 Post subject: Re: Leitmotifs of religious apologetics
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:41 am 
2nd Counselor
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Sneering isn't what you do if you want to help people see the truth. A doctor with an effective treatment doesn't waste time sneering at that pathetic little lump that isn't even malignant. She just delivers the cure.

When someone instead devotes introductory paragraphs to sneering at their opponents, this says to me that it is more important to them to assert their own superiority than to get to the point of explaining exactly where their opponents are wrong. It's the vanity behind the sneering that gives apologetics a bad name.


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 Post subject: Re: Leitmotifs of religious apologetics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:07 am 
God
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Very interesting Johannes. The parallels in usage and assumptions are indeed obvious.

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