Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Noah Millman Continues to be a Hack

And I, like an Alzheimer's patient, continue to click on his articles and them skim them (no link for you, hack). I need to stop, really. I still cannot fathom why he (or, for that matter, Andrew Sullivan) are considered "conservatives." Here he is rambling on about the "weirdness" of Religion (and especially Christianity, with a specific example taken from Catholicism, despite that he is arguing again Dreher, an Eastern Orthodox Christian):
 It’s as if you explained your love for your wife in terms of evolutionary psychology; an explanation not only avoids addressing your love for her, a specific individual, it suggests that you don’t, in fact, love her, a specific individual. 
But Christianity takes the weirdness to a whole ‘nother level.... 
Dreher snarks about journalists being ignorant of the miracle of transubstantiation, but think for a moment about that miracle, and what is being asked of believers in affirming its truth. The wine and bread are not merely taken “in remembrance” of Jesus; they are supposed to literally turn into the blood and body of the man who was also God, and you are supposed to affirm that this has happened against all the evidence of one’s senses that nothing has happened at all. Isn’t the most sane response to the fact that Christians have slaughtered each other over whether or not wine was really blood and bread was really flesh some version of Brobdingnagian incredulity?... 
I’m also creeped out by people who have, as they say, drunk the Kool-aid, who affirm absurdities as a matter of “faith” and have willfully abandoned any consciousness of the absurdity of what they are affirming.

First of all, Rod Dreher is Eastern Orthodox, and thus belongs to a Church that doesn't explicitly have the concept of transubstantiation. That doctrinal development belong to the Latin West, the Catholic Church, post-schism (or perhaps I should say, the term and the exact definition came about in the west predominantly after the schism). Sure, the idea it captures is generally held by Dreher and other Orthodox, because they also believe that in communion, the bread and wine transform into the body and blood of Christ (literally). The Eastern Orthodox never really developed the philosophy behind how, exactly, this transformation comes about, but rather leave it at the level of a mystery.

Dreher uses the idea as an illustration of journalistic ignorance, and then Millman pounces on it as a way of attacking Dreher's Christianity, as if every sect explicitly accepts transubstantiation, thereby basically proving Dreher's point. If Millman's entire point is that the mysterious nature of transubstantiation is hard to understand, then fine, that is the point of a mystery, but the fact that the Christian faith has these mysteries (Luther's objection to this particular mystery aside, since there are other mysteries like the doctrine of the Trinity which are accepted by all Christians) would make the religion a bit more credible as something other than a mere human invention.

More broadly, it seems to me that the American Conservative website is more intent on combating Republicans (and especially those awful Tea-Partiers) and anything which seems a vestige of "Republican culture" than conserving anything. Religion is, apparently, one of those somethings, but so is the argument over the the debt limit, which is supposedly being driven by the Tea Party (who knew that Boehner was a member of the Tea party?). I'm surprised that they didn't retroactively claim justice Scalia as a Tea Party member in their denunciation of him (ironically written by a man named McCarthy). Their resistance to supposed ideology is admirable, but unfortunately even resistance to ideology can itself become ideological, and the American Conservative too often falls into this ideology-against-movements.

Meanwhile, here's a clue for the clueless regarding modern politics: if you are shilling for the Democratic party, you are not a conservative. Doubly true, if you are shelling for them as a regular thing, both for their cnadidates/politicians and their proposals. There is no "conservative defense of Obamacare," and no "conservative argument for raising the debt ceiling indefinitely."

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