Debunking the Myth That Today’s Communion in the Hand Revives an Ancient Custom, by Peter KwasniewskiJanuary 24, 2020
Rome Will Have to Choose, by Shane SchaetzelJanuary 24, 2020
By John Zmirak, The Stream, January 23, 2020
John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism.
Amateurs at the art of persuasion (rhetoric) sagely tell us we must understand our opponents’ arguments. This is true, but only trivially. Yes, before you play chess you must learn how the pieces move. But learning the reasons people give for what they believe doesn’t take you very far.
That’s because most of the time, the beliefs come first, and the arguments later. The “logic” people offer, and the analogies they use, are typically things that they’ve clutched at, to decorate or disguise the actual reasons for their beliefs. The ornaments on a Christmas tree don’t tell you what species it is, much less where it grew and why.
Philosophers and Fishmongers Alike
The fact that beliefs come before arguments isn’t just true of the uneducated. In fact, it applies just as much to famous philosophers. The differences between (for instance) Karl Marx and C.S. Lewis don’t come so much from how they logically argue, as from the premises they chose. One took the ramp on the highway that said “reductionism.” The other turned right at “wonder.”
Michel Foucault knew as well as Fulton J. Sheen the difference between healthy, natural sexual behavior and sterile, self-destructive perversions. But Foucault decided that he preferred the latter. No theologians’ arguments were going to talk him out of being a homosexual masochist. ….