Orthodox believers are going to have to defend particular doctrines and particular biblical [sic] teachings. They’re going to have to defend the idea of a personal God, and explain why specific theologies are true guides for behavior day to day. ~David Brooks

As opposed to what such believers have been doing for at least the last two thousand years?  It seems to me that some large part of Christian intellectual history has been the story of how theologians, monks and bishops have defended “particular doctrines and particular biblical teachings.”  The first eight centuries of Christianity are filled with episode after episode of this, as are the twelve centuries after that.  Against philosophers who posited an “unmoved Mover” or some similarly abstract deity, they have defended the idea of a personal God, and against one another they have made arguments for why “specific theologies are true guides for behavior day to day.”  It’s called moral theology, and people have been engaged in it for centuries.  C.S. Lewis combated some of the same materialist claptrap Brooks is talking about over half a century ago, and noted the absurdity of human beings claiming to know that the beliefs of other human beings were determined by material conditions (and that they were therefore irrelevant or invalid), when the logic of their own view would necessarily mean that the materialists’ views were likewise determined and no more true than anyone else’s.  Revealed religion has survived Bacon, Spinoza, Voltaire, Marx and Dawkins; I don’t think neuroscience is going to shake Biblical teachings or Christian (or any other kind of) orthodoxy significantly more than any of these.

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