Thursday, September 11, 2003

A good question

Etienne Gilson asks "how it was that so many cultivated men, versed in the systems of antiquity, could suddenly make up their minds to become Christians." (The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy)

It is a historical fact that it happened. If you read the Fathers of the Church you will find them without exception to be the flower of the ancient world, sophisticated, intelligent, and, wonder of wonders, completely soaked in the Christian faith.

Why doesn't it happen now? I think that there has been a fundamental shift: in ancient times, philosophy was still the love of wisdom. One might not, like Socrates, claim to have wisdom, but one's life was devoted to finding it. There was a constant orientation to truth, an orientation that only naturally led to the philosopher joyfully discovering The Truth who is Christ.

Modern philosophy, on the other hand, is not really philosophy. It is certainly not the love of wisdom, since philosophy since Nietzsche teaches that there is no wisdom apart from that created by man himself. Whatever most modern philosophers are doing, it isn't searching for truth.

One who is searching for truth will recognize Truth. One who is deconstructing the genderization of post-millenial sexual politics in the Symposium isn't likely to recognize the Truth.

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