Tuesday, March 13, 2007

II'd Pay Double the Price to Read THIS

Although Claw Man beat me to the John C. Wright interview and the funny quote (so, I dawdled reading the Sci-Fi Weekly stuff in the last few weeks and missed it), it bears requoting:
Has your writing altered fundamentally in spirit since your conversion?

Wright: Well, my next book is titled Crusaders of Aslan Slay the Vile Heretics of Mars, which is an uplifting children's fantasy story about a magic lion ripping to shreds Semi-Arians, Gnostics and Albigensians. On Mars. The sequel will be called A Handmaid's Tale of Mars, in which a benevolent all-powerful theocracy, by strictly enforcing the biblical notions of sacred matrimony and sacred virginity, uplifts the dignity of women. On Mars. And then Matrix of Mars, where a Chosen One from Zion will die and return from the dead, fulfilling the Prophecy and overthrowing the Diabolical Architect of Deception. On Mars. Oh, and Left Behind on Mars, where Michael Valentine Spith, the schismatic founder of a heretical antichurch, turns out to be the Beast from Revelations. But aside from that, no, no obvious Christian influences on my writing. None.

Relax, just kidding! These books take place on Venus, not Mars.

::::loud Mir guffaws fill the air:::

(Read the whole interview, cause he also has a hilarious bit on where teenagers come from. And I even snarfed at the line about pupils and Colin--which will mean nothing to you if you've not been reading the Chaos books.)

And beyond the cool faux fictional wackiness I'd pay double moolah to read, I loved this more serious section, when John reponds to a question about his conversion from zealous atheism to committed Christian:

I reached a point in my life where on all divisive questions of morals and manners, I agreed with no one other than my hated enemies, the Christians. I knew in my cool atheist heart they must be wrong in theory; I could not explain how they were correct in practice.

I began to read history. The modernists are right to fear it. Once a man knows the context and origins of the ideas of modern times, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain faith in them. It becomes impossible to condemn Western civilization for shortcomings that fall short only of ideals unique to Western civilization. It becomes impossible not to notice Western civilization is nothing other than Christendom.

The conclusion pressed on me was that modern thought is a parasite on Christianity, and has no intellectual life outside her. The basic motif of the modern intellectual, one endlessly repeated, is of a man sawing off the branch on which he sits. The moderns delight in assertions that, if taken seriously, would disprove the axiom used to make the assertion.

The profoundly unserious nature of modern thought astonished me, and still does. I stump my secular friends by asking them to explain to me why cannibalism is wrong. Their humanist doctrines are insufficient to give a reason for humane humanity.

History told me that everything I admired about the noble and great-souled pagans still survived in Christianity: Aristotle was still alive in Aquinas, and nowhere else. The cool rationality of Athens had been preserved by Rome. Everything in paganism from which the civilized mind recoils, as slavery, infanticide, polygamy, sodomy, had been defeated by Christianity, and made a recurrence only when and where Christianity retreats.

I reached a point in my studies of history where I was forced to grit my teeth and conclude that the progress and enlightenment of Europe was due to Christianity, not despite it; and that when Europe departed from Christian roots, barbarism and darkness unique to the ideologies of the modern age descended. The crowning achievement of the rejection of Christian norms in modern times was communism: Its crowning achievement was death in such large numbers that only astronomers can grasp them.

I knew the Christians were evil in theory; I could not explain how so much unique good came from them.

Greatly daring, I attempted an experiment in prayer, addressing a Supreme Being I knew with deep certainty did not and could not exist. My prayer was quickly and awfully answered.

A miracle occurred. I suffered a supernatural experience and found all the foundations of my carefully examined and rigidly logical philosophy swept away as if by a tidal wave of blazing and supernal light. A great and powerful spirit visited me.

The whole thing was as simple and astonishing, as easy to explain and as hard to explain, as falling in love.

I am one of those rare creatures whose belief in the supernatural is due to empirical considerations. My mysticism is entirely scientific. Alas, the second step in the experiment, when the miracle occurs, cannot be reproduced before the eyes of skeptics.

Worse yet, the experiment was like toying with radium: I was mutated and changed by the exposure.

Being still a creature of pure logic, logic requires me to conclude either that I am mad as a March Hare or that my memory and perceptions were veridical.

There is insufficient evidence for the first theory, and Occam's razor cuts against it: Assuming everything was actually coincidence or an act of the subconscious mind, would be merely to assume that these things, coincidences and the subconscious, act with more power and foresight than empiricism can confirm. It is what Karl Popper called a non-disprovable assumption. Not science: an article of faith.

I am left with the second explanation, a simpler one, postulating fewer entities: I saw whom I saw and He is that He is. My integrity as a philosopher, not to mention my pride as a man, will not allow me the evasion of a return to my former beliefs, much as I might respect them. The world is far odder than I would have believed. The oddest thing of all is joy.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Okay, that is a funny quote.