On the D-word

My Chief Texas Correspondent supplies this morning’s reading, which he found at City Journal (here). Very well put, by this Magnetic gentleman. I was getting at the same point in the style of my Saturday effusion (“An argument against arguing”) and will be returning to it. As ever, after posting that piece, I sat back to receive various mealy-mouthed comments from readers who say, “You will attract more flies with honey than with vinegar!” To which my boilerplate response is now, “I’m not trying to attract flies.” (And when I am, I will use flypaper.)

The part of Christian teaching that is most obscure to contemporary Christians and pseudos is the frequent reference in the Gospels to Demons, and Demonic inhabitation. Christ is Himself the source of this curiously unmodern “point of view.” Then Paul carries it the further nine yards. If you haven’t noticed this, you weren’t reading carefully enough. (Or maybe you haven’t read it at all?)

There is Devilry in this world, as most will admit at least in moments when it touches them, to their harm, and they ask some stupid question such as, “Why, Santa, why?” But in the moments that are more numerous, the idea of The Devil becomes a symbol, a parable, a narreme in the narratology, a simile, a meme, an “idea” — something to be taken not too literally for fear we will ourselves be taken as fanatics. The Resurrection is likewise not taken as fact, rather as some poetical way in which the Apostles and their chums expressed their “feelings.”

Ditto, finally, the rest of Catholic doctrine.

Modern biblical scholarship is full of this tosh, from the vaguely Christian, but squeamish. It would be convenient for them if Christ had taught more like a college perfesser, and been fastidious in his choice of words — instead of putting everything on the line, as if he were the Son of God, or something.

There are Demons, we must fight the Demons, starting of course with the Demons in us. We are up against Dark, not up against “misunderstandings.” The Devil of course thrives on stupidity — which is what makes Democracy so attractive to him — but his intentions are not merely stupid. He is actually trying to Destroy us. Without an active and vivid conception of evil (founded in opposition!) we become his playthings: agents and participants in our own Destruction.

Christ did not preach cornmeal.

We have “well-meaning” intellectuals, of course, who are genuinely embarrassed by such candour. Their attitude is, “Please, dear, put on some clothes.” (You can’t argue with prudes, either.) For words either mean what they say — even in the Bible — or they mean nothing.

You cannot argue with people who do not accept meaning. All you can do is reiterate, proclaim: “This is this and that is that.” And should that prove unacceptable, then, “Get thee behind me.”