21 September 2008

Tony Blair at Yale

The former prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, is now a Roman Catholic.

That's old news? Well, maybe. But here's something a bit newer: he's also now a lecturer on religion at Yale University.

It's a part time gig. He'll deliver five lectures a year for three years, in return for a nominal fee and a donation to his foundation.

In his honor, then, here's a quotation from The Varieties of Religious Experience, on the appeal of the Church of Rome.

"To intellectual Catholics many of the antiquated beliefs and practices to which the Church gives countenance are, if taken literally, as childish as they are to Protestants. But they are childish in the pleasing sense of 'child-like,' -- innocent and amiable, and worthy to be smiled on in consideration of the undeveloped condition of the dear people's intellects. To the Protestant, on the contrary, they are childish in the sense of being idiotic falsehoods. He must stamp out their delivate and lovable redundancy, leaving the Catholic to shudder at his literalness."

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.