Agreement with Alan Jacobs on this:

But the intellectual exploration of the Christian faith, the pursuit of understanding Scripture and the great traditions of Christian thought, has been immensely nourishing to my soul over the years. It is through study and reflection, as well as through certain modes of worship that have come to saturate my being, that I am able to draw nearer to God, or rather, to allow Him to draw nearer to me. (I am, after all, asked to love the Lord my God with all my mind as well as my heart and soul.)

There's a contradiction, or a tension, at the heart of a good amount of American Christian experience: neither intellect nor emotion is considered a fit guide for faith. The evangelical churches I sometimes frequent like to say that it's not sufficient to merely understand a point to be true, but one has to feel it in order for it to become a part of one's life. Expressions along these lines will sometimes be joined to "I don't want to get deep into theology here," as though theology precludes discussion of ethics or norms. One rather begins to assume that people don't want to talk about theology not out of a high-minded concern for making things relevant, but rather because they don't know the theology in any depth. (I once attended a Mass at which the priest in his homily suggested that historical-critical uncertainty about the authorship of the New Testament epistles meant his parishioners should be aware that if they read the Bible, they would probably misinterpret it, so maybe they shouldn't bother. The occasional hostility to intellect comes from all sides.) Attitudes like this are baffling on their own, because Christianity is nothing if not composed of assertions about historic and metaphysical truths.

The dismissal of intellect is all the more strange considering there's an equal dismissal of being led by emotion or sentiment. On the Protestant side, there's an understanding that love and all other emotions are fickle, and relationships have to be built on something more enduring than that; this is why "stop dating the church" is commonplace advice (it is also terrible advice). Similarly, I've seen Catholic apologetic books that will ladle out of heavy dose of blame to anyone who isn't feeling it during communion--not having the right kind of reaction is taken as a sign there's something wrong with you, and you have to correct your emotions.

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