January 26, 2010

GEEZ, DARROW DID ABOUT AS WELL IN THESE ARGUMENTS AS DAWKINS DOES:

Evelyn Waugh: Ultramodern to Ultramontane (JOSEPH PEARCE, May 2001, Lay Witness)

[T]hree weeks after Waugh's controversial conversion, Waugh's own contribution to the debate, entitled "Converted to Rome: Why It Has Happened to Me," was published. It was given a full-page spread, boldly headlined.

Waugh's article was so lucid in its exposition that it belied any suggestion that he had taken his momentous step lightly, or out of ignorance. He dismissed the very suggestion that he had been "captivated by the ritual" of the Church, or that he wanted to have his mind made up for him. Instead, he insisted that the "essential issue" that had led to his conversion was a belief that the modern world was facing a choice between "Christianity and Chaos":

"Today we can see it on all sides as the active negation of all that Western culture has stood for. Civilization — and by this I do not mean talking cinemas and tinned food, nor even surgery and hygienic houses, but the whole moral and artistic organization of Europe — has not in itself the power of survival. It came into being through Christianity, and without it has no significance or power to command allegiance. The loss of faith in Christianity and the consequential lack of confidence in moral and social standards have become embodied in the ideal of a materialistic, mechanized state . . . It is no longer possible . . . to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis upon which it rests." [...]

On October 8, 1930, the Bystander observed of Waugh's conversion that "the brilliant young author" was "the latest man of letters to be received into the Catholic Church. Other well-known literary people who have gone over to Rome include Sheila Kaye-Smith, Compton MacKenzie, Alfred Noyes, Fr. Ronald Knox, and G.K. Chesterton." The list was impressive but far from exhaustive. By the 1930s, the tide of converts had become a torrent, and throughout that decade there were some 12,000 converts a year in England alone.

A similar mood prevailed in the United States. A few weeks after the controversy in the Daily Express, a debate between G.K. Chesterton and the famous Chicago lawyer Clarence Darrow on the question, "Will the World Return to Religion?" attracted an audience of 4,000 to the Mecca Temple in New York. At the close of the debate a vote was taken. The result was 2,359 for Chesterton's point of view and 1,022 for Darrow's.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2010 4:48 PM
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