Chesterton's Folly

During a discussion on the non-Christian (pagan) origins of the Catholic belief in the Trinity I presented an elaborate history of the cultural and religious development of the triune godhead dating back to Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Indo-Aryan, and Pre-Homeric cultures.

I quoted a passage from St. Jerome:

“It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’ ” (p. 382).

A commenter chimed in to say as a Roman Catholic he was not disturbed at all to learn about this well-documented historical evidence. He quoted G.K. Chesterton to bolster his argument and his faith:

“If the Christian God really made the human race, would not the human race tend to rumors and perversions of the Christian God? If the center of our life is a certain fact, would not people far from the center have a muddled version of that fact?… When learned skeptics come to me and say, ‘Are you aware that the Kaffirs have a story of Incarnation?’ I should reply: ‘Speaking as an unlearned person, I don’t know. But speaking as a Christian, I should be very much astonished if they hadn’t.’”

This struck me as a curious variation of Post Hoc fallacy and compared it to the ridiculous fundamentalist claim that Satan buried dinosaur bones to further lead humankind astray.

In both cases we have modern Christians, a respected scholar in Chesterton, and a dubious creationist's babble in the other. BOTH are imposing their doctrinarian views on evolution and human history and somehow deifying and ordaining the well-known practice of the early Catholic church's appropriation of pagan rituals and ideas.

The fundamentalist imposes the character of Satan interacting with dinosaur bones from 63,000,000 years ago, even though the personification of Satan was a much later development in Judeo-Christian canon.

Chesterton makes the dubious claim of a so-called "Christian God" creating humankind.

Both claims seem wildly presumptuous and woefully and anachronistically challenged. Is this post hoc ergo propter hoc, special pleading or just theological mumbo-jumbo?

asked on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019 11:50:56 AM by mchasewalker

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Bo Bennett, PhD
I see motivated reasoning and rationalization , both of which are problematic when it comes to good reasoning but neither of which are technically fallacious.
answered on Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 11:11:51 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD