August 01, 2002

Okay, this is going to be a real struggle of a post. Exceedingly politically incorrect to boot. But, as Bill O'Reilly says, 'tell me where I'm wrong'. I want to be wrong. It was provoked by Dissertations & her riveting post on the literature & orthodoxy, mentioning how T.S. Eliot's earlier works are generally considered better than his later, more Christianized works...

Point 1: The Feminization of Christianity
My reading lately has consisted of Leon Podles, "The Church Impotent" which tries to explain why Christianity, as opposed to say Islam or Orthodox Judiasm, struggles to attract men in terms of church attendance and other outward signs of commitment. Priests, for instance, tend to have lower testosterone levels than average. Podles argues that Christianity has been feminized soon after the heroic age of martyrs and the Church Fathers.

Point 2: Genius as Masculine
IQ tests have shown men to have a more extreme range of intelligence (or lack thereof) than women. The bell curve seems to include lots more points to the right side (i.e. geniuses) and more points to the left (dunces). And although women have not had nearly the opportunities men have in the arts, still the Joyces, Shakespeares, Dantes, Beethovens, Bachs are nearly universally male.

Point 3: Combine the two and ...?

Okay that was going nowhere. Let's move to a different solution. Walker Percy & Shelby Foote argued about this incessantly in their letters (published as "The Correspondence of W.P. & SF") and Foote argues that art requires that nothing be placed before it, which is what religion also requires. Hence the incompatibility. You cannot serve both art and God. I'll try to find exact quotes tomorrow.

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