Letting your opponent make the rules

Part of the difficulty has been, I think, that the heirs of the Enlightenment have been too shrill in their denunciation of traditional Christianity, and that Christianity has often been too unshakeably arrogant in resisting new questions, let alone new answers, in its stubborn defence of … what? Christians have often imagined that they were defending Christianity when resisting the Enlightement’s attacks; but it is equally plausible to suggest that what would-be orthodox Christianity was defending was often the pre-Enlightenment worldview, which was itself no more specifically ‘Christian’ than any other.

And later:

Christianity has been afraid of reducing a supernatural faith to rationalist categories. But the sharp distinction between the ‘supernatural’ and the ‘rational’ is ITSELF A PRODUCT OF ENLIGHTENMENT THINKING, and to emphasize the ‘supernatural’ atthe expense of the ‘rational’ or ‘natural’ is itself to capitulate to the Enlightenment worldview at a deeper level than if we were merely to endorse, rather than marginalize, a post-Enlightenment rationalist programme.

-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p.10

I think “The Scylding” at the BHT put it best a while back:

When it comes to debates and discussions on truth, tradition, sacramentology, ecclesiology and a mulitude of other and theological ‘ologies, the worship of Reason is the elephant in the room.

Our capitulation, all over the place, to enlightenment thinking is the elephant in the room. When grappling with enemies of Jesus, we’ve often chosen to play ball on THEIR field.

The prepositional apologists (who I still really get), at least understood this and tried to come at their arguments from a different angle.

Trying to prove Creationism using only the secular scientist’s tools will only get you so far. You’ve imposed an artificial limit on yourself and it doesn’t help. So you’re trying to appear more legitimate to them. That’s cool, but you still need the Holy Spirit.

Trying to change the culture of the nation through the framework of money politics and legislation is also bowing to the world in a sense, even if you are temporarily successful in your endeavors.

What’s the solution? No idea… Look at St. Francis perhaps? I imagine if you were to work outside these limits, you might look like an odd duck to some.