Gil Bailie, in his recent contribution to a collection of essay’s honoring Rene Girard, throws out some great quotes by early 17th century Anglican (and later RC theologian) John Henry Newman. They all come from a set of sermons titled “Chiefly on the Theory of Religious Belief”.
This is the best:
Nothing is so easy as to be religious on paper
And here we find him intuitively citing the mechanics of mimetic rivalry:
The warfare between Error and Truth is necessarily advantageous to the former.
So fighting about something is rigged, from the beginning to at least favor error! How about a much more powerful alternative to reasoned argument?
Men persuade themselves, with little difficulty, to scoff at principles, to ridicule books, to make sport of the names of good men; but they cannot bear their presence: it is holiness embodied in personal form, which they cannot steadily confront and bear down: so that the silent conduct of a conscientious man secures for him from beholders a feeling different in kind from any which is created by the mere versatile and garrulous Reason.