Friday, January 1, 2010

Cardinal Newman's "Grammar of Assent"

Cardinal Newman's "Grammar of Assent": In 1870, John Henry Newman published An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent. As a Cardinal in the Catholic Church who converted from Anglicanism, he adamantly defended Christianity in the face of British empiricists like John Stuart Mill. One of the key points in the book entails the notion that a person of Faith does not have to understand fully what he worships. That is precisely where Faith plays its most integral role in the process of religious conversion. Of course, there are times when people cast doubt and demand answers rooted in a scientific rationale. But when taken to an extreme, that kind of thinking only leads to solipsism. And as a logical fallacy, solipsism states that nothing exists outside of one's own mind. Adhering to such a philosophical doctrine would perhaps be the greatest display of personal arrogance since Narcissus first discovered the beauty of his own reflection. Above all, however, Newman believes the human mind is engaged in an unending search to close the logic-gap that stems from the innate flaws of deductive reasoning.

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