Fantastic article here peering into the subconscious of the current republican party. Ruprecht really hits the nail on the head here with a pretty accurate description of what's happening as the various factions of the republican party volley for position and power and quite a beautiful correlation to the early christian church in trying to determine what's orthodoxy and what's heresy. The author brings up the story of Tertullian who was born a pagan but converted to christianity later in life and became involved in the political banter of where the faith was going and what beliefs should fall under the umbrella or be considered heretical. Some excellent quotes:
“I believe it because it is absurd… I know it because it is impossible.” With these resonant words, Tertullian announced an entirely new way of making argument convincing, as well as an utterly novel way of imagining religious faith.
It was elegant in its simplicity: first, insist that the most convincing argument hinges on something unbelievable—then there is quite literally nothing left to argue about. In short, Tertullian insisted that the true Christian (of whom he believed there were precious few) must prove his or her bona fides by believing what is literally unbelievable.
As Laderman suggests, we may be witnessing today what a politics of Republicanity grounded in the necessary absurdity of belief will look like. And it is not always a pretty picture. But it’s important to emphasize just how Christian the culture of argument currently embodied in one portion of the GOP appears to be.
Or rather, just how Tertullian a portion of this emerging Republican theology has become. To make one’s argument hinge on absurdity is to escape the need to deal with what the old-school rhetoricians (of whom Tertullian was one, ironically) called “counter-factuals.”
If your faith is intentionally and even proudly absurd, you don’t need to bother with facts.
Yet there seems a very different way to respond to this most universal of all the absurdities of Republicanity: no new taxes, ever, because the government needs to start acting like a responsible family. Let us accept the metaphor for a moment. And then let us observe that the responsible household that faces the reality of the numbers (instead of relying on absurd faith-claims or lottery tickets)—the simple fact that it owes far more than it earns—very quickly realizes that it is time to take a second (or a third) job. It’s painful, but that’s what you do.
And, like it or not, the analogy for a second or third job at the governmental level is… new taxes. There’s nothing absurd or impossible here, just a sobering and somber mathematical reality.
Tertullian - Wikipedia