Also, I have a hard time planning ahead anyway. Not only does the spirit blow where it will, but this particular spirit can only blow where it will. You call it undisciplined, I call it spontaneity. Or multi-undisciplinary.
At the moment, I'm preoccupied with this nice-looking book (which I just started) called The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life. It goes to many of the ideas we bandy about here, albeit in a less polemical, sharp-elbowed, and over-the-top manner. He's a professor, not a blogger.
The overall thesis of the book is alarming enough, even if stated in a dispassionate way. Stated in a bobastic way, it would be something like: failing to be Christian makes one intellectually insane. Or in other words, if the purpose of Christianity is salvation, this certainly includes a rescue operation of our capacity to think.
As always, Jews are a special case, therefore much of this may not apply to them; then again, you will have no doubt noticed how common it is for the irreligious (or even Reform) Jew to become intellectually -- and politically -- insane, so perhaps it will; we shall see. We are particularly interested to know if there is some identifiable point that the mind goes off the rails.
Genesis, of course, speaks to this, but in a rather general way: that is, we are all faced with the primordial choice of recognizing God or of being God. Even so, choosing the former is no guarantee of sanity; it's just that choosing the latter is a guarantee of intellectual un- or insanity.
For that matter, it is not as if self-identifying Christians don't lose their marbles. Hardly! We don't want to fall into the No True Scotsman fallacy. Therefore, we will have to inquire into why this is the case: how does the cure seem to become the illness -- as in, say, that homosexual-hating pastor, or Obama's demented mentor?
The No True Scotsman fallacy, by the way, occurs when confronted with a counter-example to a universal claim. Thus, if I affirm that Christianity allows one to think properly, you may reasonably ask: "What about Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Bill Clinton?" To which I indignantly draw myself to my full height and respond, "no true Christian would think as they do." (Similarly, our anonymous troll's favorite fallacy is the "no true progressive" dodge.)
Perhaps we will weave in a bit of the infancy narratives after all, specifically, the star that alerted and guided those Wise Men to Jesus. As Benedict writes, they not only "represent the journeying of humanity toward Christ," but "initiate a procession that continues throughout history."
Furthermore, they symbolize "the inner aspiration of the human spirit, the dynamism of religious and human reason toward him." Also, this makes the implicit connection between cosmos and Christ: there is now something fully in the cosmos that is fully beyond the cosmos: the Creative Reason is here with us, and creativity never stops surpassing itself.
That idea of an intellectual north star: everyone's got one, whether implicit or explicit. One cannot not have a metaphysic and still presume to think. The North Star is the First Principle.
It is possible to attack this question from either end: in other words, assuming one is capable of thinking, one may drill down to the principle that makes this possible.
To cite one obvious example, let's say I am thinking about natural selection. To the extent that I am truly thinking -- or thinking truly -- natural selection cannot possibly be the principle that is responsible for my ability to think about it. That's what you call an epistemological non-starter, because there is simply no way to get from natural selection to truth. This also explains why the metaphysical Darwinian is not only an unserious thinker, but cannot possibly be serious. It is the type of thing we can confidently reject out of hand as a false path.
However, atheism has its benefits, or it wouldn't exist. For example, it exalts the human mind (without the proper complement of humility). Such a mind cannot really know truth, but it can know a kind of pretend truth. It is similar to pretend wealth. Let's say I loan you a great sum of money. You will live large while the money lasts, but all the while you are accruing interest.
Likewise for one who enjoys the flood of cheap Darwinian cash. Eventually -- again, if you drill all the way down -- you will find that your principal is exhausted, and your mind is writing checks that the spirit can't cash. It's all just funny money, and you've been living in an ideological bubble, with one person of tenure living off the worthless checks of another until the whole thing collapses.
Kind of like what happened yesterday.
To be continued...