Monday, June 24, 2019

Skeptical Intellectuals And Catholics

If you haven't heard the joint podcast with Bishop Robert Barron and Jordan Peterson yet, you should. It blew my mind in so many ways. I'm going to need to hear it at least one more time.

I'm a big Jordan Peterson fan. One of our sons and I went to see him give a 12 Rules For Life lecture and we both loved it. I've never heard his equal in terms of deep, deliberate and worldly intellectual thought. Until now.

Bishop Robert Barron, a guy I dismissed as a paint-by-numbers homilist, someone who produced mildly interesting and yet shallow videos, was more than Jordan's equal. I have been wrong all along about Bishop Barron and his Word on Fire efforts. I see that now.

Jordan Peterson has a very distinct, very measured style of speaking. It comes from him being deliberate in what he says. He's a brilliant man and thinks very rapidly, but even so, every word is considered. The fact that he has consumable conversations at all when interviewed is a testament to the quickness of his mind. For all that, Bishop Barron blew the doors off of him. Bishop Barron's speech was easy and casual and just as brilliant.

It was easy and casual because he's Catholic.

What dawned on me as I heard these two giants converse is that Jordan is having to derive a world view from first principles. Each sentence is considered as he speaks it because he is basing it only on Jordan Peterson and all of the sources he's trying to synthesize. Bishop Barron is relaxed because he's standing atop 2000 years of organized genius. They get to the same point, but by the time they're together at the apex, Jordan is out of breath and Bishop Barron is sitting in an easy chair, sipping a martini and smiling.

What a lot of work it is to be a skeptical intellectual! Too much for this cat. Give me a beer and the remote and an SEC game on the TV. We can discuss philosophy and religion and science and culture and modern life or whatever you want, but please, for the love of God, don't make me get there on my own.

Bishop Robert Barron, explaining things to you in a language a high schooler can understand. What is rarely on display is a mind that can keep up with the mighty C S Lewis and G K Chesterton. This man is a treasure for our times.

No comments: