Re: More Heather Mac Donald - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Re: More Heather Mac Donald

Hunter: When I read this in your latest, “The church has always understood itself to be making a case on evidence that if not true, should result in abandonment of the faith,” my mind immediately leapt back to something Ms. Mac Donald recently, though politely, took us to task for. Last Friday, at NRO’s Corner, she included this:

A recent article on The Da Vinci Code in The American Spectator stated that it was a matter of “historical fact” that Jesus was born of a virgin and ascended to heaven after the crucifixion. I simply don’t know what to make of that statement or its appearance in a powerful, justly respected journal of conservative opinion. It does not conform to what I thought was a common understanding of “historical facts.”

Without knowing the context, the unsuspecting reader might indeed conclude that TAS had gone mystical. But read the paragraph in which the “historical fact” appears, and it seems rather clear that genuine, traditional religious belief does involve acceptance of facts that the nonbeliever can only roll his eyes over. Here’s some of the context missing from Ms. Mac Donald’s account. It’s from the final paragraph of Gregory Alan Thornbury’s 3,000 word essay, “The Da Vinci Distraction,” which ran in our July/August issue:

The popularity of The Da Vinci Code shows us that people are open to accepting quite incredible claims. While people may be open to faith, it remains to be seen whether or not they will be open to the Faith. That Faith, of course, makes claims on people’s lives. Those claims are rooted in the historical fact that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, was crucified, died, and was buried; He rose again in the body on the third day and ascended into heaven, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. The Church has confessed him as both Lord and God ever since….[Emphasis added.]

Perhaps a nonbeliever could have written, “Those claims are rooted in the belief that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, was crucified, died, and was buried….” But the author in this case wasn’t pulling punches, given that the belief in question has to be in the virgin birth, resurrection and ascension as historical facts. If those didn’t actually occur, then believing Catholics and Christians really are the biggest fools who ever lived, as Father Blaise in his matter-of-fact way once told my high school religion class some forty years ago. Needless to say, ever since then I’ve noticed that’s been the “common understanding” most smart people have settled on.

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