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In Response to Selected Writings by John Henry Cardinal Newman

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Essay title: In Response to Selected Writings by John Henry Cardinal Newman

In Response to Selected writings by John Henry Cardinal Newman

Near the beginning of Apologia Pro Vita Sua Newman says "It is difficult, impossible, to imagine, I grant; but how is it difficult to believe." This I think cuts down to the essence of Faith, perhaps the key theme if his writings. There are many things a man can believe are true without understanding how they are possible, simply because they are stated by the word of God or someone they respect. I think that these things which are accepted on faith are essential to ones life, especially the life of a Christian. This is what the writer addresses in his famous quote from The Tamworth Reading Room, "Many a man will live and die upon a dogma: no man will be a martyr for a conclusion." However, I think that you have to be very careful with giving someone so much unchecked authority for interpreting the scriptures. This is very much like the benevolent despot feared so much by Mill. I see it as possibly even worse because this ecclesiastic authority figure, can use the Bible in any way he pleases to "prove" his claims if no one has the ability to question them. This type of blind belief goes against the "Intelligent Design" or deistic approach Newman argues against in Tamworth. Just as one must live by a "dogma" rather than a conclusion, to really be convictions they must be a man's own beliefs learned from a personal savior, not just those taught about a distant creator.

I think that he would very much agree with Ruskin's claim that "The man who does not know when to die, does not know how to live.", and devotes much of his time to defending the type of faith that breeds men prepared to die for their beliefs. My concern though, is that his church looks more like workers building the design of someone else. He claims that

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