Climbing Backward Out of Caves

Climbing Backward Out of Caves

by John R. Harris


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The first draft of this rational case on behalf of religious faith was written in spring of 2010. Though much revised, the book still comprises three parts offering complementary perspectives. "Why Science Cannot Be the Final Word" logically demonstrates that the empirical approach (what we commonly call science) cannot possibly render conclusive answers to questions about the nature of ultimate reality. It relies heavily upon Immanuel Kant's "antinomies of pure reason".

"Reasons to Be Suspicious of Faith" presents some of the emotional responses frequently voiced by non-believers. In the absence of conclusive empirical evidence and logical proof, we are left with "feelings"-some of which are quite poignant. Though these emotions deserve respect when they are genuine (as opposed to derisive or exhibitionist), all eventually undercut themselves in hopeless contradiction.

Finally, "Reasons to Be Inclined to Have Faith" argues that our sentimental orientation as human beings becomes most coherent and is pointed in the most productive direction if we assume certain spiritual realities. The rudiments of faith cannot be proved any more than they can be disproved. Yet to assume a higher reality, far from being less reasonable, is much more so if we are trying to explain such cryptic inclinations as our admiration for selfless deeds and the crushing guilt we feel after committing a vile act.

The book seldom cites biblical passages. Its intent is explicitly not to presume that the reader acknowledges the authority of any scriptural tradition, but rather to place final authority in the soul's mirror: a bared, self-examining heart and mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634176408
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Publication date: 03/04/2015
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.33(d)

About the Author

Founder and current president of The Center for Literate Values (a tax-exempt educational and religious charity), John Harris took his BA (English/Latin), MA (Classics), and PhD (Comparative Literature) at the University of Texas at Austin during the 70s and 80s. The time and setting were perfect for viewing our cultural collapse close up. Dr. Harris admits that he was particularly stunned by the ravages that sexual liberation and recreational drug use had wrought in his generation’s self-esteem. His first fifteen years as a college professor did nothing to persuade him that private, ostensibly more conservative institutions had a deeper commitment to the West’s beleaguered traditions than his alma mater. He laments that "the self-styled traditionalist colleges have betrayed Western Christendom as much in their rather cynical courtship of new-gadget consumerism and the accompanying tech-school regimen as the great flagship universities ever did in their surrender to ideology and ethical nihilism." A direct result of this disappointment was his founding of The Center. Among Dr. Harris’s scholarly works are Adaptations of Roman Epic in Medieval Ireland (Edwin Mellen, 1998) and Chaos, Cosmos, and Saint-Exupery’s Pilot-Hero (Scranton Press, 1999).

Lately, he has also written a great deal of fiction, the climax of which is his novel, Footprints in the Snow of the Moon. Along with this work, he considers A Body Without Breath (Arcturus, 2002), a testament of faith both scholarly and personal, to be his writing career’s great achievement. Though both of the latter are out of print, he hopes to bring them back with the help of a publisher like Page. Dr. Harris teaches at the University of Texas at Tyler, where he resides with his wife and son.

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