Roger Scruton’s faith

From his secret teenage confirmation as an Anglican and, much later, his formal instruction in Catholic doctrine at the Brompton Oratory, to his encounter with sainthood on the far side of the Iron Curtain, and his tentative return to the Anglican fold as organist at his local church, Scruton was gripped by gratitude for the sheer gift of existence, a gratitude he believed to be most fittingly directed towards God. As a result, he saw and described much more lucidly than any of his fellow philosophers that faith in the reality of a post-mortem existence with God did not belong to a set of esoteric positions tacked awkwardly onto more quotidian beliefs, but rather a comprehensive attitude to reality—a state of mind, as he once put it—that reconfigures the religious believer’s engagement with it beyond the point at which it could be elucidated to the satisfaction of an Oxford philosopher. Scruton memorably described himself as a philosopher on Dover Beach for his refusal to share the fashionable indifference for religion and for his insistence that Arnold was prophetic in lamenting Christianity’s long withdrawing roar from this country’s shores. For him, especially in recent years, that loss was a tragedy of civilizational proportions and not, as Nietzsche supposed, the thrilling inauguration of a new humanist dispensation. –from “Roger Scruton’s Faith”

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