Andrew had an earlier post in which he linked to Edward Feser’s account of his conversion (back) to Roman Catholicism. What struck me was that it had certain parallels to another post, this one by atheist-turned-Catholic blogger Leah Libresco in which she explains why she’s converted to Catholicism. Now everyone’s story is different – including Feser’s and Libresco’s, but for all their idiosyncrasies there seems to be this parallel that both of them seem to be very intelligent people who seems committed to taking philosophy Very Seriously. In both cases they hit a point where their own systems are not satisfactory and suddenly what is on offer from the best of Rome’s thinkers, particularly on a sort of Augustine-Aquinas axis, looks more attractive.
I am curious to find a case of this sort of thing happening with, say, evangelical Protestants in the recent past. I know that data is not the plural of anecdote, but one doesn’t seem to hear about this kind of thing in evangelical circles. Indeed the evangelical meme about the whole situation is that this sort of thing isn’t supposed to work (Feser is rather forceful in disagreeing with this point of view). Now we can say that Libresco and Feser are unique sorts of individuals in that they both seem to have a greater inclination towards philosophy than is typical. That said, I know lots of total nerds who are into this sort of thing so while the philosophy geeks of the world may be in the minority, there are still lots of them. To put it in perspective, at this point the Bible is available in most of the major languages in a relatively current translation, we as Christians still devote scads of money to bible translations that are serving presumably ever smaller groups of language and/or dialect. Given how popular, say, comic book and sci-fi culture has become in the past decade or so, I submit that we devote at least as much effort to nerds. So what would it take for Protestants to participate in academia at the same level as Catholics?