Archbishop Rowan Williams has publicly debunked the traditional Nativity as ‘legend’. Anyone who has read the New Testament in detail will know that the stuff of medieval paintings, crib scenes and Christmas cards include a good deal of non-Biblical ‘embroidery’. However, one doesn’t need to deconstruct all of that to somehow prove one’s intellectual credentials.
The Archbishop presents himself as an intellectual Anglo Catholic, but all his recent comments do is prove his Protestant mindset. The liberal Protestant is essentially a critic. He is a critic of the Bible, a critic of tradition, a critic of traditional Christian morality, a critic of anything that is the received religion. The liberal Protestant feels obliged to pick it apart, reduce it to facts and submit the mysteries of the faith to human reason.
What interests me is that many of our conservative Evangelical friends want to distance themselves from the liberal intellectual reductionism of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but when it comes to Catholicism are they not just as critical, just as rational, just as reductionist as the ABC? In fact, Protestantism has in its very genetic code the same rationalism, reductionism, individualism and humanism which is exhibited by the Archbishop’s comments–it’s just that in Evangelicalism it comes to move ‘conservative’ conclusions.