Questioning a Rational Animal: New Patheos Blogger Matthew Graham

Questioning a Rational Animal: New Patheos Blogger Matthew Graham September 2, 2022

The Latin Right (aka Dennis Knapp) virtually sat down with new Patheos blogger Matthew Graham of Rational Animal. We cover his hopes for the blog, what he sees as the greatest issues facing Christianity in the 21st century, and more… You will find Matt’s blog Rational Animal by clicking on the link. Thank you!

TLR: Matt, thanks for agreeing to the first ever The Latin Right interview!

Matt: Thanks for interviewing me, Dennis! Glad to collaborate with you on this.

TLR: Tell us your background. Why the name Rational Animal?

Matt: My personal background is that I grew up in the Pentecostal church. I saw some good stuff and some bad stuff in those churches. By the time I was in college, I was really questioning my faith. I wanted my beliefs to be rational. Up to that point, it seemed that my faith was largely based on personal experience and emotion. It was about that time that I was introduced to philosophy and the stark contrast between my pastors and the philosophers was obvious.

My pastors asserted things, repeated slogans, and generally didn’t think much of learning. The philosophers argued for things, were careful in their thinking, and were generally more appealing to me. For several years I just read and thought about my faith. I would go back and forth as to whether Christianity was true, whether we needed reasons for belief in God, and whether the exclusive claims of Christianity made it immoral.

That’s when you and a few other folks helped me to get started on the journey towards an intellectually fulfilling Christian life. In my senior year of college, we all spent a lot of time talking through issues in philosophy of religion, the Bible, history, and theology. I was hooked! I couldn’t get enough of it. What could be more interesting than an exploration into the existence of God and all that accompanied that.

After that I went to seminary where I focused on philosophy of religion stuff and philosophical anthropology and meta-ethics. I had one professor in particular that beat modern / contemporary philosophy out of me and introduced me to Thomism.

So the name “Rational Animal” came out of the Aristotelian / Thomistic training I received. I considered it fitting because I enjoy philosophical anthropology. But it’s also about as generic as I can get. What is unique about me? Not much, I’m a rational animal like everyone else.

TLR: What topics do you hope to address in your blog?

Matt: I want to address current issues from a conservative Christian perspective. I think it’s unfortune that non-conservative voices carry a massively disproportionate weight in our culture today. I’d like to be a tiny part of changing that.

TLR: What do you see as the greatest issues facing Christianity in the 21st century?

Matt: I think the greatest problem we have now is our inability to adequately address what Jaroslav Pelikan talks about in his book “The Riddle of Roman Catholicism”. In that book he talked about the churches attempt to both maintain its identity while at the same time expressing its universality. The Protestant church, in large part, has given up its identity in search of universality. The church, especially the Protestant church, has very little sense of itself. On an individual level, if you don’t have a very good sense of who you are, your sense of self is formed by imbibing the culture around you. The same thing happens in the church. Today, the church mirrors a godless culture so much, that “church” and “godless culture” are almost indistinguishable.

TLR: If you could give one argument for the existence of God, which would it be?

Matt: I am personally partial to the contingency type arguments. I think some versions of this argument give you more bang for your buck in terms of inferences about God. A more easily digestible and intuitively appealing argument is some form of the design argument. I think these arguments, when understood properly, provide powerful reasons for believing in God.

I’ve watched popular internet atheists smugly “dismantle” the design argument. It’s embarrassing… for them. Hopefully one day they will look back at the videos they have made and shake their heads at themselves. Time will tell.

TLR: Thank you for you time. Let’s do it again.

Matt: I’d love to! Thanks!

Check Out Matt on Youtube!

Rational Animal Youtube Channel

 

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