If Any Rand were to speak approvingly of someone, it’s a pretty good indication that I’m not going to like that person. Such a person was HL Mencken; one of the  lucky ones, I suppose, who found himself as the object of Rand’s praise.  So when I first came across his “Holy Writ,” I was surprised to find that it was Mencken, of all people, who was able to put into words what I had been trying to articulate:

“The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its occasional astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. It is accused by Protestant dervishes of withholding the Bible from the people. To some extent, this is true; to some extent the church is wise; again to the same extent it is prosperous. Its toying with ideas, in the main, have been confined to its clergy, and they have commonly reduced the business to a harmless play of technicalities – the awful concepts of heaven and hell brought down to the level of a dispute of doctors in long gowns, eager only to dazzle other doctors. Its greatest theologians remain unknown to 99 per cent of its adherents…Rome, indeed, has not only preserved the original poetry in Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry – for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass is a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big-top by a Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone…Protestants, who commonly transform an act of worship into a puerile intellectual exercise; instead of approaching God in fear and wonder these Protestants settle back in their pews, cross their legs, and listen to an ignoramus try to prove that he is a better theologian than the Pope.”

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