Oooops, I did it again. I read a David Brooks column. I didn’t mean to. But since I did, it is necessary to confess the fact, and to also highlight this little diddy he came up with for my miseries.
This morning’s column illustrates the typical David Brooks column-type. It is a column with stuff in it, words, things like that, that fill a whole column space for the newspaper as defined by law, but a column in which there’s really only one idea Brooks is concerned with. The rest is filler.
So, with this mind, and ignoring the rest of the column which is unimportant, here is the David Brooks nugget for today:
Then the question of the unpopular belief. In this case, it is clearly wrong to sacrifice some of your conviction for immediate popularity. Basically you are trading in something deep for something shallow.
Most of our core beliefs originated with some great figure from the distant past. These ideas, creeds or faiths were then nurtured by generations of other people, who are also now mostly dead. They created a transcendent tradition, which we embrace and hope in turn to pass along to generations as yet unborn. No sensible person would ever be happy betraying the approval of the admired dead just to win some passing approval in the here and now.
Translation: Only sensible people totally accept, uncritically, the religious tradition they grew up with. So any of you people criticizing (the Christian) religion, stop it.
Now, I actually happen to like Tradition, or at least as I age I have come to like it a bit more. I am fact still a religious person, too, although not an uncritical one. But according to Brooks, here, we should never consider “betraying” our religious beliefs when they come into conflict with “popular opinion”, or evidence, or the desire for social justice, or anything like that.
Anyway, I trust you found the “betraying the approval of the admired dead” as weird and funny as I did.