It’s the freakin’ weekend, I’m about to have me some fun. So I thought when I finally came across Michael Robbins’s review of David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God. Spoiler alert: He drops Steve’s favorite book and my favorite song:
Hart is at his impish best when prompting us, with understandable exasperation, to remember that the natural sciences study nature—which is to say, what exists within spacetime. There is no doubt that they are very good at this: I’m typing these words on a new MacBook Pro, and antibodies are developing in my body in response to a flu vaccine, and I can hear an airplane in the skies above Chicago. Thomas Aquinas was in no more doubt of science’s validity within its sphere than is Dawkins. But “within its sphere” is easily misread in the dim light naturalism casts upon metaphysical questions today, when science is said to explain Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” and why I love both so much. (You won’t be surprised to learn it has something to do with natural selection.)
Cross-reference with Robbins’s review of Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, and you may wonder if the Satanists have arrived. (Note that Robbins takes issue when Eric Church’s country rock doesn’t do justice to the Prince of Darkness.) It is about time Satanists came to spice things up. How useful indeed to have a Judeo-Christian-Satanist (or Abrahamic-Satanist, if you will) united front against the naturalist wet blankets who have been dampening the party lately.
More likely, however — and however disappointingly — Robbins just feels the pull of the same unexplained questions that attract Judeo-Christian-Satanism without being ultimately moved by, er, Satanism.
If Michael Robbins plays his music loud, I would have some unexplained questions if I lived next door. First, you’d hear the pure eroticized sonic pleasure of R. Kelly. Then you’d listen to the down-homey identity-reinforcing country rockin’ of Eric Church crescendo into the grotesquely spiritual dimensions of Bathory. What a strange creature man is.