SAINT, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.
The Duchess of Orleans relates that the irreverent old calumniator, Marshal Villeroi, who in his youth had known St. Francis de Sales, said, on hearing him called saint: “I am delighted to hear that Monsieur de Sales is a saint. He was fond of saying indelicate things, and used to cheat at cards. In other respects he was a perfect gentleman, though a fool.”
I’m going to start my own Devil’s Dictionary, I think, and my first definition is this one:
SOPHISTICATED THEOLOGIAN™, n. A theologian who uses big words and is better than other theologians at insulating religion from critical examination.
Does that sound good? I’m reading David Bentley Hart’s new book, and, halfway through, realized that people like Hart, who are regarded as the theologians who make the Best Arguments for God—the ones atheists are supposed to take on board—are precisely the ones who propose a kind of God who is so nebulous, so hard to fathom, that that God cannot be examined as a hypothesis. (And make no mistake about it: Hart does propose evidence for God, in the form of a revised Cosmological Argument. But he also argues that he’s not giving evidence for God.) I’m just throwing this out for discussion, for it seems that the theologians who are most highly regarded by intellectuals are the ones who are the most clever at insulating their god and their faith from refutation. They use not reason, but sophistry, confirmation bias, and obscurantism.
If you have a better definition, please put it in the comments!