Every revival of paganism involves a lessening of intellectual vigor, or, at best the substitution of a formal intellectual virtuosity for a more substantive and productive exercise of intelligence. On the contrary, each new step in the on-going discovery of the scope and ramifications of Christian truth is accompanied by an intellectual surge capable of bearing fruit in virtually every field of learning to which it might turn.
“The faith which is born in man liberates him from superstition,” says Henri de Lubac, and the liberation is accompanied by “an illumination of the intellect.”
Not only does the converted subject recover his “ontological moorings,” but, both spiritually and intellectually, he becomes like the one Jeremiah described who is planted by the waterside. He sinks his otherwise parched roots into the world’s great source of moral and intellectual vigor. His own sinfulness will mar all his attempts to draw upon that source, but all his failures will be superior to the most altruistic of his moral accomplishments and the most brilliant of his intellectual ones performed prior to his conversion.