Many people who teach and write about European literature do not understand the heart of Christianity. That is a problem — as great as if one attempted to discuss the poetry of Islam, without knowing what it was like, from the heart, to be a Muslim. It is compounded by the pervasiveness of Christian images and ideas in our culture. They give one a self-deceptive ease in talking about Christianity. Then, when the faith proves more subtle than one’s caricature, that same overfamiliarity tempts one to patter about “contradictions” and “tensions.” The critic sees hole where there are but spaces in a most intricate lacework.
Anthony Esolen, Ironies of Faith, p. ii