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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The ability to discern friend from foe is very important.
    And remember that paranoia is psychological preparation to attack.

  2. #142
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    This isn't about paranoia Victor.

  3. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    With religion, you have something aspiring man's talents towards to the highest heavens. Without that, what do you have? Nothing really, but petty self-absorption. Great art is like a water spring: eternal but always fresh.

    The grandeur of Classical, Medieval, Renaisance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Romantic, etc. art will stand for generations to come because it sought to give expression to such eternal themes. But in order to do that, one must first believe in eternity to begin with.

    Modern and Post-modern art is largely obsessed with narcissistic themes, which by it's very nature limits its value. One precept of Modernist art was even that art didn't have to be beautiful to have value, as long as it gave the artist self-expression or whatnot.

    And that's the constrast between great art influenced by religion and shitty art inspired by irreligion: religion forces people to seek value in something greater then themselves - the greatest thing in the whole COSMOS in fact!
    Doesn't science also cause man to aspire for the heavens? If religion is on the decline the very nature of our beings will inevitably find a way to fill that gap. Whether it be humanism, science or an ecological dogmatism it too will inspire the human imagination. I think the coming era though will be more open to inspiration from many different arenas than the times in which you speak of when religion was the main, if not only, option.

  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    Doesn't science also cause man to aspire for the heavens?
    It inspires man to better understand the world, yes. And as I just hinted at above; Christianity was not a major hinderance towards that endeavor, but was actually at times a major supporter.

    Just last night I was reading about how the Christian demythologisation of the natural world(in contrast to pagan animism) was a major prerequisite for the birth of theoretical science in the Middle Ages- 12th-13th centuries to be more exact.

    Getting back to ajblaise's arguments; it was also rather interesting to read up on some of the contrasts between the 12th century "Renaissance" and its more famous 15th century counterpart: the former "Renaisance" was more interested in science while the latter one was more interested in literature.

    However, science's field of inquiry is limited to empirical study of the natural world. It has no competence to pronounce upon issues related to values, and certainly not issues related to metaphysics. It's largely a tool. It cannot be a substitute for faith and philosophy.

    Ironically enough even Nietzsche agreed with this, since he was as much a critic of the worship of science as he was of the Bible.

  5. #145
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    It inspires man to better understand the world, yes. And as I just hinted at above; Christianity was not a major hinderance towards that endeavor, but was actually at times a major supporter.
    Tell that to Galileo.

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    It inspires man to better understand the world, yes. And as I just hinted at above; Christianity was not a major hinderance towards that endeavor, but was actually at times a major supporter.

    Just last night I was reading about how the Christian demythologisation of the natural world(in contrast to pagan animism) was a major prerequisite for the birth of theoretical science in the Middle Ages- 12th-13th centuries to be more exact.
    This is very true and it's worth mentioning as part of a framework in this discussion. I'm just not sure why the appeal to history is being made.

    The Church's beliefs were influential in the past, they were the right ideas at the right time in terms of challenging superstitions, giving a FEW people the idea that there were discernable patterns in nature that could be discovered and utilized (since they believed God existed and he was a God of order), etc. At the time, the "pagan" world was more animistic and superstitious. Christianity thus addressed serious issues in the culture, improved life for many, allowed tech advancement, etc.

    Just because this scenario was beneficial at that time has little bearing on what is contributed nowadays, however. Again, getting back to the OP's question, the Church becomes irrelevant and loses its voice in the conversation if the ideas it promotes do not seem to legitimately address the the hard realities of the world and the needs of the culture or at least communicate in a language the culture understands and finds credible.

    (And I'm not talking "spiritual ideas" per se here, I'm talking about its view of reality and how science and the world works. The Young Earth Creationists, for example, have become a fringe group because of their insistence that the world is only 6000 years old.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    I wish I could understand everything I read in the Bible.
    Some of it sounds simple, but there's a lot I don't grasp too.
    (See the song quote in my sig, for example.)

    And putting the Old T in proper context... when I've been raised in a (post)modern western culture and haven't done extensive graduate work in linguistics, history, etc?
    I do my best, but there are very few people who get any sort of handle on that stuff.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    It inspires man to better understand the world, yes. And as I just hinted at above; Christianity was not a major hinderance towards that endeavor, but was actually at times a major supporter.

    Just last night I was reading about how the Christian demythologisation of the natural world(in contrast to pagan animism) was a major prerequisite for the birth of theoretical science in the Middle Ages- 12th-13th centuries to be more exact.

    Getting back to ajblaise's arguments; it was also rather interesting to read up on some of the contrasts between the 12th century "Renaissance" and its more famous 15th century counterpart: the former "Renaisance" was more interested in science while the latter one was more interested in literature.
    Both inspire man to better understand the world, where we came from and where we are going etc... They only use different tactics. One uses stories the other ,hopefully, objective reasoning.

    Architecturally, a completely energy efficient city built on an ecological belief system will be much more artistic and soul stirring to me than a cathedral any day.

    As religion evolves, I don't think it will ever die, it will eventually bring back the popularity of the bible because then it will be appreciated for what is, literary art. Until then it will be hard for most people to view it as anything other than a book that preaches a dying belief system.

  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Tell that to Galileo.
    Galileo by all accounts was a devout Catholic, one of his daughters even became a nun. He also wrote a treatise in which he refers to Theology as the "queen of the sciences". Galileo even enjoyed the friendship and patronage of the Pope for his scientific studies.

    Anyways, I'll let David Lindberg take over from here:
    When Galileo burst on the scene in 1610, he came equipped not only with telescopic observations that could be used to support the heliocentric theory, but also with liberal arguments about how to interpret biblical passages that seemed to teach the fixity of the earth. Galileo argued that God spoke through both scripture and the "book of nature," that the two could not truly conflict, and that in physical matters authority should rest with reason and sense. Faced with demon- strative scientific proof, any scriptural passage to the contrary would have to be reinterpreted. Galileo was flirting with danger, not only by entering the domain of the theologians, but also by defending hermeneutic principles clearly at odds with the spirit of the Council of Trent. Moreover, Galileo lacked the convincing physical proof of the mobility of the earth that his own position demanded. Every one of his telescopic obser- vations was compatible with the modified geocentric system of Tycho Brabe, and Galileo's argument from the tides (that they represent a sloshing about of the oceans on a moving earth) convinced few. The trouble in which Galileo eventually found himself, and which led ultimately to his condemnation, then, resulted not from clear scientific evidence running afoul of biblical claims to the contrary (as White tells the story), but from ambiguous scientific evidence provoking an intra- mural dispute within Catholicism over the proper principles of scriptural interpretations dispute won by the conservatives at Galileo's expense.24 Galileo never questioned the authority of scripture, merely the principles by which it was to be interpreted.

    The details of Galileo's condemnation need not detain us long.25 Galileo's campaign on behalf of Copernicanism was halted abruptly in 1616, when the Holy Office declared the heliocentric doctrine heretical- though at the time Galileo faced no physical threat. Eight years later Galileo received permission from the new pope, the scholarly Urban VIII, to write about the Copernican system as long as he treated it as merely hypothesis. After many delays, Galileo's Dialogue Con- cerning the Two Chief World Systems appeared in 1632. In it, Galileo not only unambiguously defended the heliocentric system as physically true, but also made the tactical mistake of placing the pope's admonition about its hypothetical character in the mouth of the slow-witted Aristotelian, Simplicio. Although the official imprimatur of the church had been secured, Galileo's enemies, including the now angry Urban VIII, determined to bring him to trial. The inquisition ulti- mately condemned Galileo and forced him to recant. Although sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life, he lived comfortably in a villa outside Florence. He was neither tortured nor imprisoned-simply silenced. The Galileo affair was a multi-faceted event. Certainly it raised serious questions about the relationship between reason and revelation and the proper means of reconciling the teachings of nature with those of scripture. Nonetheless, it was not a matter of Christianity waging war on science. All of the participants called themselves Christians, and all acknowledged biblical authority. This was a struggle between opposing theories of biblical interpretation: a conservative theory issuing from the Council of Trent versus Galileo's more liberal alternative, both well precedented in the history of the church. Personal and political factors also played a role, as Galileo demonstrated his flair for cultivating enemies in high places.26

    --"Beyond War and Peace: A Reappraisal of the Encounter between Christianity and Science"
    So yes, the Galileo affair was one involving interpretation of scriptures, not scientific evidence. Galileo was not trained in theology, and thus was not fully competent to pronounce on such affairs. He was actually warned several times to stick to his scientific work(which enjoyed the patronage of the Pope, who was a personal friend, btw) and leave theology to the theologicans.

    Several theologians had already made roughly similar arguments before and nothing happened to them. Copernicus himself was an ordained priest, and one of the first printed copies of his book on the Heliocentric theory was dedicated to the Pope. As Lindberg notes: "If Copernicus had any genuine fear of publication, it was the reaction of scientists, not clerics, that worried him."

  9. #149
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Galileo by all accounts was a devout Catholic, one of his daughters even became a nun. He also wrote a treatise in which he refers to Theology as the "queen of the sciences". Galileo even enjoyed the friendship and patronage of the Pope for his scientific studies.

    Anyways, I'll let David Lindberg take over from here:


    So yes, the Galileo affair was one involving interpretation of scriptures, not scientific evidence. Galileo was not trained in theology, and thus was not fully competent to pronounce on such affairs. He was actually warned several times to stick to his scientific work(which enjoyed the patronage of the Pope, who was a personal friend, btw) and leave theology to the theologicans.

    Several theologians had already made roughly similar arguments before and nothing happened to them. Copernicus himself was an ordained priest, and one of the first printed copies of his book on the Heliocentric theory was dedicated to the Pope. As Lindberg notes: "If Copernicus had any genuine fear of publication, it was the reaction of scientists, not clerics, that worried him."
    Galileo thought heliocentrism didn't contradict scripture, because he lacked a literal interpretation, and I never said he wasn't a Catholic. The efforts of science and reason ran into trouble and claims of heresy when his ideas conflicted with bible fundamentalism. Most conflict religion has with science occurs in the fundamentalist sect.

    You should read The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason by Charles Freeman. It's a very long read, but very informative and fact heavy.

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    This is very true and it's worth mentioning as part of a framework in this discussion. I'm just not sure why the appeal to history is being made.
    Well for one, in order to understand the continual relevance of the Bible and Christianity in the world, you have to understand how influential it was in history. Not only that, historical issues have already been brought up by others.

    Just because this scenario was beneficial at that time has little bearing on what is contributed nowadays, however. Again, getting back to the OP's question, the Church becomes irrelevant and loses its voice in the conversation if the ideas it promotes do not seem to legitimately address the the hard realities of the world and the needs of the culture or at least communicate in a language the culture understands and finds credible.
    Well my entire argument here is not just about history. In fact, my main interest here is arguing about the continual and future relevance of the Bible and Christian tradition upon the West; that it's not just a thing of the past.

    Yes the Church needs to be able to speak to the realities of contemporary issues, however exactly how one does that is where the challenge is. The fact is, Christianity is built upon eternal truths, which do not change. Yet such truths are dynamic in nature, in that they can adapt themselves and have relevance in any cultural context. Tradition is not static; each generation puts its own unique twist to it.

    Tradition is the framework from which one is able to look upon the world and draw conclusions. Chesterton compared it to a wall around a playground.

    Take for example the Neo-Thomists; they didn't literally call for a return to Medieval theology, but rather took the intellectual method of St. Thomas Aquinas and apply it to contemporary philosophical issues. Jacques Maritain did this rather well for example.

    The Church needs to speak to the world, but cannot be of this world. As Christ himself made clear, his kingdom is in the heavenly realm.


    (And I'm not talking "spiritual ideas" per se here, I'm talking about its view of reality and how science and the world works. The Young Earth Creationists, for example, have become a fringe group because of their insistence that the world is only 6000 years old.)
    Well YEC are criticised even among Christians. Most Christian denominations actually support the notion of "Theistic Evolution"; which as the name states is a more theistic interpretation of the evolutionary process.

    St. Augustine noted that the Bible's primary goal is to teach spiritual truths, not facts about the natural world.

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