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  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Galileo thought heliocentrism didn't contradict scripture, because he lacked a literal interpretation, and I never said he wasn't a Catholic.
    Catholicism has never taught a literal interpretation of scriptures. In fact much of Christianity grew out of the allegorical traditions of Hellenic Judaism.


    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.
    I've had numerous discussions about his book elsewhere. Freeman himself admits his book was not intended as an assault upon Christianity per se.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Catholicism has never taught a literal interpretation of scriptures. In fact much of Christianity grew out of the allegorical traditions of Hellenic Judaism.




    I've had numerous discussions about his book elsewhere. Freeman himself admits his book was not intended as an assault upon Christianity per se.
    We're talking about Galileo's conflict with the church and fundamentalism, not Catholicism. And biblical fundamentalism continues to have an effect, though it's waning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    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.



    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.




    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.
    You have to come to terms with the fact that the bible can't have the same relevance forever. Every year, new history gets written, and the past gets pushed further back. No one is trying to say to just forget about it all.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    We're talking about Galileo's conflict with the church and fundamentalism, not Catholicism.
    ok :confused:

    And biblical fundamentalism continues to have an effect, though it's waning.
    Don't know about that. Even the latest studies shows that fundamentalism and Pentecostalism are growing more at the expense of mainline Protestant churches. Of course that growth is also fueling the growth in atheism.

    So we do have an interesting irony here: both atheism and fundamentalism are growing, and literally are feeding off each others' growth.

    You have to come to terms with the fact that the bible can't have the same relevance forever. Every year, new history gets written, and the past gets pushed further back. No one is trying to say to just forget about it all.
    That's only true if one takes the Bible primarily as a history book, and even then. Classical historians like Herodotus, Plutarch, etc are still used as primary sources within historical studies.

    The primary goal of the Bible is teaching moral and spiritual truths, and those have perennial significance. Just like the philosophical insights of Plato and Aristotle.

    You have to remember that there's two major constants in history: change and continuity. You can't just stress one or the other, you have to take both into account in order to have a fuller view of the world and where it's going.

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    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    ok :confused:



    Don't know about that. Even the latest studies shows that fundamentalism
    and Pentecostalism are growing more at the expense of more mainline Protestant churches. Of course that growth is also fueling the growth in atheism.

    So we do have an interesting irony here: both atheism and fundamentalism are growing, and literally are feeding off each others' growth.



    That's only true if one takes the Bible primarily as a history book, and even then. Classical historians like Herodotus, Plutarch, etc are still used as primary sources within historical studies.

    The primary goal of the Bible is teaching moral and spiritual truths, and those have perennial significance. Just like the philosophical insights of Plato and Aristotle.
    You originally said that Christianity hasn't been a hinderance towards scientific endeavors, but Galileo is just one case that proves otherwise. Even today, with stem cell research, you have fundamentalists attacking it.

    I'm sure overall fundamentalism has been waning, I'd like to see a study that says it's on the rise compared to previous decades and centuries, when the average person had a much more literal interpretation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    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.
    Let me rephrase what you seem to be arguing: Christian tradition and the Bible SHOULD be a thing of the present and not just of the past. THAT is your thesis, isn't it?

    But the whole problem being discussed here (and the reason I think this thread even exists) is that the Bible is ceasing to be relevant in the same way it used to be, in the eyes of culture. It is the ACTUAL decline of Christianity's relevance as it used to be practiced that is driving the concern about the conservative faithfuls.

    Yes: Christianity as practiced USED to be relevant. Now it is lessening in relevance. Why? And is this a good thing or not? That is how I have been viewing this discussion, based on the original question.

    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.
    I agree. I think the debate is occurring around which truths are static/eternal and which ones are culturally dependent.

    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.
    I think tradition is useful as a reference to the past -- a hard-coded experience/database of what has worked prior (and what didn't work) and the ways in which the Divine has seemingly made itself manifest. I don't agree that it has to be the foundation, that's assuming too much -- that just because the ham roast fit in the pan right for twenty years, it should continue to fit, and if it doesn't, there is something wrong with the ham or the pan, or that we should even be eating ham above other meat, or ham should even be cooked in a pan at all. (We can't judge much at all except that for twenty years, people cooked ham in pans, and it worked out and was useful... but it doesn't necessitate the "best future outcome" or even how we SHOULD be cooking our meat in the future.)

    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.
    I think this is the sort of approach that is needed, except there's not any real certainty that we've got the "intellectual approach" right or that we can extract something of value from Aquinas for our particular time and place. That is an assumption rather than a logical conclusion. We don't know that Aquinas' process is still relevant for sure, we just know that it worked at that time and produced some valuable insights, so we can try to distill something and use it ... but that doesn't ensure it WILL be of use right now.

    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.
    I think actually you'll know people by their fruit. I know the faithful (in my mind) when I see them, they operate under different rules than the culture does... just like you can tell a healthy person from a diseased one just by looking and being around them. Even if you cannot pinpoint exactly what is good or bad, you definitely see the difference.

    The spiritually faithful are different from those are in spiritual decline NOT because they're TRYING to separate themselves, but because by their very nature of who they are they ARE different automatically. So all of this adherence to this precept and that precept seems to me to be merely a lot of theological jibjabber, it's arguing over ideas, like a square trying to prove why it thinks the other guy is a pyramid and thus is not acceptable.

    Just look at them. You can tell when someone is operating under different rules (and in the context of Christianity, this would be the "rules of the Kingdom of God") rather than typical self-serving rules (which in Christianity is the "kingdom of the world").

    And many of the loudest people who argue that they're in the kingdom of God, by the way they argue and how they treat others and the rules of engagement they assume, are actually showing themselves to be part of the kingdom of the world... and vice versa.

    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.
    I know there are denoms that support this, I'll be honest and say I happened to be immersed in Christian sects where evolution was not acceptable, even if people didn't accept a 7-day creation week per se, and it was all God or nothing, and theistic evolution was decried as an unholy compromise with the devil. So while I know it's prominent elsewhere, I haven't had enough experience broadly to get a feel for how widespread it is.

    I'll even go far enough to say most of the people I grew up with were never very educated, so they never even really cared to figure it out, they could just hold POVs that were inconsistent and dismiss out of hand any challenges by just quoting broad Scripture references. In the process, their faith actually was more a hodgepodge of social folklore and convenient truths, but it was still labeled as true Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I'm sure overall fundamentalism has been waning, I'd like to see a study that says it's on the rise compared to previous decades and centuries, when the average person had a much more literal interpretation.
    My impression is that fundamentalism as a whole is waning in the states; however, its proponents are becoming much more entrenched and vocal because they're fighting for their lives.

    Same way with the conservative movements; they view it as a culture war, so they hunker down and dig in. This is why all the "anti-gay-marriage" things are being pushed through now, people are viewing it as a large battle... and there's also a sense that they have to get the laws through now before their population dwindles to the point of not being able to stop gay marriage from becoming a widespread reality.

    in this sense, I think the fear and intensity expressed by traditional movements is support the thread topic, which is that the old school is definitely perceiving that it is becoming irrelevant. When it was relevant, it had no reason to throw its weight around because it only reflected the beliefs of the culture at large, and they didn't have to fight for anything. People only act this way when they feel threatened, not when they feel they're in control.
    "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

  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    You originally said that Christianity hasn't been a hinderance towards scientific endeavors, but Galileo is just one case that proves otherwise.
    Actually no. The Galileo affair had little if any impact upon scientific development. I already noted J. L. Heilbron's study on the issue.

    Even today, with stem cell research, you have fundamentalists attacking it.
    That's true only in regards to embryonic stem cell research. I have yet to see any significant religious opposition to adult stem cell research, in fact it seems they openly support it as a more reliable alternative to embryonic stem cells.

    I'm sure overall fundamentalism has been waning, I'd like to see a study that says it's on the rise compared to previous decades and centuries, when the average person had a much more literal interpretation.
    Well here's from the much touted "America becoming less Christian" survey which states:
    "The survey also found that "born-again" or "evangelical" Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to "mainline" congregations such as the Episcopal or Lutheran churches has fallen.

    One in three Americans consider themselves evangelical, and the number of people associated with mega-churches has skyrocketed from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in the latest survey.

    The rise in evangelical Christianity is contributing to the rejection of religion altogether by some Americans, said Mark Silk of Trinity College.
    This doesn't surprise me, since the history of religion never moves in one direction. It has it's high and low moments. In the 18th century, there was a massive assault upon religious beliefs in the form of Enlightenment thought; yet in wake of the anti-clerical violence of the French Revolution there was a considerable revival of religion.

    As Fr. Andrew Greeley put it; religion is always declining and reviving.

  7. #157
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Actually no. The Galileo affair had little if any impact upon scientific development. I already noted J. L. Heilbron's study on the issue.



    That's true only in regards to embryonic stem cell research. I have yet to see any significant religious opposition to adult stem cell research, in fact it seems they openly support it as a more reliable alternative to embryonic stem cells.



    Well here's from the much touted "America becoming less Christian" survey which states:


    This doesn't surprise me, since the history of religion never moves in one direction. It has it's high and low moments. In the 18th century, there was a massive assault upon religious beliefs in the form of Enlightenment thought; yet in wake of the anti-clerical violence of the French Revolution there was a considerable revival of religion.

    As Fr. Andrew Greeley put it; religion is always declining and reviving.
    The chuch attacked heliocentrism. No amount of apologetics can work around that. Galileo was forced to renounce it and spend his last years in house arrest. That's a very large assault on science. The church wielded a large amount of power at that time.

    All of this happened because the bible writers weren't privy to the correct facts. Fundamentalists had good reason to go against science, the bible states: "the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved." Chronicles 16:30 "[the Lord] Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever." Psalm 104:5 "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." Ecclesiastes 1:5.

    And as I thought, evangelicalism has seen an upswing, while overall literalist interpretation is on the decline, with the Religious Right further turning some people off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    My impression is that fundamentalism as a whole is waning in the states; however, its proponents are becoming much more entrenched and vocal because they're fighting for their lives.

    Same way with the conservative movements; they view it as a culture war, so they hunker down and dig in. This is why all the "anti-gay-marriage" things are being pushed through now, people are viewing it as a large battle... and there's also a sense that they have to get the laws through now before their population dwindles to the point of not being able to stop gay marriage from becoming a widespread reality.

    in this sense, I think the fear and intensity expressed by traditional movements is support the thread topic, which is that the old school is definitely perceiving that it is becoming irrelevant. When it was relevant, it had no reason to throw its weight around because it only reflected the beliefs of the culture at large, and they didn't have to fight for anything. People only act this way when they feel threatened, not when they feel they're in control.
    I think they will inevitably lose the culture war, as the generations that are coming of age now don't have a problem with gays getting married and other culture war issues. Some Christians have it in their mind that they have to compete with Muslim extremism on the fundamentalist front. I think there will be several last stands here and there.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Let me rephrase what you seem to be arguing: Christian tradition and the Bible SHOULD be a thing of the present and not just of the past. THAT is your thesis, isn't it?
    Well my thesis is that the Bible has relevance for the past, present, and future.

    But the whole problem being discussed here (and the reason I think this thread even exists) is that the Bible is ceasing to be relevant in the same way it used to be, in the eyes of culture. It is the ACTUAL decline of Christianity's relevance as it used to be practiced that is driving the concern about the conservative faithfuls.
    That is true in many ways. As I see it, we're moving into a new era in the history of the faith. This presents new challenges but also new promises for the faithful. Clinging to the past is a loser game, and that's not what I'm advocating here. What I am saying is that the past has much to teach us in regards to how to face these new challenges and bring forth these new promises. I agree with the argument that the closest historical parallel we have today is probably 4th-5th centuries AD.

    The faithful in the past had to face great challenges(many even greater than we're facing today) and still pulled through. After all, Christ vowed that the gates of Hell shall not prevail upon the Church. And remember ours is primarily a religion of the resurrection; so even if Christianity does die, it'll be reborn.

    I still laugh about the time Tom Brokaw stated that the pedophile scandal was the greatest crisis the Catholic Church has ever faced. Really? Much more than the fall of Rome? The Protestant Reformation? Or how about when Napoleon's forces marched into Rome in 1799, forcing the Pope to flee. Much public opinion at the time did proclaim that event as the official end of the Catholic Church. Well they were wrong.

    Yes: Christianity as practiced USED to be relevant. Now it is lessening in relevance. Why? And is this a good thing or not? That is how I have been viewing this discussion, based on the original question.
    Well as I stated, the new situation presents new challenges and new promises for the faithful. Many "conservatives" whine about this and long for the good ol'days. Well the good ol'days(which were not that good anyways) are gone and are not coming back.

    I'm not nostalgic for the Christendom of the past(however much I may admire it) but rather I long for a post-modern, post-secular Christendom of the future.

    What's becoming more and more the situation now is that those who are Christian are so because they actually believe in its tenets, not just simply because they were raised to be so. And those who do become Christian are usually looking for a more authentic form of the faith; not some watered-down version meant to appease modern sensibilities.

    What I want is a creative rediscovery of our lost faith and heritage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    The chuch attacked heliocentrism. No amount of apologetics can work around that.
    I don't have to rely upon "apologetics", I can simply rely upon the latest research within the field of History of Science.

    And as I thought, evangelicalism has seen an upswing, while overall literalist interpretation is on the decline, with the Religious Right further turning some people off.
    Nice try at stacking the deck. Even as the polls showed, 75% of Americans still identify themselves as Christians and a more and more of them are fundamentalists. So no, Christianity is not dying here.

    As I said, history does not move in one direction.

    I'm pretty worn out now, so I'll have to delve into issues of the relationship between faith and culture at another time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I don't have to rely upon "apologetics", I can simply rely upon the latest research within the field of History of Science.



    Nice try at stacking the deck. Even as the polls showed, 75% of Americans still identify themselves as Christians and a more and more of them are fundamentalists. So no, Christianity is not dying here.

    As I said, history does not move in one direction.
    Has your latest research in science revealed that the earth revolves around the sun yet?

    I'd still like to see a study that says we have more fundamentalists overall now than we did decades and centuries ago. Most Americans still identify as Christian, but bible literalism has declined. No one is using the Bible to support slavery or burn witches and attack heretics anymore. Christianity used to dominate a large portion of people's lives compared to now. The trend is simple.

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