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Through a glass, really, really darkly

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Silmarien, Feb 27, 2017.

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  1. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Yeah, despite my agnosticism about revelation, I think I'm closest to liberal Anglo-Catholicism these days--which seems big in Britain, but I'm not sure how well represented it is in this country, what with all the polarization between liberalism and traditionalism. My local Episcopal priest would probably qualify, but he's going to be leaving shortly, and I don't really expect to get so lucky a second time. :(

    Oh, I'm referring specifically to the fact that Proclus was a Platonic pagan and Augustine a Platonic Christian, nothing more than that. Though the late Neoplatonists were involved in trying to defend the authenticity of traditional religion and really started getting into theurgy. I can't say I'm interested in that angle at all, haha.

    The first one I came across was Ed Feser, due to his focus on philosophy of mind. Beyond that, W. Norris Clarke and the Spanish physicist-theologian Mariano Artigas.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, in the UK, the evangelical party is more influential. Justin Welby is from that particular kind of church background.

    Episcopalians in the US tend to have less distinctive party identities, though in general, English-style evangelicalism is not as common.

    As far as being agnostic about revelation goes, I think you just have to take Pascal's advice in his Pensées. And I would also add this bit of my own personal advice, you need to learn to appreciate the ambiguity of how faith actually is in the world of real people.

    In addition, as a Lutheran, my faith is far more external and interpersonal than strictly internal and private, which goes against some of the common connotations of religious faith we have in America. My internal world is not the object of my own faith, it's directed outwards towards the community that shares a story about Jesus, and as a consequence, about God and ultimate concerns. If you believe in your church, you can believe in Jesus as revelation because the Church is the witness to that revelation.
     
  3. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    I was specifically thinking of Rowan Williams, but I honestly don't even know what evangelicalism entails in British Anglicanism. I know N.T. Wright identifies as such, but he's not exactly what I would have expected of it at all!

    Yeah, I don't really expect divine visions or anything of the sort. I think it's primarily just an identity issue--if you've ever been in the cultured despiser of religion category, that's really difficult to shake off entirely. "Anything but Christianity" is pretty entrenched in my neck of the woods, and I definitely internalized that. Which complicates things in ways I don't know how to deal with. I cannot stop saying both yes and no. :(

    I think you're right to stress the communitarian aspect, though.
     
  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    British evangelicals in the Church of England are descended from the moderate Puritans. They are more like American evangelicals except it's more Calvinist/Reformed in tone, even if in the case of Wright it's more in the background. And generally they are much more moderate (like Wellby), although there are some conservative evangelicals in the CoE.

    There are also alot of charismatics in the CoE nowdays as well, much moreso than in the Episcopal Church. They focus more on religious experience than doctrines.

    I have a similar background in some ways, though I had a period where I identified as Buddhist.

    That "cultural despiser" and "yes and no" thing can be healthy so don't discount it or be intimidated by the idea that all Christians are comfortably so. Self-criticism is something Christians shouldn't be running away from, and in a fallen world, paradoxes and tensions are inevitable.
     
  5. John Bowen

    John Bowen Active Member Supporter

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    Enjoy your journey there is a truth that when the student is ready the teacher will appear.I have come across some false teachings , but that gave me discernment to know a true teaching when I found it. When I started studying the words , but more importantly the vibration behind the words of Jesus and his true teachings. Happy Birthday a present for you askrealjesus.com
     
  6. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    That post was written a year and a half ago ....
     
  7. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Okay, sure. I was wondering if it was related to theurgy but that simplifies things.

    I like Feser, and am more familiar with Clark's general school than Clarke himself. I don't have any strong recommendations for you given the fact that I don't understand you or your desires very well as of yet. My foundations come from Aristotelian and Dominican Thomists who lean in the philosophical direction. In that vein you might like folks like Brian Davies, Thomas Joseph White, Benedict Ashley, or Charles de Koninck. Richard J. Connell is more obscure but he does address modern science from an Aristotelian perspective. Unfortunately he opposes philosophical Marxism so that probably wouldn't work. ;) Really, though, Clarke's school would probably be your best bet (e.g. Marechal, Blondel, Gilson, Wojtyla...). That's actually a nut I would like to crack more fully myself.

    But if you are in New York there are always more personal options. One of the strongest worldwide Dominican provinces is headquartered at St. Vincent Ferrer, and there are nearly a dozen friars in that neck of the woods. I'm sure they would love to chat with you. Even more promising is a diamond in the rough: a French priest living in Fort Greene with a group called Heart's Home, Paul Anel. He has a strong Thomistic background from his studies in Paris but is also well-rounded. Heart's Home is heavily influenced by Giussani and his Communion and Liberation, as well as von Balthasar and von Speyr. Anel brings a Thomistic angle to that mix. He is also an artist and may still be the curator of the First Things gallery. Great guy.

    ...It is only by putting the question in a pointed form like this and so coming to see that behind the apparently secondary stumbling block of "then" and "now" lies the much deeper difficulty of Christian "positivism", the "limitation" of God to one point in history, that we can plumb the full depths of the question of Christian belief as it must be answered today. Can we still believe at all? Or rather--for the question must be posed in a more radical fashion--is it still permissible to believe? Have we not a duty to break with the dream and to face reality? The Christian of today must ask himself this question; he is not at liberty to remain satisfied with finding out that by all kinds of twists and turns an interpretation of Christianity can still be found that no longer offends anybody. When some theologian explains that "the resurrection of the dead" simply means that one must cheerfully set about the work of the future afresh every day, offense is certainly avoided. But are we then really still being honest? Is there not serious dishonesty in seeking to maintain Christianity as a viable proposition by such artifices of interpretation? Have we not much rather the duty, when we feel forced to take refuge in solutions of this sort, to admit that we have reached the end of the road? Are we not then bound to emerge from the fog and to face straightforwardly the abiding reality? Let us be quite plain about it: An "interpreted" Christianity of this kind that has lost all contact with reality implies a lack of sincerity in dealing with the questions of the non-Christian, whose "perhaps not" should worry us as seriously as we want the Christian "perhaps" to worry him (Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity).
    Ratzinger spends some time on this topic of "perhaps" and "perhaps not," but my library is in storage and this is all I could find from the preview, haha.

    ...Don't forget about "more depth." :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  8. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Oh, no worries about opposing Marxism. I'm not actually a Marxist, except insofar as anyone who criticizes capitalism is automatically a Marxist in some circles. ^_^

    That said, the serious traditionalists can be a bit of a problem. I do find it an interesting perspective, but as soon as the polemicism kicks in (and it usually does), it's time to set the book on fire. I don't run into this as much with Catholic as I did with Evangelical writers, but I'm careful with Feser, for example, because of it.

    Do you know which are the best works by some of the French writers? Particularly Maritain, but I'd heard of Gilson also. And any of the others, in case I stumble across them. Actually, I should ask you if you're familiar with any of the Latin Americans--I know that's liberation theology land, which has to make for an interesting environment.

    It's a very good quote. Actually, a good deal of my "both yes and no" does tie into that--some of the first scholars I read, back when I thought all the traditional theology was obviously crazy, were the extremely liberal ones. Spong, to be precise, and while I was reading him, I'd feel reassured by his safe and comfortable take on the religion, but as soon as I walked away, everything about it just seemed wrong, wrong, wrong.

    My current issues are probably somewhat related, if extremely unusual nowadays. I'm familiar enough with both Patristics and Platonism to see the strong connections between them, and I'm not sure what that means. As it would once have been easy to slide into a modernist reinterpretation of Christianity, now it would be easy to slip into a highly Platonized version and ignore the Judaic aspect entirely. Which would again be discarding the parts that I'm not comfortable with, but the Old Testament is something I seldom even want to touch. :( I am a 21st century Hellenizer!

    Well, that's a bit more depth now. Might be better to move over to private messages to avoid more would-be welcomers. ^_^
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Hehe, I was just kidding about the Marxism. But I was surprised to learn of metaphysical Marxism in Connell's writings. It actually makes sense in retrospect but it wasn't something I was expecting.

    I actually agree with this 100% and it is my biggest issue with Feser. Hart too, actually. ..And Hart and Feser together especially. :D The folks I gave you are not polemicists.

    Do you ever read Thomas himself? So long as you're not allergic to scholasticism I think he's great.

    Not especially, to be honest. My familiarity with Maritain and Gilson is largely topical and since they stretch traditional Thomism in some ways I was intentionally delaying until I had a firm foundation. I'm slowly moving there now (e.g. Caputo). Further, your proficiency with languages far exceeds my own, so I am largely at the mercy of translations. I have some books by Latin American Thomists but I would have to dig them up - and they weren't generally philosophical Thomists. I once wrote a paper on divine concurrentism and the Latin Americans were helpful in that, but I can't find the paper or bibliography! ...I just moved so everything is in disarray. :confused:

    Yep, I dislike Spong, but the funny thing about him is that basically all of my friends--most of whom are not even religious--also dislike him.

    Are you aware that you've put your finger on a significant Catholic-Protestant dispute? To be quick: Catholics favor Hellenization and Protestants don't. Here's a short passage from Ratzinger after he became Pope, defending Hellenization:

    [...] In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (cf. Acts 16:6-10) - this vision can be interpreted as a "distillation" of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

    In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and simply asserts being, "I am", already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates' attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy.[8]Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: "I am". This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria - the Septuagint - is more than a simple (and in that sense really less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity.[9] A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act "with logos" is contrary to God's nature.

    -Regensburg Lecture


    ...His larger conclusion is that the Hellenization of Judaism moving into Christianity was--far from being corrosive--deeply providential. I don't mean to completely assuage your doubts about excessive Hellenization, but it's a complicated matter.

    Hahaha - maybe at some point, but I think there is value in making your journey publicly available.
     
  10. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    The dialectical materialism, you mean? I ran into it once and it was a little bit like visiting an alternate dimension where people are above arguing for their position. I was decidedly unimpressed. ^_^

    Haha, yes. Their feuds can be pretty spectacular. ^_^

    In a way, I think Hart is actually the worse of the two, at least in that a bit of polemicism is woven into absolutely everything he writes, whereas Feser intentionally turns it on and off depending on what effect he's going for. So you at least get fair warning.

    I have not, actually! I've been meaning to get into the actual scholastics themselves at some point, though I wanted to reread Aristotle first.

    Oh, yes. I am very aware, haha. I'm obviously more sympathetic to the Catholic position, though if you go too far in the Greek direction, you can end up asking, "What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?" rather than the reverse. And you can take Platonism straight to a Spong style theology, where the whole religion is just an image of God rather than a literal truth. (Granted, it doesn't make too much sense in the context of the New Testament, unless you're going to pull a Carrier and insist that people couldn't tell the difference between visions and reality, but it's a seductive way around the "perhaps, perhaps not" problem.)

    I've almost exclusively stuck to Catholic natural theology up to now, but I think I'm going to have to really sit down and read Ratzinger one of these days. I've seen the argument that the Hellenization of Christianity was a matter of divine providence before, but mostly in the context of Radical Orthodoxy, which isn't the most rigorous of approaches.
     
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  11. soombing

    soombing Daniel • Amateur Photographer

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    Really? I'm sorry man...

    I'm just a new guy here... never really into forum before, so I don't know that there's "a date limit" to reply a post.

    Next time I'll try to read the date before I reply, I promise you that. God bless...
     
  12. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    It was certainly related to dialectical materialism but I believe it was taken even further than that. Strange stuff, to be sure!

    Right: if you're going to read Hart you just have to be ready for it. It can be fun in small doses, like a short article, but his ability to stay in contact with that tone for hundreds of pages is pretty spectacular. ^_^

    Okay. There's lots of natural theology in the first part of the Summa. Obviously the scholastic format takes some getting used to, but if you get the hang of it it can be fruitful. I would at least get your toes wet. Reading Thomists without reading Thomas is like reading Biblical scholars and exegetes without reading the Bible. Any synthesis requires a solid core. Granted, Thomism isn't the only game in town.

    True! Yeah, I don't mean to discount that danger; you come at things from a different angle than the majority. Was your upbringing religious?

    Ratzinger is excellent, and surprisingly hard to define. His roots are Platonic rather than Aristotelian, through Bonaventure and Augustine. Scholasticism was declining and out of vogue when he was coming of age. He is German and taught at Tubingen, and has clearly wrestled with the ideas of German philosophers and Protestant theologians. I love him, not least because his treatments are direct, concise, and relevant.

    If you want a light introduction, try one of Peter Seewald's four book-length interviews with Ratzinger. The last two occurred during his papacy, and Seewald ended up converting largely as a result of the ongoing dialogue.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  13. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Yeah, I enjoyed it at first, back when I still felt threatened by materialism, but now it just comes across as very tribalistic. I don't see how it helps with anything except making people think that everyone who disagrees with them is an idiot, which... yeah, there's already enough of that to go around.

    Nominally Protestant, but I rebelled against it pretty early, and then rebelled against all of modernism too. I was a pure Romantic, though the type who would wax poetic about the insignificance of humanity in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, my childhood "belief system" was an incoherent mixture of skepticism and Neo-Paganism. ^_^

    And that tension between skepticism and mysticism has definitely remained. Which is why the intellectual conversion to theism was so important, but beyond that is tricky. Particularly because the amount of research that would be required to assure my skeptical side that there's something there is pretty intimidating, and not as obviously worthy of attention as natural theology.

    Sounds like it's back to Patristics, in that case!

    But yes, I had heard that Scholasticism has had something of a rebirth recently. Perhaps because of analytic philosophy?
     
  14. ChrisThePenitent

    ChrisThePenitent New Member

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    Welcome, sister.
     
  15. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    True. And it's indicative of a growing cultural allergy to civil discourse.

    Where does the mysticism come from? And why precisely was the skepticism in tension with mysticism (in your case)?

    So: your skepticism about the existence and nature of God was overcome by your intellectual conversion to theism, and yet your inherent skepticism is preventing you from going further in a particular direction (e.g. Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Hinduism). Thus you've become somewhat interested in Pascal's Wager. How do you understand the Wager? Are there other ways forward too? I swear I've read you on the value of moving without waiting too long, and sort of living from the inside of a particular tradition? Or was that someone else? Either way it is also a Pascalian idea.

    (We've traveled many of the same roads, if with different shoes.)

    That's an interesting thesis and it makes sense chronologically, but I'm not so sure. There are certainly lots of mutual bedfellows between the two camps today and the movements buttress each other in various ways, but I believe the internal Catholic reform of Scholasticism may have played the larger part in the rebirth, in particular retrieving the thinkers and thought of less ossified periods. Also, Thomism itself began to stretch in various modern directions, opening up windows and shifting perspectives in even the neo-scholastic camps. My guess is that Catholics interested in analytic philosophy would be more interested in the nominalistic philosophy of the 14th and 15th centuries, and those Catholics who weren't English speakers probably paid the movement little mind. But you would never call strong nominalists Thomists, and it is for that reason that I am wary of conflating analytical philosophy with Thomism despite the fact that it does share some methodological affinities with scholasticism. (Maybe that's enough hair-splitting and pet peeves for today :D).

    Bringing in this:

    I found that quite interesting. I'm tempted to think that Gutting may be overlooking Augustine's apophatic awareness, but I want to hear your thoughts. To what extent is Derrida consciously or unconsciously partaking in apophatic theology or else what Merton called the 'mysticism of darkness'? To what extent is he actually departing from the via negativa?

    Edit: I see now that it was Caputo rather than Gutting who made that claim. I will have to read the whole article when I get a chance.

    P.S. I edited my last, perhaps too late, to include a bit about Peter Seewald's interviews with Ratzinger as a light and easy entry point into his person and thought.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  16. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    My interest in it, you mean? It was always there, though I moved East to West, from Taoism through Sufi Islam before finally becoming interested in Christian mysticism as well. My default state was pantheistic for about a decade--it was basically unexamined New Age stuff, but I think helpful in terms of approaching theistic ideas from outside the normal channels.

    The problem is that I can be surprisigly materialistic for someone who thinks that materialism is a complete disaster. I find mysticism really attractive, but the skeptic in me worries that it's just brain chemistry.

    My skepticism is really in conflict with everything, though. It's primarily an emotional rather than an intellectual issue--I could not rationally deny theism at this point, but it's not something that "feels" true, and so the skepticism rears up and starts smashing around. The fact that I have gotten myself wrapped around Christianity and cannot make heads or tails of it doesn't help. ^_^

    Oh, I would say that Pascal came first, actually. I got knocked around by Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky years ago, pretty much just said, "Hey, I'm not an atheist after all," and segued into some sort of incoherent pantheism for a while. I was interested in mysticism and meditation, but it was always something I was going to look into tomorrow, and tomorrow never came. Because low-intensity, low-commitment pantheism was never going to push me towards anything.

    There is only one revealed religion on the table for me: Christianity. I tried to keep my distance but failed miserably--it's just such a powerful mixture of contradictions that I was kind of drawn to it despite myself. And then finally, I had a bit of a meltdown after the 2016 election, abandoned secular humanism, and lunged at the Social Gospel instead. ^_^ I tried the Pascalian approach at first, but I didn't have any intellectual foundations at that point due to all of my religious influences being fideistic, and started grappling with the philosophical issues involved until I finally came across Hart and Feser and realized that there was more to natural theology than the Kalam and a lot of bad design arguments. Then I took a second look at the Greeks, started to actually understand Plato, ran across Plotinus for the first time, and started to worry that what I thought I saw in Christianity might have just been the echo of Neoplatonism.

    Now I have trouble moving in any direction except circles. I'm too Christianized to walk away, but it still "feels" like a myth. I compartmentalize, and end up taking a Platonic approach, where it's just the way I've chosen to conceptualize things, while simultaneously thinking that the religion falls apart if its claims aren't actually true. If I could approach it objectively, I'd be better off in terms of evaluating those truth claims, but that sort of objectivity is beyond me so I mostly get angry and refuse to leave the deep side of the natural theology pool. Which leaves me pretty lopsided without any clear idea of how to approach the practical side of things. I would like to take the Wager, but that seems impossible when I can't trust myself on the issue at all.

    I think this is a good question, and I haven't actually read Derrida firsthand so I can't really answer it. But I see it as something that comes up quite a bit with Wittgenstein as well, where what is actually a sort of apophatic mysticism gets taken for krypto-atheism instead. I think one of the problems is that people seldom really understand the via negativa, especially in those contexts where you see it outside of a revealed religion. I am unconvinced that the via negativa can work if you refuse to say anything at all about God--even invoking ideas like absolute simplicity and beyond being involve identifying the un-identifiable in some way, but it's impossible to reach into the head of an apophatic thinker to figure out precisely what they're thinking.

    Thanks for the heads up! We've got Salt of the Earth at the local library--is that one of those four interviews or something separate?
     
  17. Gell

    Gell Redeemed Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Welcome to CF!
    All I can say is pray about it and read the scriptures. Ask the Lord to guide you with a broken and contrite heart.
     
  18. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey.. so you've been here nearly two years and haven't found salvation yet?

    Im going to be simple here. You seem to be reading other people's opinions of God, the Bible, faith, whatever, and not asking God for His opinion.

    The God of the Bible is holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 37:20), omnipresent (Psalms 139:7-10), omniscient (Job 28:24; Psalms 147:4-5), omnipotent (Job 42:1-2), self-existent (Exodus 3:14; Psalms 36:9), eternal (Psalms 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12), immutable (Psalms 33:11; James 1:17), perfect (Deuteronomy 32:3-4), and infinite (Job 5:9; Job 9:10)

    This God is a living God who is involved/concerned with the lives of His people. As such you might try to stop leaning on you own understanding and your own intelligence to understand God and His word, and lean instead on His.. Proverbs 3:5-6

    1 Corinthians 1:27
    "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

    If it were me I'd just ask God to show me His Truth.
     
  19. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Eh, Mortimer Adler took at least 40 years to move from philosophical theism to Christianity. I don't see what's so surprising about this.

    I'm not really sure what you're suggesting.

    If you're equating reading the Bible with asking God for his opinion, I don't see how that gets around the problem of reading about other people's opinions. God is not literally a book, unless you're engaging in some really wild idolatry.

    If you mean asking directly via prayer, I'm not sure why you're assuming I don't do that already. I'd like divine confirmation that Christianity is true, but that is obviously out of my hands. Which is fine. I don't see why I should get everything I want anyway.
     
  20. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Great, thanks. I certainly sympathize, and this is why I am interested in psychology alongside mysticism. Yet what I've found is that mysticism has this tendency to dwarf modern science in a number of ways, and while there is some overlap between contemporary science and mysticism the dialogue seems to still be in nascent stages (Willoughby Britton's research is one example). Mysticism gets a bad rap these days, but its pedigree is impressive. I am fairly comfortable running skepticism and mysticism in parallel and letting them interact naturally. Historically mysticism hasn't been overly opposed to skepticism. It's an interesting topic.

    I have more Eastern familiarity with Buddhism than Taoism or Sufism, but what works are you familiar with? Rumi and the Tao Te Ching seem to be the standards. Were you reading primary or secondary sources?

    If it's any consolation I would say that such disorientation is normal and healthy. :) Are you familiar with C.S. Lewis' "It's alive!" metaphor related to the pantheism-theism transition? It's found in his book Miracles. God is without a doubt the most frustrating part of theism. ^_^ I am reminded of Eli's words, "It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him" (1 Samuel 3:18).

    Thanks, this definitely counts as "greater depth"! The Wager tends to strengthen with study and I much prefer the longer reading of it in the context of the Pensees rather than the clipped version that gets passed about. I also gravitated towards that 'powerful mixture of contradictions' which Chesterton describes so well.

    Natural theology runs deep and as you've probably found it far transcends apologetics. The depth makes it inaccessible to most, such as those who might say, "You've been here nearly two years and haven't found salvation yet?" :D It is especially appealing insofar as it retains value even in the midst of skepticism, but it doubtless leads to more substantial considerations.

    This weekend I have access to my books and you've convinced me to dig up Plato's dialogues!

    What do you have in mind when you say, "the practical side of things"?

    That sort of objectivity is beyond me as well. I try. I care a great deal about truth. But at the end of the day it's just not a math problem. For a long time I've been meaning to read Cardinal Newman's Grammar of Assent, though it always carries with it the danger of excessive self-consciousness, especially for someone whose sail is at full mast.

    I think I understand your point, but be cautious in thinking that you have to leave 'the deep side of the natural theology pool' when it comes to practical issues. You don't strike me as the type, and that's wonderful. Be that as it may, it obviously doesn't mean you need to consciously read natural theology into each moment.

    (Cf. Psalm 139:7-12, Mark 4:37-38)

    It's a tricky question. Caputo addresses it to some extent in the paragraphs beginning, "A lot of the..." Interesting interview.

    I think you're right. You're certainly in agreement with Thomas. "Therefore we must hold a different doctrine—viz. that these names signify the divine substance, and are predicated substantially of God, although they fall short of a full representation of Him..." (ST Ia, Q 13, A 2).

    Yes, I believe that was the first interview and was first published in German in 1996. Also, the article on Derrida and your 'practicality' conundrum obliquely called to mind one of my favorite encyclicals, Ratzinger's Spe Salvi.

    Blessings,
    Zip
     
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