Re: [asa] Re: pendulum swings

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 18:12:44 EST

Heya Merv,

As someone who's a big admirer of Aquinas and Aristotle (both in terms of
specific argument and general reputation/approach), I'd like to point a few
things out.

Aquinas (and certainly Aquinas as viewed through Chesterton's eyes) had a
lot of respect for common sense. And certainly Aquinas thought - against the
views of some other noted Christians and theists, keep in mind - that God
was knowable by reason, because reason and logic were hallmarks not only of
thinking, but of God Himself. There's a lot to be said for common sense, and
practical reasoning. In fact, for as much as I admire certain philosophers
and metaphysics in general, I think Christianity is often best served by
dispensing with deeper academic talk, and simply approaching questions in a
straightforward, "man on the street" way.

But Aquinas never really wrote for the man on the street. He defended common
sense through very systematic, step-by-step argumentation - working on point
after point in detail, considering possible objections and replying to them.
He didn't simply say "X is common sense, so it must be true!" His praise for
logic and reason wasn't another way of saying "God better be the way I want
him to be, and better be fast and easy to understand too!" He demonstrated
what he meant by holding those things in esteem, and the demonstration is
important precisely because talk is cheap. And he also demonstrated that
actually holding these things in esteem, and seeking to think rationally and
logically does not come easily, and does not come quickly.

Keep in mind, you don't have to be an intellectual giant to be pretentious.
In fact, you don't have to be very smart at all.

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 4:48 PM, <> wrote:

> Having nearly finished a biography about Aquinas written by Chesterton, I
> can't
> let this go unanswered. For as hard as everybody is being on Bernie, it
> should
> be remembered that he sounds an awful lot like Aquinas when he demands that
> God
> be logical and rational. Now before you all get frizzled to a tizzie over
> my
> comparison of Bernie with Aquinas, please hear me out: I'm not elevating
> Bernie
> unduly (I think he needs much progress before his arguments will impress
> any of
> you ---and rightly so.) And I'm not trying to pull Aquinas down --he truly
> was
> an intellectual giant (compared to most any of us) so far as I can see.
> But
> having said all that ---St. Thomas was one of the most un-pretentious
> intellectual giants that ever was (looking at him through Chesterton's
> Catholic
> eyes anyway), and had a tremendous respect for the common sense of the "man
> on
> the street" as opposed to high-brow philosophers in lofty halls. It was
> Aquinas
> that demanded that Christianity meet the world on the world's terms and
> meet
> humans on human terms beginning with what we could begin to know about our
> world
> using our ordinary five senses. And Aquinas was thought by some to be a
> heretic
> for his refusal to stand up against the science or worldly knowledge of the
> day
> (which in that time was Aristotle) and in fact, he was apparently
> responsible
> for much of the integration of those same things in his day. So, in
> Bernie's
> simple demands for something rational, I hear echoes of Aquinas. Of
> course,
> Aquinas never gave up on God or denied his faith so far as we know; and I
> in no
> way defend your having done that, Bernie. But as others here have stated,
> you
> are far from the first to demand a rational world and a down-to-earth
> Christianity.
> --Merv
> Quoting Murray Hogg <>:
> > Cameron Wybrow wrote:
> > > Anyone can refute Ken Ham, Duane Gish, Henry Morris, or the people who
> > > post on Answers in Genesis. I could already do that in my last year of
> > > high school. The fact that Bernie can take candy from babies (so to
> > > speak) doesn't prove that he is a theological force to be reckoned
> > > with. When I am convinced that Bernie has read, all the way through,
> > > even one book by any theological author who is actually worth reading,
> > > and has actually understood it, then I will take his "threat" to
> > > Christianity seriously.
> >
> > Hi Cameron,
> >
> > Yet the greatest "enemies" of Christianity have always been - from
> Christian
> > perspective - the theologically ignorant.
> >
> > True also in the sciences.
> >
> > It's not people with an education we need worry about.
> >
> > Blessings,
> > Murray
> >
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> >
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Received on Mon Nov 30 18:13:16 2009

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