Re: [asa] Re: pendulum swings

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 19:30:51 EST

Well -put! While Aquinas was a great respecter of common sense, he
didn't put up with shabby argumentation whether it was for or against
any particular cause. Wish I could say more, but I have a local ASA
chapter meeting (of all things!) to run off to.

one more thing... in light of your pertinent perceptions below, it is
more Bernie's sentiment that 'Christianity ought to be rational', which
reminds me of Chesterton & Aquinas. But you are right that they
actually then DO go on to make careful logical sense of it.


Schwarzwald wrote:
> 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 19:31:16 2009

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