Category Archives: Philosophy

Governments, democracy, and the Truth

Yesterday, we had a relatively good sermon about Catholics and the government. The main theme was a Catholics responsibility towards government is trumped by a Catholics responsibility towards God.

Yet two (philosophical) points formed in my mind as I was listening:

Can we still speak about the government as an external reality in a democracy??
In a representational democracy (or an indirect democracy) am I not the government in the act of voting?? (Allow me to remind everyone that Australia is a constitutional monarchy.) Jesus’ point still stands but it needs to be adapted to a modern situation. Conversion includes a desire for a just society! 

My point is that our vote counts! No more voting along party line but along issue lines!

Is the government really interested in truth?? Or just in freedom??
I think this is a central philosophical point. The recent debate in Victoria had little to do with truth but had a lot to do with freedom. Maybe naively we assume that people are interested in truth? I think the modern mind assumes that truth is the outcome of an act that has been undertaken freely. 

That does not mean we adopt a modern world-view and assume truth is unimportant. But it means we need to evangelize people into the idea of truth being important in their life! We need to proclaim again that there are objective guiding principles to life.

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Filed under Personal, Philosophy

Analogy: Obedience

Obedience (to the Church) is like medicine.

One does not take medicine for the pleasure but for the effect. The medicine is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The act of taking is an expression of the believe that the medicine can have the desired effect.

Obedience is not an end in itself but the expression of a deeper reality. Obedience is the outward expression of the believe that the Holy Spirit works through the Church.

Not perfect, I know, but what analogy is. So the post is more personal but I thought I would throw it out there.

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Filed under Philosophy, Theology

Reference Point: a suggestion

I have recently discussed the use of Sola Scriptura as a reference point for ecumenical apologetics. I do not think that a narrow Biblicistic attitude is helpful in exploring the differences that still separate us. I also think that it is most unhelpful to accuse each other of all sorts of heresies and prophesy eternal calamities. So it falls to me to suggest another Reference Point.

So my suggestion as a Reference Point are the three commonly accepted symbols of the Faith:

  1. The Apostles’ Creed
  2. The Nicene Creed
  3. The Athanasian Creed

There are some issues (filique etc) but these are commonly accepted statements of faith that have a continuity of use.

What do you think?

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Filed under Philosophy, Theology

Some logical considerations

I am not the most logical of people, neither do I have any academic training in logic. Yet,I have been musing on the line of arguement sometimes used for the Extraordinary Usage (which, by the way, I have nothing against):

Statement:
All Norvus Ordo Masses / Parishes are stuffed.
Ipso facto, all TLM (even outside of Communion) Masses / Parishes are okay.

My concern is that in the above one needs only to find one Norvus Ordo Mass / Parish that is not stuffed. (Unless one, of course, considers the use of the Norvus Ordo in itself to be invalid. In that case, one would not be a Catholic!) Yet one needs to show that all TLM Masses / Parishes are beyond reproach. It is a dangerous game to play: is there never ever any departure from the rubrics within communities that use the Extraordinary Usage exclusively? Are all Extraordinary Usage Masses done according to the 1962 Missal with solid sermons and sound Catholic teaching?

It brings me back to an issue I have raised before: why have the Extraordinary Usage?

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Defining Traditionalism

Finish the sentence: Traditionalism is ….

Here is my attempts (trying to cover quite a few religious traditions and seeing the term as primarily derogative) that are not all serious:

  1. …. a worldview where the perceived defined self-identity of a community is being changed by shifting ways of expressing and interpreting that same self-identity.
  2. …. an attitude defined by ‘new’ bad, ‘old’ good.
  3. …. old people who hanker for the good old days.
  4. …. what the religious leaders did and taught when I was growing up.
  5. …. what I say it is so just leave me alone.
  6. …. for those who cover up their ignorance with a religious reason.

Further, is biblicism and fundamentalism a form of Protestant traditionalism??

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Filed under Philosophical Theology, Philosophy

The “I” and “we” discussion

Here is something I found in the Code of Canon Law in relation to the I/We discussion:

212 §3 [The Christian faithful] have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

I will the practical workings-out of the above for someone else to explain!

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The sciences and epistemology

Even the sciences are vulnerable to dishonesty at precisely the point where one least expects it – quantitative analysis. For eleven years John Bailar (chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at McGill University) served as statistics consultant to The New English Journal of Medicine, during which time he reviewed nearly four thousand articles. He chronicles how scientists practice deliberate deception through the selective reporting of data – their version of half-truths. They accomplish this, for example, by failing to inform readers of the weak spots in their data, selecting data in ways biased to their own interests, failing to give credit to earlier work or placing reliable data in a context that causes readers to draw misleading (usually optimistic) conclusions about the success and significance of the project being reported.

W. Jay Wood
Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous.

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Filed under Philosophy