Traditional cosmologies?
#11
(11-21-2015, 08:19 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 07:37 PM)Melkite Wrote: I think that's what I like about scientism.  It burns up the chaff of pious idiocy and only what must necessarily be true of God -what it can't burn up- remains.

This very point is central to the thesis of Hans Urs von Balthasar that I posted in his essay, "The Fathers, the Scholastics and Ourselves," which I linked here.  He states that the elimination of the chaff, leaving us with a stark "worldly world," forces us to come to pure faith, which is, in fact, extremely valuable and salvific.

On the other hand, formerbuddhist, I understand and sympathize with your love of the numinous.  Temperamentally, I am the same way.  I would also like to second your recommendation of Fr. Seraphim Rose's book on creation.  I have this book.  What a treasure it is.  With their theoria, the Fathers were able to see into creation itself -- all the logoi.  It's not necessarily opposed to von Balthasar's thesis.  But this kind of seeing requires much purgation and prayer.  Until then, and afterwards, we need to walk by faith, the purer the better.

I read that thesis you linked to and found it interesting and insightful. The whole idea of logoi is itself an interesting topic. Pure faith reaching out in the dark for our Savior  is very appealing to me. I suppose that's what the Jesus Prayer is all about in a way, or the rhythm of the Hail Mary--- pray for us sinners, now and at the  hour of our death.
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#12
(11-21-2015, 08:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: You don't have to “accept scientism”. Its simply an ideology (its basically materialism with a bit of epistemology). If you're interested in the subject I can't recommend David Hart's “The Experience of God” highly enough. Also, Edward Feser's works.

About your original question, I don't have an opinion on that matter, except the general belief that Creation is also Epiphany, as St. Paul himself suggests and as we confess every Mass as we enter into the Canon—and not in the Calvinist way that its only showing God's power—and that even the material world might be bigger than we imagine. Of course, these are too broad beliefs to answer you question in any helpful way.
I've been looking for a time to read up on that, but I never find it. I've read bits and pieces of Wolfgang Smith's books, but never studied them properly. They're very interesting if you want a traditionalist (in some sense) Catholic view but given by a mathematical physicist.

That's interesting ,Renatus, thank you. I shall look up those books you mentioned.
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#13
(11-21-2015, 07:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I'm neither educated nor an academic so I'm more interested in the stories, the pious customs and the rhythm of the liturgical year as lived out in a worldview than anything else. Proving which cosmology ( if any) accurately reflects reality,or trying to be an apologist for the supposed reasonableness of Roman Catholicism are above my pay grade and outside my competence. 

Doesn't the thought that you could be wrong about it scare you?  The thought that I might have it wrong terrifies me.
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#14
When I listened to a talk by Fr. Rippinger on the orders of Angels he talked about how the dominions were the Angels who moved the celestial bodies. We may be able to observe things through scientific discovery but I think behind it all is divine will and powers that we cannot observe.


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#15
I don't really see much point in comparing classical and medieval views of the world to the modern technological one in an unnuanced way. First, I think we need to understand that science does not describe the thing in itself or in any way give us access to some sort of absolute reality. Rather, it is simply one way in which beings can manifest themselves to us. In particular, it is a way of seeing that is oriented toward abstraction, calculation, and control. With this in mind, I would say that the difference between the technological worldview and the medieval Christian one cannot be accounted for with a simplistic narrative of progress. In fact, the two worldviews (for lack of a better term) are incommensurable in their basic assumptions and ends and so cannot really be compared in the way that whiggish types often do. After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.
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#16
(11-21-2015, 09:02 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.

In his essay, von Balthasar locates it in Christ's self-emptying and downward descent, and in our creatureliness and the obedience this entails.

His homily, "Into the Dark with God," makes the same basic points.
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#17
(11-21-2015, 09:02 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't really see much point in comparing classical and medieval views of the world to the modern technological one in an unnuanced way. First, I think we need to understand that science does not describe the thing in itself or in any way give us access to some sort of absolute reality. Rather, it is simply one way in which beings can manifest themselves to us. In particular, it is a way of seeing that is oriented toward abstraction, calculation, and control. With this in mind, I would say that the difference between the technological worldview and the medieval Christian one cannot be accounted for with a simplistic narrative of progress. In fact, the two worldviews (for lack of a better term) are incommensurable in their basic assumptions and ends and so cannot really be compared in the way that whiggish types often do. After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.

Is this assertion also historically situated?

Anyway, I see your MacIntyrean approach and respond it MacIntyreanish myself: one doesn't need an absolute vantage point to encompass all possible views in order to criticize one or the other (and I don't know if I'd call them historically situated, after all, there's nothing stopping one of adopting a medieval view today. There's no necessity of why one holds this view today just because it is today), but one needs only to exhaust one system, to find it lacking by its own reasonings, to find paradoxes, etc.

I think there was a thread about relativism somewhere here, maybe we should take this up there.
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#18
(11-21-2015, 08:49 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 07:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I'm neither educated nor an academic so I'm more interested in the stories, the pious customs and the rhythm of the liturgical year as lived out in a worldview than anything else. Proving which cosmology ( if any) accurately reflects reality,or trying to be an apologist for the supposed reasonableness of Roman Catholicism are above my pay grade and outside my competence. 

Doesn't the thought that you could be wrong about it scare you?  The thought that I might have it wrong terrifies me.


Actually no, it doesn't scare me at all. When I was converted I really experienced Jesus Christ in a way that I cannot deny. Of course it sounds nonsensical to many,and of course there's absolutely no way to prove this experience in some scientific way to you or anyone else, but it has kept me going and continues to be a source of direction and grace for me.

I guess I'm one that can live with some uncertainty in life. I prefer throwing my hat in the ring for a sacramental Christian worldview even though ( and I'm sure others here would vehemently disagree with me) I do not believe it is in any way provable or disprovable.  The dark journey of faith has its own light in a way,it's more a luminous darkness than anything else. At heart I accept the Faith based on my own experience, intuition and on the authority of the Church, not on anything else. There's something beautiful about the old rite of baptism where one is questioned:

What do you ask of the Church?
Faith
For what?
Eternal Life

Those  aren't the exact words but that's the gist of it if I remember correctly.  We are in a certain sense born into both the life of grace and the content of our Faith by the Church. It's enough for me even though it can at times be a difficult and dark road.

The thing is even science has its mysteries. Life itself is mysterious,especially the life of Faith.

I don't worry about being wrong. What could the consequences possibly be for being wrong, especially granting that the Richard Dawkins view of the world is true? There's no hell in the atheist scientific view, only a meaningless universe with randomly arisen apes fighting, fornicating and rotting in a cosmic soup. It's depressing but there aren't consequences. I'd rather be wrong and have my stories of the Real Presence, the mystery of the Incarnation and a God who became man and stories about myrrh streaming icons, Suns dancing over Portugal and the Sacred Heart than live believing in nothing but what can be quantified, dissected or put into formulae or under a microscope. 

I guess you have your own crosses to bear Melkite, and perhaps dealing with doubt and uncertainty are some of them. I've got my own for sure, but doubts and fears about having the wrong faith are not ones I bear. I've always admired your honesty though. In some ways it must be hard, I mean you carry within you the doubts of modern man, and yet you still carry on. Something keeps you going. There must be something that keeps that small mustard seed or small steady flame of faith going within you.

One thing that helps me is a consistent daily prayer life according to some form of the Office. You're an Eastern guy like myself, have you ever tried praying the basic hours from a Horologion or Prayerbook like the Jordanville, the Old Orthodox Prayerbook or the ones put out by the HTM monastery or Eastern Catholic publishers?

And finally may I ask, what is it that terrifies you about possibly being wrong?
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#19
Its been a bit of a motto of mine that nothing is truly provable. Things which were once considered facts have been "proven" wrong in the past and it will happen again. In a world of science divorced from faith, scientific "truths" are nothing more than fads blowing away like leaves in autumn only to be replaced in the spring. I would rather live in blissful faith and be wrong in the end any day  rather than accepting the cold, meaningless, despair that is intrinsic to atheistic scientism. Science simply does not matter. All that truly matters is what it can teach us about God and about ourselves.
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#20
(11-21-2015, 09:48 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Actually no, it doesn't scare me at all. When I was converted I really experienced Jesus Christ in a way that I cannot deny. Of course it sounds nonsensical to many,and of course there's absolutely no way to prove this experience in some scientific way to you or anyone else, but it has kept me going and continues to be a source of direction and grace for me.

If it's not too personal, would you mind telling that story?

[/quote]One thing that helps me is a consistent daily prayer life according to some form of the Office. You're an Eastern guy like myself, have you ever tried praying the basic hours from a Horologion or Prayerbook like the Jordanville, the Old Orthodox Prayerbook or the ones put out by the HTM monastery or Eastern Catholic publishers? [/quote]

I have a Melkite prayerbook that includes a very basic version of matins, vespers and compline, and one published by the Antiochian archdiocese that includes all the hours but is whittled down for lay use.  I probably should get back into praying them, especially Compline.  The prayers of repentance and supplication for mercy in Compline are beautiful.  But I haven't prayed them in a while, and I always feel guilty praying them if I don't believe them fully, even if I have doubt, like I'm being hypocritically by praying to a God I'm not always sure I believe in.

Quote:And finally may I ask, what is it that terrifies you about possibly being wrong?

Well, if there is no God (which I am certain as is reasonably possible that there is), or if the Christian faith is not the true faith, and that there is no afterlife, I'm terrified of wasting the one life I have here on an afterlife that would never come.  This is probably connected to my tendency towards scrupulosity in some way.  There are so many things in this life, here, right now, that seem like they would be beautiful and fulfilling to be a part of, but in some way, as a Christian, we are either called to avoid them altogether if they are sinful (I don't think I really see beauty and meaning in sin, at least not often, I am just using it as an example for the purpose of discussion), or if not sinful, must be avoided because of our particular station of life, or just avoided because we are told they are trivial and of no importance in comparison to striving for eternity with God.  I'm afraid that even if I go to my deathbed believing in God, that I may be so embittered over the lost opportunities that I could have had, but chose not to because I was afraid of hell, that I might then hate God and it would have been all for nothing anyway.
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