In W.T. Stace’s 1948 essay “Man Against Darkness,” he outlines the decline of religion in the West and the implications this has for civilization. He notes that modern science suspended contemplation on final causes. This quickly caused a non-teleological cosmology to be widely accepted, either implicitly or explicitly. Religion rests on teleology, so this view of the universe eroded the core of religion, leaving it hollow and unbelievable. Religion is the foundation of values in the West, so Western civilization faces a profound crisis. Stace concludes by briefly examining the way in which we might pull ourselves out of this nihilistic crisis.
In the past, I have contemplated the meaning of various words such as wisdom, forgiveness, mirth, virtue, sincerity, courage, peace, hope, steadfastness, sacrifice, and love. This has been very fruitful, and I am glad of it. But recently, I realized that I had completely missed a tremendously important word. I had not contemplated worship. Continue reading “This Intellectual and the Beginning of Worship”
This week I have been attending my first, and possibly my last, research conference. SIGCSE is the premier computer science education conference in the world, or so I am told. In the elevator of my hotel, I met one presenter who was from New Zealand. My randomly paired roommate teaches in Cali.
A clear biological binary in the sexes (male vs. female) exists for nearly all people. The two genders (man vs. woman) are the stories and profiles of those two sexes throughout history, and how they have been manifested in multiple societies. These profiles have been formed over many millennia of lived experience and intuitive reflection.
I know not why this grief has come upon me,
But I know You are good.
Thomas Aquinas is a towering figure in Christian medieval thought. In his work, On Kingship, he presents a defense of the monarchical system of government. He begins by asserting that “it is natural for man, more than for any other animal, to be a social and political animal.” Though this claim is not immediately apparent, Aquinas gives little justification for it. Hobbes and Rousseau both disagree with him, instead positing that men require a social contract in order to live in society. They both believe that society does not come about naturally. But instead of defending his claim, Aquinas merely says, “This is clearly a necessity of man’s nature.” As Aquinas frequently refers to Aristotle in his other works, it is possible that he is relying on Aristotle’s famous conclusion that “man is by nature a political animal” and does not feel that it is necessary to give his own justification. Another possibility is that he takes it as a natural conclusion to God’s statement in Genesis 1 that “It is not good for man to be alone.” After Aquinas declares that man is political by nature, he extrapolates several benefits that man receives through his political nature, such as having access to each other’s discoveries. However, these are not justifications for his claim, but rather conclusions drawn from his claim.