Saturday, December 8, 2007

Thought For A Sunday

Taken from An Humble, Affectionate, and Earnest Address to the Clergy by William Law.

His intellectual faculties are, by the fall, in a much worse state than his natural animal appetites, and want a much greater self-denial. And when own will, own understanding, and own imagination have their natural strength indulged and gratified, and are made seemingly rich and honorable with the treasures acquired from a study of the belles lettres, they will just as much help poor fallen man to be like-minded with Christ, as the art of cookery, well and daily studied, will help a professor of the gospel to the spirit and practice of Christian abstinence. To know all this to be strictly the truth, no more need be known, than these two things: (1) that our salvation consists wholly in being saved from ourselves, or that which we are by nature; (2) that in the whole nature of things, nothing could be this salvation, or savior to us, but such an humility of God manifested in human nature, as is beyond all expression. Hence, the first unalterable term of this savior to fallen man, is this, "Except a man denies himself, forsakes all that he has, yea and his own life, he cannot be my disciple." And to show, that this is but the beginning, or ground of man's salvation, the savior adds, "Learn of me, for I am meek, and lowly of heart." What a light is here, for those that can bear, or love the light! Self is the whole evil of fallen nature; self-denial is our capacity of being saved; humility is our savior. This is every man's short lesson of life; and he that has well learned it, is scholar enough, and has had all the benefit of a most finished education. Then old Adam with all his ignorance is cast out of him; and when Christ's humility is learned, then he has the very mind of Christ, and that which brings him forth a son of God.

Blair Talks About Faith

Tony Blair talks about talking about God. In the course of the article on Blair, the writers say:

However, Mr Blair, who is now a Middle East peace envoy, has been attacked by commentators who say that religion should be separated from politics and by those who feel that many of his decisions betrayed the Christian community.

In other words, some of Mr. Blair's critics think that a politician should somehow separate his policy decisions, which are often moral - approaches to poverty, disaster relief, war, environmental protection, stem cell research, for example - from his deepest convictions about what grounds right and wrong. This would be humorous were the plea to separate the two not so pervasive and those who demand it not so strident.

As it is it's simply fatuous. One can no more separate one's beliefs from the grounds for those beliefs than one can separate one side of a coin from the other.

What those who advocate such a purge of religious values from the public square would do is reduce every public debate to a struggle for power to determine whose tastes, feelings and biases will prevail.

If one person says we should help the poor and another says we shouldn't, how do we decide who is right if we're not permitted to bring our deepest beliefs to bear upon the matter? Indeed, the only person who can answer the question is the religious man. The secularist can give no answer to the question why we should help the poor other than to say that it just seems right to him to do so.

It's not a very compelling reason, but that's really the best the secular man can do, poor chap.


D'Souza vs. Dennett

Dinesh D'Souza recently debated Daniel Dennett on the topic of whether God is a human artifact.

A blogger sympathetic to Dennett's views watched the debate and writes about his disappointment in the quality of Dennett's performance.

"And here's the weakness of the entire Atheist movement on display. Argument via ridicule only takes you so far, and only keeps the already converted entertained. Time and again I was disappointed not only by Dennett's inability to articulate the science, but in his inability to respond to D'Souza's very interesting thought experiments, analogies and use of example from the history of Philosophy itself. What a disappointment from such a well-trained professor of philosophy!"

D'Souza also shares some thoughts about the contest and offers video of it here.