Bruno Latour has recently offered a new, intriguing paradigm that challenges traditional views of the relationship between science and religion. He argues in effect that there is no proper relationship between science and religion. He makes this argument at length in his new book An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2013) but more succinctly in this essay. Latour believes we’ve fundamentally misunderstood what science and religion do and this misunderstanding has led us to falsely oppose these modes of thinking and being. Latour explains that the scientific mode was developed to access phenomena beyond the grasp of our senses—viruses, solar systems, DNA, climate patterns, gravity, etc. But it turns out that we never grasp these phenomena through science; all science does is create longer and longer chains of mediators—images, sentences, equations, sound files, instrument read-outs—referring to the phenomena. The longer, richer, and more stable these chains of reference, the more solid our knowledge of the phenomena can rightly be said to be. But at no point does science make these phenomena present to us—it actually absents us from them, one mediator at a time. The religious mode, on the other hand, is all about the experience of presence. Like a profession of love, the religious act continually and intimately re-knit humans to themselves and to each other. Instead of referential inscriptions, the mediators of religion are “angels”—beings, texts, objects, and experiences that catalyze our transformation from lost to found, from lost to saved, from absent to present. — Lynda Walsh, Bruno Latour and the Relationship Between Science and Religion at The Partially Examined Life blog.
Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly christian weapon. - Martin Luther
This is the basic epistemology of the Psalms; they are the word of God that brings us into a relation with God and a communion with each other, thus perfecting our divinely given capacity to know. — Francis Martin, Epistemology in the Psalms inThe Bible and Epistemology, page 50.
Faith is action, reducible to neither admiration nor knowledge. Neither the poet nor the philosopher, as such, has faith. The point of reflection on the Abraham story is neither to praise him nor to understand him but to imitate him. To do so rightly is to have faith, but to ‘go beyond’ him to poetry or philosophy, along with Kierkegaard’s romantic and idealistic contemporaries, is not to go on to something higher but to abandon a difficult task for an easier one. — Merold Westphal in Kierkegaard’s Concept of Faith, reflecting on Kierkegaard’s account of Abraham’s faith in Fear and Trembling (via eerdblurbs)
This fall, the Bible study I attend and occasionally lead at my church will be studying St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. I’ve been reading a lot about St. Paul the past couple of years and I look forward to tackling the most comprehensive presentation of his theology. Anyone have good books on Paul or Romans or commentaries I should look at?
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures — Luke 24:45 ESV
Because of Christ, philosophy’s door has swung wide open. It no longer remains the province of a select few individuals, “gentlemanly” patrons and so forth, for divine wisdom has revealed itself in the form of a servant, enabling even the uneducated (like Monica) to take part in its possession — Ian Clausen, Awakening to Life: Augustine’s Admonition to (would-be) Philosophers, Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics, Vol. 2, Number 2, Page 234. June 2014.
Augustine is too aware of the tendency to self-deception to present Christ as “answer” to a half-understood question. — Ian Clausen, Awakening to Life: Augustine’s Admonition to (would-be) Philosophers, Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics, Vol. 2, Number 2, Page 230. June 2014.
In Augustine’s case, Cicero’s intuition about the nature of desire stands to confirm one’s genuine experience of seeking true wisdom. Attracted at one time to philosophical scepticism, Augustine knew enough not to trust it with the care of his soul since he recognised its ultimate endpoint was dissipation of desire, despair. Put another way, Cicero caused Augustine to “stand more upright” in the search for truth (Hortensius), only to fail at offering him any hope that his search might be fulfilled (Academica). The disjunction in Cicero’s philosophy between seeking truth and finding truth stands in contrast to the unity of Matthew 7:7, a verse Augustine uses to anchor his epistemology. — Ian Clausen, Awakening to Life: Augustine’s Admonition to (would-be) Philosophers, Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics, Vol. 2, Number 2, Page 228-9. June 2014.