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Posts tagged "Epistemology"

When Everyone's an Expert: Listening to Scripture in the Midst of Uncertainty

When Everyone’s an Expert: Listening to Scripture in the Midst of Uncertainty

Cogs in the media machine constantly bombard us with differing perspectives on all matters of public debate. Blogs, newspapers, television, social media sites – thousands of responses and re-responses in discussions about everything.

The situation rightly causes us to ask the question: who should we believe?

It’s a constant dilemma in the Christian life. Who are you listening to? Pharaoh or Moses? Yahweh or the prophets of Baal? The old person or the new? Temptation or the word? The forgiveness spoken by God in Christ, or the word of condemnation spoken by the Accuser? Paul or Apollos or Cephas or Christ? Who are…

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You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

In last week’s Op-Ed, David Brooks asked whether or not “knowing thyself” is possible and, if it is, where it can be separated from the pitfalls and stagnation of narcissism. Self-awareness, argues Brooks, is a “perfect breeding ground for self-deception, rationalization and motivated reasoning.” This happens when we get a little too close to the man in the mirror, which often drives us to oversimplifications or “ruminations”–the despairing paralysis of one’s own fears and anxieties. Either one makes us dangerous self-perceivers. We either become nighthawk depressives or impervious bigots. The best way to “know thyself,” Brooks astutes, is to take…

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Modern Origins of Anxiety: Reflections on Idolatry

Modern Origins of Anxiety: Reflections on Idolatry

In last week’s post on anxiety we traced some threads in epistemology, or the way we acquire knowledge, and particularly knowledge about our own standing to God, focusing especially the question, “in which places do we experience his presence”? One problem with a more modern, ‘scientific’ epistemology, generally speaking, is that God’s presence becomes unthinkable apart from our recognition of it. For example, it’s not enough to be told God is present in the Eucharist; I must feel something to confirm it. The hidden but present God of Psalm 139, to whom “even darkness is light”, becomes impossible when our perception…

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Theology Thursday: The Law of 'I' and the Grace of God

Theology Thursday: The Law of ‘I’ and the Grace of God

René Descartes has been called the first modern philosopher, a turning-point in how we think of ourselves and our world. His famous principle was “I think, therefore I am.” He wanted to find a sure foundation for all available human knowledge. Anxious to please the Jesuit academy he admired, he even proved God – all based on the reality of thinking, the idea that one cannot even doubt without proving, thereby, the reality of the person doubting. The mind is always true and, as a foundation and criterion for truth, is transcendent.

We’ve inherited his legacy, of course. As a child, I…

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