The Big Bang Theory: From Caricature to Complexity (Peter Augustine Lawler): “The Big Bang Theory ultimately points to the limited but real wisdom that comes from understanding two partial truths—that of the personal, judgmental, loving God and also that of the ‘God of nature’ the scientists seek to understand. The show leads us to think about how to put together the two explanations of ‘the Big Bang’—one based on faith in a personal Creator and one based on scientific discovery of the impersonal laws of nature—to account truthfully for both nature and human nature.
Yesterday was St. Benedict’s day; it’s the second of two, as his proper day is March 21st, but June 11th has also long been celebrated. Three monks made simple vows and that’s always a fine moment for the college as well as the monastery. In the spirit of the day, here’s a reflection on Benedict the saint from Benedict the pope emeritus.
Francis Cleans House at Vatican’s Financial Watchdog: “By reforming the Church, Francis is doing more than serving his flock. He is making a contribution to the well-being of people of all faiths and no faith all over the world." One of the political blogs I follow has the habit of occasionally venturing into theology; surprised to see this today about a bit of Vatican inside baseball.
I’ve been looking forward to this, since despite being a Catholic theologian who’s firmly convinced that double predestination is a horrible blasphemy, I’ve always admired Calvin as a theologian. The sheer architectural brilliance and comprehensive nature of his thought inspires a kind of intellectual awe. If I had landed at a Reformed college rather than a Catholic one (Deo gratias), I could easily have wound up a Calvinist. In belated commemoration of his deathiversary (May 27, 1564), here’s the Weekly Reader on John Calvin.
“Indeed, much of European and American politics over the past two centuries has involved a running and often bitter confrontation between Masons and Catholics. Why is that?" Follow the link to see why, as Philip Jenkins continues his discussion. It also shows how much, perhaps, of the past had to be forgotten to reach our more ecumenical age. I’m sure the reporter who asked me about this was expecting to hear that there was no problem any more.
When I was in elementary school, I vaguely remember something called the Weekly Reader that functioned like a newspaper for children. A lot of water and a great many books have gone under the bridge since then, but I thought a Weekly Reading post might be fun to keep up. The Guardian has a whole series going on major thinkers, and we’ll be reviewing what they have to say on Calvin, Plato, and Spinoza before we’re through.
“You absolutely cannot understand the British Empire without masonry” Monty Python was right! But still interesting; I’m going to look forward to the next few posts along these lines. Always admired Philip Jenkins’s scholarship. Ironically, a few years ago, a reporter asked me about the prohibition against Catholics becoming Masons. I’d thought it had dropped out, but it turned out that it’s still in force. [youtube [www.youtube.com/watch](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddM7kJ9xQfA])
And Jesus said to Simon, Son of Jonah B.A. (Philosophy, Oxford), ‘Who do you say that I am?’ And he replied, ‘Given a) the probability that God exists, that is, given fine-tuning, the kalam cosmological argument and the low probability of atheism being true given the modal form of the ontological argument, and given b) the compatibility of incarnation with the prescriptions of Perfect Being theology and given c) the apparently inexplicable things you’re reported to have done (though, given that this is early in your ministry, ideally I’d need to see a few more), and given d) defeaters to the counter-argument from the Biblically defined role of the Messiah, I’d guesstimate that, on a Bayesian account, there is a conditional probability of at least 0.
Mixed into an Andy Ihnatko article on FB's likely purchase of a traffic navigation app is this gem of an analogy that perfectly catches my anxieties about FB. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't run a social network and Google+ is unlikely to draw enough family & friends to be worthwhile. And so we remain serfs on the Zuckerberg plantation...Chicago Grid | What if Facebook buys Waze?: I hand over lots of my personal information to Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Sandro Magister: "This benevolence of the media toward Pope Francis is one of the features that characterize the beginning of this pontificate. The gentleness with which he is able to speak even the most uncomfortable truths facilitates this benevolence. But it is easy to predict that sooner or later it will cool down and give way to a reappearance of criticism." A very nice examination of PF's rhetorical habits, illustrated in his morning homilies.