Saturday, February 20, 2016

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica I Quadragesima

How the Torah Revolutionized Political Thought
by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman ( «In ways that were astonishingly new and counter-intuitive, in ways that served the purposes of no known interest group, the political philosophy of the Torah may be seen to rise like a phoenix out of the intellectual landscape of the ancient Near East. Throughout the ancient world the truth was self-evident: all men were not created equal. It is in the five books of the Torah that we find the birthplace of egalitarian thought. When seen against the backdrop of ancient norms, the social blueprint espoused by the Torah represents a series of quantum leaps in a sophisticated and interconnected matrix of theology, politics and economics.»

A Bunch of Terrible Fallacies for Atheism
by Mark Shea (National Catholic Register). «In this piece, I want to look at the curious way that atheists themselves cannot content themselves with those two good arguments. They are oddly driven to pad the case with a whole raft of fallacies too.»

Speaking of the Poor, Especially When You’re Not: The Preferential Rhetorical Option for the Poor
by David Mills (Ethika Politika). «The poor should go first in the distribution of the good of attention. Any sustained statement about economic theory should relate that theory to the poor. If an idea is praised for creating wealth, it should be interrogated for its effect on the vulnerable. One should not speak as if real people were not involved and if general improvement were not bought at a great cost to some.»

Can the Pan-Orthodox Council be saved from shipwreck?
by Antoine Arjakovsky (The Wheel) «At the Second Vatican Council, in October 1962, some courageous bishops, sensitive to the breath of the Holy Spirit, refused to accept the ultra-conservative agenda proposed by the Roman Curia and shifted the course of the Council. We dare to hope that, among those who assemble on the island of Crete this June, there will be some spiritual figures who will know how to assume their responsibilities and avoid a shipwreck for the Orthodox Church.»

If You Want to Understand the Bible, Listen to the Magisterium
by Scott Eric Alt (National Catholic Register) «One key corol­lary to the Protes­tant doc­trine of sola scrip­tura is the belief in the “perspicuity”—or clarity—of scrip­ture. It has to be thus; if you claim that Scrip­ture and Scrip­ture alone is the infal­li­ble guide to faith and prac­tice, then you must also claim that Scrip­ture can be read and under­stood by any­one. Easy peasy. Else, what guards against dis­unity? What guards against two peo­ple pick­ing up the text of Scrip­ture and com­ing to wildly diver­gent doc­trines on bap­tism or the Eucharist or jus­ti­fi­ca­tion? That never hap­pens, except to igno­rant, unsta­ble folks. It cer­tainly does not hap­pen to sound-​thinking peo­ple such as myself. And yet, though there may not be quite so many as 33,000 divi­sions, there sure are a lot of them. Insta­bil­ity has run amok. How did that come to be, if the Bible is so clear? No one seems to have a sat­is­fac­tory answer.»

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