thinking makes it so

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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Reinventing the sand dune

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I have just finished reading Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred. I agree with some of it, but with some of it I profoundly disagree. It could be that I disagree most profoundly with the profoundest part of it.

Stuart A Kauffman

Stuart A Kauffman

The last few chapters are quite moralising. But it’s not really the sentiments I reject. Kauffman’s heart seems to be in the right place. It’s his logic that worries me, some of which could be quite dangerous logic.

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On the side of the angels

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On 1 May 2011 Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II, taking him one step closer to sainthood.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

This was on the grounds of nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s miracle cure from Parkinson’s disease after she had prayed to the former Pope. Pope John Paul had himself suffered from the disease.

They only need one more miracle. That shouldn’t be difficult. There are over a billion Catholics in the world. Surely a big enough sample to yield a single random inexplicable remission?

The real miracle would be if no ‘miracle’ happened. But that’s by the by.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

8 May 2011 at 7:48 am

Belief and faith

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This is an extended response to Faith is not necessarily belief, on Terry Sissons’ blog The Other I.

Graham Greene

Graham Greene

Talk of the distinction between belief and faith reminds me of the kind of conversations which crop up in the novels of Graham Greene. But in Graham Greene (if I remember correctly) the ‘faith’ seems typically a faith (or indeed belief!) that ‘belief’ will return after a session of doubt. The ‘faith’ is therefore something that persists through the doubt and loss of belief.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

26 March 2011 at 1:51 pm

The ethics of belief (final version)

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Below is the final version of the PhD research proposal I sent off to the UK’s Open University last weekend. Thanks for all the feedback on the previous version – as a result of which I opened it up a bit beyond the historic debate between William Clifford and William James.

In the end I decided to go with this rather than Ethics as a product of evolution purely because I thought the ‘belief’ topic might be more focused and manageable through the application process. I left ‘evolution’ as my second choice, and I’d be more than happy to do either.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

8 January 2011 at 8:20 am

The ethics of belief

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[The post below is an alternative draft research proposal for a philosophy PhD at a UK university. It overlaps a bit with the previous one, on Ethics as a product of evolution. I thought I would work both to a finished state before making a final decision. Again I would be delighted to get feedback.]

I would like to examine the debate between William Clifford and William James on the ethics of belief, so as to identify if possible the most rational position to adopt on the issues it illuminates. Considering the impact of religious belief on the prospect of peace in the 21st century its relevance could be more than academic.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

4 December 2010 at 10:46 am

Existentialist ubuntu

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This is a response to Religion and ritual on Terry Sissons’ blog The Other I.

Funeral of Princess Diana

Funeral of Princess Diana

I think Terry’s article points to what could be one of the most unresolvable ethical dilemmas we humans are heir to. On the one hand we think that regardless of our level of success or failure, there should always be a ‘right answer’ – the right thing to think, the right thing to do. But in a context like this maybe there isn’t. I’m not thinking about funerals in particular but about ‘standing together’ in general.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

20 November 2010 at 9:16 am

Beating the bishops

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Flag of the Anglican Communion

Flag of the Anglican Communion

So three serving bishops and two ex-bishops are so outraged at the ordination of women in the Anglican Church that they’re shuffling off to join the organisation which for years hid its own sexual abuse of children.

What’s the opposite of ‘moral high ground’?

© Chris Lawrence 2010.

Written by Chris Lawrence

8 November 2010 at 8:45 pm

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