Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"All Men Desire to Know" saith Aristotle

Medieval Philosophy and Existential Epistemology

  • 3 April 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 3550
by Scott Cherry, part 1

This paper explores the problems of human knowledge stemming from the medieval era to the present. In it I will grapple with the elusive question of the justification of knowledge that goes all the way back to Aristotle in the 4th century BC and beyond. Aristotle is a good subject to start with since in a real sense he was a medieval philosopher insofar as he was “reincarnated” into a Latin-speaking Europe that previously knew very little of his ideas until his writings were reintroduced there. “For Aristotle…epistemology is based on the study of particular phenomena and rises to the knowledge of essences.”(1) He believed that we can know things, and I agree. In this paper I argue that we can know things and know that we know them. Further, epistemology as a branch of philosophy is valid only when it includes the existential domain, i.e. data that is received through the senses. Perception and experience must not be proscribed, for they are God's means by which we know.

CSI Palestine, part 1

The Search for the Missing Corpse

  • 7 March 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 2983

In 33 AD Palestine was the Roman name for the geographical region encompassing Judea and Galilee at that time over which the Romans were firmly in control of their Jewish and other Levantine subjects.  I call this a CSI story because it focuses on the human capacity and function of forensic reason that is required to solve perplexing crimes such as some murders, abductions and others are. Based on actual historical events of the early first century and documented by historians of the day, that's the kind of story this is. It masterfully depicts the reality of worldview presuppositions at work, and the application of both inductive and deductive reason that are unavoidably relied upon to unravel mysteries of this nature within the complex Judeo-Roman milieu.

Are Humans Doomed? "Grace in their Failings"

Reflections on the Avengers: "Age of Ultron"

  • 7 March 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 2530

by Scott Cherry

People of all kinds love superhero movies—Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and everyone else. This is not surprising because they have enormous power to entertain and communicate important messages all at once. I like them as much as anybody else.  As superheroes go, I really like the Avengers. The last movie, “The Age of Ultron” came out in May, 2015 and I saw it three times that year. Once I saw it with my German movie buddy Josh, then with my son, and then with my wife on DVD. I enjoyed it a lot but I heard harsh criticisms from others. In this review I'm pretty fixated on one thing.  There was a particular line from a conversation toward the end of the film that has been ringing in my ears: “There’s grace in their failings.” Through my lenses it struck me as a very profound theological statement, because grace is a very profound theological idea, especially in the Christian frame of reference.  Of course, grace can mean different things in different contexts, but this grace could only make sense in biblical terms.  It was not the kind of grace that proper ladies have, nor the kind exhibited at formal affairs or when ballroom dancing.  This grace had a much deeper meaning, I contend, one which addresses the universal need of all humanity for help and forgiveness from a greater source.   Yes, a lot of inference is required.

When God Walked Among Us

The Incarnation is One of the Unique Claims of Christianity

  • 1 March 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 1980
by Beth Smith

One of the unique claims about Christianity is that we have a God who walked among us for a time as a human being. Jesus came to earth as an infant and had the same experiences that we humans do. From birth to death, He shared in the everyday events of life. He went to a wedding and celebrated with the bride and groom (John 2:1-10). Working with his earthly father in a carpenter shop, he experienced the pleasure of work done well. He experienced the pain of loss, when his good friend Lazarus died (John 11:11-15; 32-44). He experienced the closeness of friendship with His disciples. And ultimately, Jesus experienced the pain and isolation of betrayal and death (Mark 14:43-50; 15:34).

Violence and Compulsion in Religion

A Critical Examination of Violence in the Sacred Scriptures of Islam and Christianity

  • 23 February 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 2522


In the Feb. 20 seminar, Violence and Compulsion in Religion was the theme for both the first and second sessions. First up, Jim Walker aptly provided support from Islamic sources and history indicating that indeed violence has been an integral part of Islam since it first began taking root in Arabia, especially from the Medinan period beginning in 622.

Muhammad's initial hesitancy to believe his to-be role of God's prophet was mentioned along with his attempts at suicide-which would have been a more honorable end than shaming his family name by his perceived lunacy of receiving divine revelation. After finally finding support and accepting this role, Muhammad's life showed incredible resolve in the face of early persecution. He preached one God and non-violence in these early days with very little fruit for the first ten years or so.  Indeed, he was persecuted. But that changed after his flight to Medina (Al Hijra) as his acceptance and power grew.