Friday, May 3, 2019

The indispensibility of the insight articulated by the proofs to "truly creative science"

"the history of the classic proofs of the existence of God viewed in relation to the development of science. . . . shows that all attacks on those proofs when unfolded in their full implication became attacks on the epistemology and world view which proved themselves to be essential ingredients in truly creative science."

     Stanley L. Jaki, citing his Gifford Lectures The road of science and the ways to God, in "Theological aspects of creative science," in Creation, Christ, and culture:  studies in honour of T. F. Torrance, ed. Richard W. A. McKinney (Edinburgh:  T. & T. Clark Ltd., 1976), 165 (149-166).

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Our hearts have been rendered (inviscerated) restless until they rest in thee

     "One will rightly object that such [an] absolutization of the means [of inducing euphoria] is not new in history, and that hedonism is not unique to our epoque:  from Epicurus to Ronsard one has always noted hedonistic tendencies and whiffs [(relents)] of [the] absolutization of pleasure.  The fact is undeniable.  But what is new is the amplitude of a [(du)] movement well on its way to becoming a cultural characteristic [(fait)].
     "This is because, between [the period of] Greek thought and our own, Christianity hollowed out new desires, and because, when its cultural influence subsides, it leaves the [human] heart more empty than ever.  'This world, such as it is, is not tolerable.  Therefore I need the moon, or happiness, or immortality, I need something which is perhaps demented, but which is not of this world,' Albert Camus' Caligula [(as trans. Justin O'Brien)] tragically exclaims.  Christianity has, in effect, inviscerated the human heart [with] an unimaginable [or unprecedented] desire for [(impulsion au)] bliss, to the point that it inverted the Greek and naturalistic ideal.  For Aristotle, man is in fact the artisan of his [own] destiny:  he will find his happiness in an activity that he engages in by himself and for himself:  only the life of contemplation [(étude)] accomplishes it, [a] life reserved, moreover, for an elite.  The [Christian] theologians will correct [him]:  the beatitude of the other life, made for us, is a gift of God:  only there, where there will be no more tears or misery, will man find his true happiness and his perfect liberty.  Here man will never be able to avoid the invasion of misery; here happiness, though a participation in beatitude [(fût-il une participation à la béatitude)], is imperfect.  Christianity 'breaks the aristocratism in which the Greeks had taken pride; . . . the good old Christian woman knows more about God than all [of] the philosophers put together.'  'Thus are found [to be] reconciled the Aristotelian affirmation of a happiness in this life and the Christian affirmation of the misery of this earthly life:  the happiness of this life, as treated by Aristotle, is not a vain dream.  This happiness exists, but it is an imperfect happiness which does not do away with misery and which leaves the heart of man unsatisfied' [(René-Antoine Gauthier, “Trois commentaires ‘averroïstes’ sur l’Ethique à Nicomaque,” Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge 22/23 (1947/1948):  187-336, here 253, 268).
     "Christianity has promised an unheard-of happiness, though [(un bonheur si inouï, que)] our cultural tradition has come to take it for granted.  But, disappearing, Christianity has opened up a breach which has been transformed into a yawing chasm [(béance)].  And] this is why the [euphoric] compensations must be [(se feront) so much] more 'intense [(vives)]'.  In giving it this impetus towards beatitude, Christianity has dug [(labouré, plowed)] the human heart out so profoundly that, when the social influence of Christianity subsides, we seek in particular goods something that can satisfy the [(un)] desire for infinity that it has elicited.  Th[is] inflammation [(irritation)] of the heart has (thanks also to our immense progress in techno-scientific mastery) left contemporary man more dissatisfied than ever:  a new and [much] more powerful impetus has been imparted to it, but the answer has, in the end, eluded it [(la réponse a fini par lui échapper)].  The desire for happiness, because it is the desire for the vision of God seen face-to-face, has hollowed the human heart out to an infinite degree, and caused it to hope [for something] beyond all human expectation."