Friday, January 22, 2010

Aristotelian Thomism

"Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse" - Romans 1:20

I get why philosophers convert to Catholicism frequently. Aristotelian Thomism makes sense of the above verse. I find that all of life makes the most sense in that system. As I dialogued with 3 atheists today, all of them seemed to be surprised by how rational Aristotle's virtue ethics are, and by consequence how Catholic Christianity really teaches it's morality because it promotes human flourishing.

Obviously it can't be stressed enough that Christianity is not Ethics, it is an entire explanation of everything, it is a sacramental life, it is a union with God only made possible by the grace of God and the work of Jesus Christ. But, the more people see how Plato, Aristotle, and all of Philosophy seem to be pointing to Jesus, the more they'll understand that an even greater possibility for eudaimonia/happiness exists, namely the Beatific Vision - the eternal enjoyment of God's unending goodness.

But for a start, Eudaimonia and human flourishing work, sometimes a spark can start a fire.

Not everyone has such a 'conversion' experience with Aristotle and/or Thomas, but I am grateful that I did. I didn't have to check my brain at the doors of the Cathedral, or have to claim my brain was totally depraved by Original Sin.

It is also important to remember the idea I found in a First Things article I just read as well: "As Benedict has often pointed out, the morality must be, and be seen as, motivated by love and beauty: exemplified by witnesses who rejoice in the Lord, not just by teachers who rejoice in being right." That is important.

Fides quarens intellectum - St Anselm of Canterbury
Faith seeking Understanding

... I really need to read "After Virtue" by Alasdair MacIntyre

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