Monday, December 03, 2007

The Guy In the Funny Hat Goes After Atheism

Hey, guess what? The Pope doesn't like atheism! Weird, huh?

No time to read the actual encyclical now, but it should be fun. Apparently atheists cannot have hope. Hope? Nope! Not possible! What is the most salient necessary condition for hope? Well, coincidentally, it seems to be...wait for it...belief in the Christian God! WOW! What are the odds?

Oh, also:

Communism: evil and atheistic. Coincidence? I think not.

And also: apparently the pope has a double secret solution to the problem of evil! Gooooo, pope! I can't wait to hear this one... (I'll bet my awesome 2000 Honda Accord against the popemoblie that he hasn't somehow managed to solve the problem of evil. Think he'd take the bet?)

No time to read this no doubt ground-breaking piece of philosophy right now...but I can't wait.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Pope Ratzinger is easily your equal in philosophy, Dr. WS, make no mistake. He's paid his dues---no Jerry Falwell, he. Skepticism is not engagement or counterargument.

New York

If one were to compile a list of the core concerns of Joseph Ratzinger, his idees fixes over almost sixty years now of theological reflection, it might look something like this:

• Truth is not a limit upon freedom, but the condition of freedom reaching its true potential;
• Reason and faith need one another – faith without reason becomes extremism, while reason without faith leads to despair;
• The dangers of the modern myth of progress, born in the new science of the 16th century and applied to politics through the French Revolution and Marxism;
• The impossibility of constructing a just social order without reference to God;
• The urgency of separating eschatology, the longing for a “new Heaven and a new earth,” from this-worldly politics;
• Objective truth as the only real limit to ideology and the blind will to power.

All those themes take center stage once again in the encyclical Spe Salvi, released today in Rome. In that sense, one could argue that the text represents a sort of “Greatest Hits” collection of Ratzinger’s most important ideas, developed over a lifetime, and now presented in the form of an encyclical in his role as Pope Benedict XVI.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Ratzinger, the Enlightenment, reason, politics, materialism, the dignity of man.

Quite elegant, beautiful, even. No turnip truck or Sunday school stuff, promise. Sorry if I sounded agitated, WS, but I greatly admire Pope Ratzinger's lifetime of learning to engage modern philosophy and the modern world on its own terms, not just his.

10:36 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...




I seriously thought you were kidding when I read your first line, Tom.

Oh holy jebus.


-Philosophy 101
-Philosophy 131
-Philosophy 240

and on.

11:03 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...




Damn Tom, that was hilarious.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh my, Mr. Mystic, I'm embarrassed, but only on your behalf.

Jurgen Habermas, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, speaks with Cardinal Ratzinger.

Read, then get back to me, Grasshopper. I try not to take your high-spirited slights to heart. Thrasymachus is my favorite guy in all of Plato.

11:12 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

You sound like an infomercial for the pope. Bullet points, testimonials, what next?

*sigh* ok, it was just funny, that's all. I haven't read his arguments, but from the sounds of it, he's making an absurdly stupid one. How's that?

And yes, don't take my high-spirited slights to heart.

But when we get down to it, I can virtually guarantee you that the pope's argumentation on these points WS has enumerated will be horrid.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Jurgen Habermas disagrees. Read it all, my friend-someday. That one of the most influential secular philosophers of the 20th century sat down to talk with the man who would become the next pope---whose influence cannot be questioned---is a beautiful thing, and a rare moment in time.

We should listen, not speak, at least until we've heard them both out. There is always time to fight, and the most beautiful thing of all is that neither chose to.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder Ratzi quipped with Habermas; this is just one example of the unholy union of organized religion and postmodernism. The whole setting has the eerie esthetics of Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact

3:38 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Did I say I was a better philosopher than Mr. Ratzinger?

9:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

No, WS. I submitted that he was worthy of engagement on the philosophical, not merely theological, level. If Habermas did then so should you, unless you say you're a better philosopher than Habermas.

I guess nobody's gonna read what I linked. Oh well. But when you complain you don't understand what I write, Mr. Mystic, that's why. Like all men, I stand on the shoulders of giants, and you must know these first.

The brutishness of your remarks indicates you do not.

2:40 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Maybe I can't hear you shouting from all the way up there on your giant men's shoulders.

Perhaps you could type louder.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Still not a word about what Pope Benedict has actually said or thinks. Typical. Unfortunate.

That was funny, tho, Mystic.

7:43 PM  

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