Windows 95 = Mac 86

December 27, 2007

I remember a long time ago seeing a bumper sticker that said something like the above title. Now I confess I am Windows user, primarily since it was the “tradition” that I received. But I recognize that in many ways Macs are better systems. With that I don’t mean to enter into that fracas that is the ongoing war between these two groups. But the bumper stick made an important point. MS users wanted to think of their way as being better until Windows essentially popularized the same general idea. Then the Mac idea was the cat’s meow.

Psychologically it is interesting to me that in theology and philosophy this kind of thing happens quite often, especially if you are Orthodox. Make a criticism of Augustine, and you are labeled a pariah, an ignoramous and your mother was a hampster. But if you’re Catholic, well then, things are much different! This seems to be the case over at Kimel’s blog at his most recent post.

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A Good Question

June 1, 2007

According to Jonathan Prejean, I asked good questions. Part of good philosophy is framing questions clearly to help get to the heart of the matter. You don’t have all the time in the world, so asking good questions is a way of scraping away unnecessary steps.  My question was part of a discussion at Triumphications concerning the nature of grace (and the grace of nature) and the Theotokos. I want to know, qua explanation, if the Catholic model can explain why God has Mary immaculately conceived and free from inherited albeit analogical guilt, why not just skip all of the evil in the world and do this for everyone? Or perhaps more strongly, why not create everyone in a state of confirmed grace? This kind of question is significant for lots of reasons. Currently in the literature on the problem of evil, this essential question has been a major objection to Plantinga type free will defenses. I have seen it proposed in one form or another by everyone from typical atheologians as well as process and open theists. But on to Jonathan’s reply.

Jonathan replied: “I could have prevented the possibility of either of my children committing actual sin by slaughtering them after they were baptized. Why didn’t I do that? This I think shows the inadequacy of your underlying worry about the problem of evil. There is a purpose in people being allowed to be subject to evil, even if that purpose is necessarily inscrutable to reason. I will let my children possibly be damned to Hell, not because I hate them, but because I love them. I suspect it is the same with God.”

I responded with the following: “
I don’t think you have given the proper analogy. God could have prevented lots of moral evil, not by doing some evil to human agents but by doing some great good to them. If you could have given your child a proverbial pill to prevent them from not only sinning but ever dying or any serious suffering, wouldn’t you do so? Now, you may object that your ways aren’t the ways of God. Fair enough, but given the imago dei, it is also true that we have via reason, barring Calvinism and Jansenism, a genuine notion of goodness. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be good to give them the pill. Do you?”  

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