14 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Fides et Ratio / On the Relationship between Faith and Reason (Paperback)This is an interesting essay on the relationship between philosophy and theology. The essayist, Pope John Paul II, viewed each discipline as legitimate in its own sphere and as mutually reinforcing in combination. Philosophy, according to the Pope, lends conceptual precision to theology and enables theology to speak in a universal voice; theology, for its part, provides philosophy with a problem set and explains its ultimate meaning. Since truth is unitary and derived from God, philosophy and theology can never come into conflict.
This last statement will seem pretty outrageous to anyone acquainted with Western philosophy, especially as the field developed after 1600. It would be even tougher to reconcile Christian revelation with Buddhist philosophy, with its denial of unchanging essences. Perhaps it's telling that the Pope simply asserts (repeatedly) that faith and reason form a harmonious whole. Since he never tries to demonstrate the truth of this assertion (how could he?), his essay will seem unconvincing to anyone not already a committed Christian.
However, the Pope did offer many valuable observations on man's orientation towards truth, on the human need for metaphysics, and on the historical relationship between Catholic theology and philosophy. He also has some nice pointed remarks about fundamentalism and attempts to identify Christianity with particular cultures. As always, the Pope was more interesting than religious conservatives would like to admit.
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 13, 2009 4:33:52 PM PDT
a a says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2009 9:57:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2009 1:15:28 PM PDT
Gee, Libertarian08, what made YOU so hostile? Are only Catholics allowed to read Popes?
I'm not a Catholic but I was a fan of Pope John Paul II and I have always enjoyed reading Thomist philosophy. Please go over my short review line by line. Where exactly did I misrepresent the book? And with the possible exception of the last two sentences, how exactly is my review "biased"? What do you think my biases are anyway?
I mean, can't reviewers disagree with a book (or with certain strands of Christianity) without being biased? Or do you only read books on subjects about which you have no views? If so, you must not read much. Hmm...
Posted on Oct 24, 2009 4:13:59 AM PDT
Chip Webb says:
"Since truth is unitary and derived from God, philosophy and theology can never come into conflict." In an ideal sense, as in "never have to come" as opposed to "can never come," yes, but the Pope also writes considerably in Fides et Ratio of errant belief systems and the need for philosophy to agree with the word of God. I wouldn't at all make the jump that you do about Buddhist philosophy, and I'm another Protestant.
In context, moreover, the Pope is largely defending Roman Catholicism's reliance upon *Greek* philosophy as opposed to other forms of philosophy. He most assuredly does *not* "identify Christianity with particular cultures," but rather indisputably acknowledges that cultural settings impact philosophy, including what he calls "Christian philosophy." And his supposed cries against fundamentalism, again in context, are against fideism (not the same thing) within Roman Catholicism.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2009 5:40:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2009 4:17:12 AM PST
Thanks for your feedback.
Maybe I wrote unclearly. When I wrote, "He [the Pope] also has some nice pointed remarks about fundamentalism and attempts to identify Christianity with particular cultures," I meant to say that the Pope has pointed remarks about attempts to identify Christianity with particular cultures -- NOT that the Pope HIMSELF attempts to identify Christianity with particular cultures! (I.e., I was using "attempts" as a noun, not a verb.)
Posted on Aug 24, 2011 2:30:46 PM PDT
M. C Cardoso says:
I appreciate your review. I would like to add my perspective of your take " It would be even tougher to reconcile Christian revelation with Buddhist philosophy". Of course it would be impossible because they are fundamentally incompatible views, down to the most basic concepts of the Creator and the nature of time. So it reflects well on the Pope in not attempting to reconcile the two, just like he does not need to come to terms with, say, the atheism of the Greek atomists or the "God is dead / will to power" ethos of Nietsche. Thanks for reading!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›