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domz - 11:06am Jan 30, 2001 SGT (124.1.1)
[li shuning] dun menshun / religion and scientific empiricism ...

Heya,

Yup, humans in the example are a poor reflection of God's ways. But look on the bright side, this reflection, though vague, is the only reflection that has the same outline / profile / silhouette / shape as what we're looking for (=

Well, I really don't know if I should divulge my religion. It's not that I'm not proud. It's just that I want to avoid prejudices, for the sake of continuing the discussion. I believe the value that can be added to people's lives, even if it's a small little incidental and unintended thing like explaining "circularities" is more important than my own self-centred pride.

Regarding extreme lengths, well, I guess that's for the experts, right? Thomas Aquinas was an extreme academic intellect (those were the days when universities were evolving from theology classrooms into a more formal setup that lent itself to the present-day teaching of more secular subjects), and was eventually appointed a Doctor of the Church, which is kind of like Einstein in the realm of physics. And his Summa Contra Gentiles was one of the most important of his *numerous* works ... so ... well ... I guess stuff like that is certainly not for us to attempt, although it doesn't hurt to read it a bit ... just to see for ourselves the extremely vast oceans of knowledge that were available to humanity not just during medieval times, but all the way even before the times of Aristotle (who, in turn, relied on even more ancient authorities). It only goes to show how shallow a lot of our layman arguments are ... and a lot of "advanced" knowledge that gets bandied about today is really old stuff that people should have known anyway. So much for Mankind and his accumulated knowledge. Too much information, not transmitted too well.

As for scientists and religion, well, I guess you take the doctrine of creationism literally? There are many who would rather use a symbolic interpretation of the account of creation. One of the ideas behind this is to find a direct account and harmonisation of God and what our (presumably) God-given senses have shown us beyond reasonable doubt - atoms, DNA, fossils, etc., ...

So, perhaps Darwin was indeed Christian, but did not interpret Genesis completely literally. Indeed, who knows if it was meant to be taken literally?

Much of the Bible can be broken up into different (often contiguous) segments that obviously were written either by the same person, or in the same style. Certain books in the Old Testament are not meant for spiritual uplift, but instead were seriously meant as statistical records of population, agricultural yield, taxes ... basically the state of the economy. Others were historial accounts. Others still described highly symbolic things, such as the various dreams of Daniel, Joseph, and all those visions. Add to that the pervasive influence of Jewish numerology (this influence decreases towards the NT, but pops up again all over Revelation).

Well, how to interpret the Bible? Or, rather, the books of the Bible?

Jia lat ... we're not Biblical scholars, we don't read Greek, we don't read Hebrew, we don't read Arabic, we don't speak Aramaic, we didn't study archaeology, we didn't study historiography.

I suspect that for the bulk of people in Singapore who study anything at all about Christianity, they always "play safe" as they do with their studies and go for the nice, clean versions that are essentially dressed up (or down, as the case may be) so that small kids can learn about Moses and the Ten Commandments without learning also that he was a cold-blooded murderer even before he saw the burning bush (a fact preserved on celluloid in the Prince of Egypt cartoon), and had rather ruthless internal security policies and his warfare conduct was, frankly, genocidal.

Oh well. We see through a glass but darkly, eh? Wonder what the Corinthians will be thinking if they knew what's being talked about these days.

Cheers,

Dom Z