Monday, October 06, 2008

Tradition and Epistemology

Most Protestants believe that Tradition -- the substance of the Church's reflection on Scripture that has emerged over the last 2000 years -- is not a proper source of theological authority. Instead, many argue, that Sacred Scripture is the only proper source and it should be set against Tradition.

This is highly problematic. While in the abstract, it is correct that a particular belief or idea is not necessarily true just because it has been believed or practiced for a long time, it does not follow that Tradition ought to be rejected on these grounds. The impulse, indeed the need, to accept Tradition and bow to its authority is based on a proper understanding of the limits of human knowing and a right posture to the knowledge of others.

The need to accept authoritative Tradition is based on a kind of benefit of the doubt epistemology. If a certain Christian belief or practice is in question who should receive the benefit if the doubt, the contemporary interpreter who has a new reading of a given text(s) of scripture or the consensual reading of the Church's Great Tradition?

I argue that the Tradition gets the benefit of the doubt. I understand that in the abstract the contemporary interpreter may be correct and the Tradition wrong. But how do I know that? Really, in the end, only God knows for sure. But from my vantage point, the most prudent and wise response is to go with the consensual view from Tradition.

In my own Anglican Church there is a debate about whether or not homosexual behavior is legitimate Christian practice. Some are arguing that fresh insight from Sacred Scripture should lead the Church down a new path. Others (the majority) argue that the Church should stay with its traditional beliefs and practices regarding human sexuality.

Those who want to revise the Church's teaching may well be correct that the Church has been wrong about this issue. But the prudent and reasonable question to ask is, "Which source should receive the benefit of the doubt, the traditional view or the revisionist view?" Asked this way, one ought clearly to bow to the Tradition.

Embracing the Great Tradition is the most reasonable and prudent way forward in discerning proper Christian belief and practice. To reject it is unwise and possibly tainted by hubris.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So will there be a national youth corps with uniforms and armbands when Obama is elected?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Both McCain and Obama are Reading It

This must be an important book since both McCain and Obama and reading it and taking counsel from its author.

I just ordered it.

Interesting Ad

Sorry, But Income Has Been Going Up, NOT Down

Facts are stubborn things. Usually a person's commitment to an ideology makes them unwilling to look at the facts. Nevertheless, facts are facts.

One of the myths of American political speak is that the last 25 years only benefited the rich. This is patently false.

In the Wall Street Journal Arthur Laffer and Stephan Moore make this case in their article New Evidence on Taxes and Income:

The new Census Bureau data on income and poverty reveal that many of the economic trends in this country are a lot more favorable than America's detractors seems to think. In 2007, overall real median family income increased to $50,233, up $600 from 2006. The real median income for intact families -- mother and father in the home -- rose to $78,000, an all-time high.

When all sources of income are included -- wages, salaries, realized capital gains, dividends, business income and government benefits -- and taxes paid are deducted, households in the lowest income quintile saw a roughly 25% increase in their living standards from 1983 to 2005. (See chart nearby; the data is from the Congressional Budget Office's "Comprehensive Household Income.") This fact alone refutes the notion that the poor are getting poorer. They are not.

HT to Kruse Kronicle -- my favorite and IMO the best economics blog on the web!! Go read it!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Andrew Mellon...the solution to the financial crisis

"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate … It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people …"

Sigh -- they will try to fix it...and then make it worse. Ugh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Comparing How the Candidates Give to Charity

"Biden has only been giving 0.06% - 0.31% of his adjusted gross income to charity.
Obama does substantially better at 5.8% - 6.1%, but it's still really stingy compared to McCain who is way up in the 27.3% - 28.6% range. Is this out of whack with political ideology? I say no! Conservatives believe private charity should bear more of the burdens of caring for the unfortunate and other good works. Liberals want to see government do more, and we're expected to pay taxes to pay for it. I see no hypocrisy here at all."

From the Althouse Blog

My First Try at a Podcast

My first try at a podcast;

Saint Patrick's Podcasts
#1 Infant Baptism

I am waiting for it to come online at iTunes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rosenberg Co-Conspirator Admits He Was a Soviet Spy

Ever since he was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges in 1951, Morton Sobell has maintained his innocence.

Until now. In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Sobell, who served nearly 19 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy. And he implicated his fellow defendant, Julius Rosenberg, in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets vital classified military information and what the American government claimed was the secret to the atomic bomb.

Read it all

For decades the "proper" view of the Rosenbergs is that they were innocent progressives railroaded by the Government. Looks like the government was right.

Remembering 9/11

Multi-culturalism (the idea that all cultures are equally good and equally valid) was completely discredited 7 years ago today. The four airliners that plowed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field are vivid reminders that radical Islam and the culture(s) that produced it are deeply diseased and must not -- must not -- be allowed to dominate the world stage.

A decision contunues to lie before the West. Do we want freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal rights and economic well being to spread throughout the world or do we want sharia, hanging of homosexuals, covered women and executions for adultery to dominate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Food Prices Fallen Over the Last 100 Years

Dr. Mark J. Perry, professor of Economics at University of Michigan at Flint shows that prices have fallen over the last 100 years.

Do a Google search for "rising food prices" and you'll get 391,000 results, while a search for "falling real food prices" gets about 144 results, a ratio of 2,700:1. Maybe we get so focused on the most recent year or two of rising prices for products like eggs that we lose sight of the longer term, historical trends.

HT to Kruse Kronicle