Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Emergence of Philosophic Reason

Ionian and Eleatic Philosophy: 6th – 5th Century B.C.
“The Axial Age”[1]
Ratzinger: “It must be noted that the ancient world itself knew the dilemma between the God of faith and the God of the philosophers in a very pronounced form. Between the mythical gods of the religions and the philosophical knowledge of God there had developed in the course of history a stronger and stronger tension, which is apparent in the criticism of the myths by the philosophers from Xenophanes to Plato, who even thought of trying to replace the classical Homeric mythology by a new mythology appropriate to the logos. Contemporary scholarship is coming to see more and more clearly that there are quite amazing parallels in chronology and content between the philosophers’ criticism of the myths in Greece and the prophets’ criticism of the gods in Israel. It is true that the two movements start from completely different assumptions and have completely different aims; but the movement of the logos against the myth, as it evolved in the Greek mind in the philosophical enlightenment, so that in the end it was bound to involve the fall of the gods, has an inner parallelism with the enlightenment which the prophetic and Wisdom literature cultivated in its demythologization of the divine powers in favour of the one and only God. For all the differences between them, both movements coincide in their striving towards the logos. The philosophical enlightenment and it ‘physical’ view of Being pressed the mythological semblance further and further back, though certainly without doing away with the religious form of the worship of the gods.  The ancient religion did eventually break up because of the gulf between the God of faith and the God of the philosophers, because of the total dichotomy between reason and piety. That no success was achieved in uniting the two, that reason and piety moved further and further apart, and the God of faith and the God the philosophers were separated from each other, meant the inner collapse of the ancient religion. The Christian religion would have to expect just the same fate if it were to accept a similar amputation of reason and were to embark on a corresponding withdrawal into the purely religious, as advocated by Schleiermacher great critic and opponent, Karl Barth.
            “The opposing fates of myth and Gospel in the ancient world, the end of myth and the victory of the Gospel, are fundamentally to be explained, from the point of view of cultural history, by the opposing relationship established on both occasions between religion and philosophy, between faith and reason….
            “Religion did not go the way of the logos but lingered in myths already seen toa be devoid of reality. Consequently its decline was inevitable; this followed from its divorce from the truth, a state of affairs which led to its being regarded as a mere institutio vitae, =that is, as mere furniture and outward form of life. The Christian position, as opposed to this situation, is pout emphatically by Tertullian when he says with splendid boldness: ‘Christ called himself truth, not custom.’ In my view this is one of the really great assertions of patristic theology. In it the struggle of the early Church, and the abiding task with which the Christian faith is confronted if it is to remain itself, is summed up with unique conciseness…. Christianity thus pout itself resolutely on the side of truth and turned its back on a conception of religion satisfied to be mere outward ceremonial which in the end can be interpreted to mean anything one fancies.”[2]
According to semi-historical Greek legend, Ionia was colonised by refugees from mainland Greece expelled by the invading Dorians in the Heroic Age, leaving Attica as the only European outpost of the Ionian race. According to myth, the Ionians were descended from the hero Ion, son of Xuthus, son of Hellen (the mythical progenitor of all the Hellenes, whose other two sons were Aeolus and Dorus).
During the sixth century BC Ionian coastal towns such as Miletus and Ephesus became the focus of a revolution in approaches to traditional thinking about Nature. Instead of explaining natural phenomena by recourse to traditional myth, the cultural climate was such that men began to form hypotheses about the natural world based on ideas gained from both personal experience and deep reflection. These men - Thales and his successors - were called physiologoi, those who discoursed on Nature. They were sceptical of religious explanations for natural phenomena and instead sought purely mechanical and physical explanations. They are credited as being of critical importance to the development of the 'scientific attitude' towards the study of Nature. (see Ionian school)
The Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Ionian School includes the earliest Greek philosophers, who lived at Miletus, an Ionian colony in Asia Minor, during the sixth century B.C., and a group of philosophers who lived about one hundred years later and modified the doctrines of their predecessors in several respects. It is usual to distinguish, therefore, the Earlier Ionians and the Later Ionians.

Earlier Ionians: Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes

This group includes Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, with whom the history of philosophy in Greece begins. They are called by Aristotle the first "physiologists", that is "students of nature". So far as we know they confined their philosophical enquiry to the problem of the origin and laws of the physical universe. They taught that the world originated from a primitive substance, which was at once the matter out of which the world was made and the force by which the world was formed. Thales said that this primitive substance was water; Anaximander said that it was "the boundless" (to apeiron); Anaximenes said that it was air, or atmospheric vapour (aer). They agreed in teaching that in this primitive substance there is an inherent force, or vital power. Hence they are said to be Hylozoists and Dynamists. Hylozoism is the doctrine of animated matter, and Dynamism the doctrine that the original cosmothetic force was not distinct from, but identical with, the matter out of which the universe was made. From the scanty materials that have come down to us -- a few fragments of the writings of the early Ionians, and allusions in Aristotle's writings -- it is impossible to determine whether these first philosophers were Theists or Pantheists, although one may perhaps infer from their hylozoistic cosmology that they believed God to be at once the substance and the formative force in the universe.

Later Ionians: Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras

This group includes Heraclitus Empedocles, and Anaxagoras, who lived in the fifth century B.C. These philosophers, like the early Ionians, were deeply interested in the problem of the origin and nature of the universe. But, unlike their predecessors, they distinguished the primitive world forming force from the primitive matter of which the world was made. In Heraclitus, however, and, to a certain degree, in Empedocles, this mechanism -- the doctrine that force is distinct from matter -- is expressed hesitatingly and in figurative language. Anaxagoras is the first Greek philosopher to assert definitely and unhesitatingly that the world was formed from a primitive substance by the operation of a force called Intellect. For this reason he is said by Aristotle to be "distinguished from the crowd of random talkers who preceded him" as the "first sober man" among the Greeks. Heraclitus was so impressed with the prevalence of change among physical things that he laid down the principle of panmetabolism: panta rei, "all things are in a constant flux". Empedocles has the distinction of having introduced into philosophy the doctrine of four elements, or four "roots", as he calls them, namely, fire, air, earth, and water, out of which the centripetal force of love and the centrifugal force of hatred made all things, and are even now making and unmaking all things. Anaxagoras, as has been said, introduced the doctrine of nous, or Intellect. He is blamed however, by Socrates and Plato for having neglected to make the most obvious application of that doctrine to the interpretation of nature as it now is. Having postulated a world-forming Mind, he should they pointed out, have proceeded to the principle of teleology, that the Mind presiding over natural processes does all things for the best. None of these early philosophers devoted attention to the problems of epistemology and ethics. Socrates was the first to conduct a systematic inquiry into the conditions of human knowledge and the principles of human conduct.

* * * * * * * * * * *



The school took its name from Elea, a Greek city of lower Italy, the home of its chief exponents, Parmenides and Zeno. Its foundation is often attributed to Xenophanes of Colophon, but, although there is much in his speculations which formed part of the later Eleatic doctrine, it is probably more correct to regard Parmenides as the founder of the school.
Xenophanes had made the first attack on the mythology of early Greece in the middle of the 6th century, including an attack against the whole anthropomorphic system enshrined in the poems of Homer and Hesiod. In the hands of Parmenides this spirit of free thought developed on metaphysical lines. Subsequently, either because its speculations were offensive to the contemporary thought of Elea, or because of lapses in leadership, the school degenerated into verbal disputes as to the possibility of motion and other such academic matters. The best work of the school was absorbed into Platonic metaphysics.


The Eleatics rejected the epistemological validity of sense experience, and instead took mathematical standards of clarity and necessity to be the criteria of truth. Of the members, Parmenides and Melissus built arguments starting from indubitably sound premises. Zeno, on the other hand, primarily employed the reductio ad absurdum, attempting to destroy the arguments of others by showing their premises led to contradictions (Zeno's paradoxes).
The main doctrines of the Eleatics were evolved in opposition to the theories of the early physicalist philosophers, who explained all existence in terms of primary matter, and to the theory of Heraclitus, which declared that all existence may be summed up as perpetual change. The Eleatics maintained that the true explanation of things lies in the conception of a universal unity of being. According to their doctrine, the senses cannot cognize this unity, because their reports are inconsistent; it is by thought alone that we can pass beyond the false appearances of sense and arrive at the knowledge of being, at the fundamental truth that the All is One. Furthermore, there can be no creation, for being cannot come from non-being, because a thing cannot arise from that which is different from it. They argued that errors on this point commonly arise from the ambiguous use of the verb to be, which may imply existence or be merely the copula which connects subject and predicate.
Though the conclusions of the Eleatics were rejected by the later Presocratics and Aristotle, their arguments were taken seriously, and they are generally credited with improving the standards of discourse and argument in their time. Their influence was likewise longlasting -- Gorgias, a Sophist, argued in the style of the Eleatics in his work "On Nature or What Is Not," and Plato acknowledged them in the Parmenides, the Sophist and the Politicus. Furthermore, much of the later philosophy of the ancient period borrowed from the methods and principles of the Eleatics.

Reason Exposed to the Absoluteness of the Believing Subject is Broadened and Recovers

Israel always believed in the Creator God (but) (t)he moment when creation became a dominant theme occurred during the Babylonian Exile. It was then that the account… based, to be sure, on very ancient traditions- assumed its present form. Israel had lost its land and its temple. According to the mentality of the time this was something incomprehensible, for it meant that the God of Israel was vanquished – a God whose people, whose land, and whose worshipers could be snatched away from him. A God who could not defend his worshipers and his worship was seen to be, at the time, a weak God. Indeed, he was not God at all; he had abandoned his divinity. And so, being driven out of their own land and being erased from the map was for Israel a terrible trial: Has our God been vanquished, and is our faith void?

            “At this moment the prophets opened a new page and taught Israel that it was only then that the true face of God appeared and that he was not restricted to that particular piece of land. He had never been: He had promised this piece of land to Abraham before he settled there, and he had been able to bring his people out of Egypt. He could do both things because he was not the God of one place but had power over heaven and earth. Therefore he could drive his faithless people into another land in order to make himself known there. And so it came to be understood that this God of Israel was not a God like the other gods, but that he was the God who held sway over every land and people. He could do this, however, because he himself had created everything in heaven and earth. It was in exile and in seeming defeat of Israel that there occurred an opening to the awareness of God who holds every people and all of history in his hands, who holds everything because he is the creator of everything and the source of all power.”[3]

There is a great intellectual step here, a switch of mental horizons: The pagan gods ere always contained within the world of sensation because they were the explanation and causes of the events in the world. And this even if they could not be sensed such as Plato’s One and Aristotle’s First Unmoved Mover.

The non-Christian thought of the pagans consisted in a one to one correspondence of sensible perception and deity. The pagan deities were “the most powerful, most independent and self-sufficient, most unchanging beings in the world.”[4] And that is the point. They are within the context of the world of sensible being. “They are the expression of necessities that men encounter in the world, necessities that men must respect. Zeus, Poseidon, Ares and Aphrodite, the Muses, and Apollo are agents that rule over their particular domains, and they are the causes, the ones responsible, of what happens.”[5] The first Unmoved Mover of Aristotle and the One of Plato are the most supreme realities, but they are supremely in the world and belong to it. Their meaning is within the context of the sensible world even though they are not visible.

But there is dramatic epistemological shift with the introduction of the revelation of the Judeo-Christian God as Creator of the world. The upshot of such information is that God would be Who He is even if the world did not exist. The Being of God is so different from the being of the world that if the world were not, God would still be God. To access such a God, one must become self-transcendent (going out of self), which is a change in anthropology and ontology. Judeo-Christian revelation goes on to state that the human person, although creature of the sensible world, has been made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Therefore, there is something in the being of the creature that is “like” the Being of the Creator. The burden, then, of such information as creation weighs on how we construe a creature to have the ontological constitution of relationality as image of the divine relations of Father, Son and Spirit.  Notice that so different are these two noetic orders that if the created order were removed, the Creator would still be. The burden, then, of such information as creation, is how to know the human person as part of the created order, yet image and likeness of the Creator.
This shocked Greek reason into the development from mythical deities into cosmologies of the absolute and metaphysics of being. The cause of this intersplicing is certainly the understanding of the daily intercourse of Greek and Jewish culture during the captivity in Babylon, but also the extraordinary particularity that the Greek philosopher Pythagoras is reported to have received classes from the Jewish prophet Ezekiel.[6]

As we saw above, Ratzinger notes that there was an amazing parallel between what happened to reason for the Greeks, and reason for the Jews. As the Greeks were introduced to the Absolute God-Creator of the Jews, the Jews were introduced to the enlightenment of reason whereby reason was jogged from a forgetfulness of creation to “anamnesis” or “not forgetting.” Hence, they are confronted their God or revelation Who is the Creator of all things, even Babylon. Jeremiah and Ezekiel are hard at preaching the Word of God before and during the Exile (and suffering mightily for it). Karl Jaspers called this moment of the great religious and intellectual revival “the axial age.”[7]

And so, it was here and now in the 6th century B.C. in the slavery of Babylon after their fall from a living faith, that the Abrahamic faith as living experience was recalled and written in a vital confrontation with the conquering religion of Babylon that explained the “the world assumed its form when Marduk, the god of light, appeared and split in two the body of the primordial dragon. From this sundered body heaven and earth came to be. Thus the firmament and the earth were produced from the sundered body of the dead dragon, but from its blood Marduk fashioned human beings… The world is a dragon’s body, and human beings have dragon’s blood in them. At the very origin of the world lurks something sinister, and in the deepest part of humankind there lies something rebellious demonic, and evil… (O)nly a dictator, the king of Babylon, who is the representative of Marduk, can repress the demonic and restore the world to order.”[8]

What is conveyed to the Greeks because of this emerging of Judaic faith and scripture, is God, the Creator of all things, the source of the reasonableness of Being, Who is the Absolute Reality. This revelation is precisely what the Greek mind is searching for: the Absolute. And so philosophy begins with the encounter with the Transcendent God Who is Creator, and Who is in such a different way that even if the world were to cease to be, God would continue to be in this different way. And that “way” has been revealed to be personal as relation. The huge point is that it begins only within the experience and enlightenment of faith experience. And with regard to reason Benedict remarks that reason without faith cannot reason, nor reasonable: “Reason needs revelation in order to be able to be effective as reason”.[9]

Experience is the key criterion to understand the relation of faith and reason as “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”(Fides et ratio: The Dedication p. 7). Evidence is something objective to us. Experience is subjective (but not subjectivist). Tounderstand this, consider John Pau II’s “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.”[10] There he speaks of empirical knowledge of reality by sensation and coments: “The fact that human knowledge is primarily a sensory knowledge surprises no one.Neither Plato nor Aristotle nor any of the classical pohilosopohers questioned this. Cognitive realism, both so-called naïve realism (things are what they seem to be) and critical realism (we critique that the way we know through the senses and concepts are mediate ways of inowing and therefore distortive and distorted), agrees that ‘nihil es tin tinetllectu, quod prius non fuerit in sensu’ (‘nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses’). Nevertheless, the limits of these ‘senses’ are not exclusively sensory. We know, in fact, that man not only knows colors, tones, and forms; he also knows objects globally – for example, not only all the parts that comprise the object ‘man’ but also man in himself (Yes, man as a person). He knows, therefore, extrasensory truths, or, in other words, the transempirical,. In addition, it is not possible to affirm that when something is transempirical it ceases to be empirical.
“It is therefore possible to speak from a solid foundation about human experience, moral experience, or religious experience. And if it is possible to speak of such experiences, it is difficult to deny that , in the realm of human experience, one also finds good and evil, truth and beautry, and God. God Himself certainly is not an object of human sensible) empiricism; (but He is certainly an object of human experience); the Sacred Scripture, inits own way, emphasizes this: ‘No one has ever seen god” (cf. Jn. 1, 18). If God is a knowable object – as both the Book of Wisdom and the Letter to the Romans teach – He is such on the basis of man’s experience both of the visible world and of his interior world. This is the point of departure for Immanuel Kant’s study of ethical experience in which he abandons the old approach found in the writings of the Bible and ofSaint Thomas Aquinas. Man recognizes himself as an ethical being, capable of acting according to criteria of good and evil, and not only those of profit and pleasure. He also recognizes himself as a religious being, capable of poutting himself in contact with God. Prayer – of which we talked earlier – isin a certain sense the first verification of sch a reality...(underline mine). “And we find ourelves by now every close to Saint Thomas, but the path passenot so much through being and existence as through people and their meeting each other, through the ‘I’ and the “Thou and their meeting each other, through the ‘I’ and the “Thou.”This is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence, which is always a co-existence…Such co-existence is essential to our Judeo-Christian tradition and comes from God’s initiative. This initiative is connected with and leads to creation, and is at the same time – Saint Pal teaches – ‘the eternal election man in the Word who is the Son(cf. Eph. 1, 4)”[11]

Philosophically, Karol Wojtyla uses “experience” (not evidence) as criterion of access to reality. That reality is is mediately grasped through the external senses and rendered abstact as conceptual thought, propositional knowing, syllogistic reasoning and return to the sensible reality to make a judgement as to truth. But this is an objectified way of knowing. It renders reality as object.

There is also a realistic knowledge of the self that is not only mediated by sensible perception and concepts of reason, but which is immediately experienced in the act of going out of self in faith as prayer (its first act). That experience gives us a consciousness of self as image of God. Hence it is a realistic experience of God, and it begs for philosophy to give an account of it.

John Paul II makes such an account in Fides et Ratio #83:
I want only to state that reality and truth do transcend the factual and the empirical, and to vindicate the human being's capacity to know this transcendent and metaphysical dimension in a way that is true and certain, albeit imperfect and analogical. In this sense, metaphysics should not be seen as an alternative to anthropology, since it is metaphysics which makes it possible to ground the concept of personal dignity in virtue of their spiritual nature. In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being, and hence with metaphysical enquiry.
“Wherever men and women discover a call to the absolute and transcendent, the metaphysical dimension of reality opens up before them: in truth, in beauty, in moral values, in other persons, in being itself, in God. We face a great challenge at the end of this millennium to move from phenomenon to foundation, a step as necessary as it is urgent. We cannot stop short at experience alone; even if experience does reveal the human being's interiority and spirituality, speculative thinking must penetrate to the spiritual core and the ground from which it rises. Therefore, a philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of Revelation.”
            To make this clear, Wojtyla assimilates the metaphysics of being of St. Thomas. He never wants to leave it. But he adds to it the experience of the “acting person,’ or “lived experience.” It simply was not Thomas’s time to see this for the completion of his metaphysics of esse. That is, there is an experience that the self has of itself in the act of moral freedom. The experience of responsibility, the experience of joy, the experience of love, the experience of anxiety – are all experiences of the exercise of freedom either to stay within selfe or to migrate out of self. Wojtyla doesn’t deny the notion of being in Aristotle and St. Thomas that is “substance,” but he adds the dimension of “lived experience” which is the dimension of the “.” “Substance” is a metaphysic of everyman. Subject is the metaphysic of the unique and irrepeatable “I.” “In my lived experience of self-possession and self-governance, I experience that I am a person and that I am a subject.”[12] This “I” is snot consciousness but being. Consciousness is the result of the experience of the self lived in the free moral act. The “living “I” is always relational as imaging the relations that are the Father, Son and Spirit mediated to us by the humanity of Jesus Christ. Christ is the “I” of the Son Who has assumed a full humanity that He exercises His divinity through. When Christ wills humanly, it is not His human will that wills. It is His divine “I” that wills humanly. Christ is not a zero sum of humanity and divinity, but totally God and totally man. This is so because He is not a Substance but pure Relation to the Father and “for” us. He is Relation to the Father and “for” us as Relation.

            Thus, the great adventure today is to see how this incorporation of the subject as relation translates as anthropology: work, politics, economics and sexuality. To be clear, the “laws” of being are different if you consider being as object or subject, substance or relation.

The philosophy of man (anthropology) is spelled out in Gaudium et Spes #24:

“The Lord Jesus, when praying to the Father ‘that they may all be one… even as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22), has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying the union of the sons of God in  truth and love. It follows, then, that if ma is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake,[13] man can fully find discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.”

            And now the faith of Abraham begins to take on its global outreach. The new “axial age” is upon us. The Person of Christ as “the working person” is on the threshold of becoming the defining center of a new global civilization and the new evangelization.

Consider Benedict’s thought concerning the Europe of now:

Faith Needs Reason To Offer the Human Person (GS #24) as the Defining Center of the Global Economy and Politics of Nations

On the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, 2007, Benedict said:

“The whole of the Second Vatican Council was truly stirred by the longing to proclaim Christ, the Light of the world, to contemporary humanity. In the heart of the Church, from the summit of her hierarchy, emerged the impelling desire, awakened by the Spirit, for a new epiphany of Christ in the world, a world that the modern epoch had profoundly transformed and that, for the first time in history, found itself facing the challenge of a global civilization in which the centre could no longer be Europe or even what we call the West and the North of the world. The need to work out a new world political and economic order was emerging but, at the same time and above all, one that would be both spiritual and cultural, that is, a renewed humanism. This observation became more and more obvious: a new world economic and political order cannot work unless there is a spiritual renewal, unless we can once again draw close to God and find God in our midst. Before the Second Vatican Council, the enlightened minds of Christian thinkers had already intuited and faced this epochal challenge. Well, at the beginning of the third millennium, we find ourselves in the midst of this phase of human history that now focuses on the word "globalization."

What is the Meaning Today of European-American Culture?

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger asked: “Above all, what is European culture, and what has remained of it? Is European culture perhaps nothing more than the technology and trade civilization that has marched triumphantly across the planet? Or is it instead a post-European culture born on the ruins of the ancient European cultures?... The victory of the post-European techno-secular world and the universalization of its lifestyle and thinking have spread the impression – especially in the non-European countries of Asia and Africa – that Europe’s value system, culture, and faith – in other words, the very foundations of its identity – have reached the end of the road, and have indeed already departed from the scene. From this perspective, the time has apparently arrived to affirm the value systems of other worlds, such as pre-Colombian America, Islam, or Asian mysticism.

“At the hour of its greatest success, Europe [America] seems hollow, as if it were internally paralyzed by a failure of its circulatory system that is endangering its life subjecting it to transplants that erase its identity. At the same time as its sustaining spiritual forces have collapsed, a growing decline in its ethnicity is also taking place.”[16]

Further: Ratzinger ends his talk announcing this insightful yet chilling fact:

“The essential problem of our times, for Europe and for the world, is that although the fallacy of the communist economy has been recognized – so much so that former communists have unhesitatingly become economic liberals – the moral and religious question that it used to address has been almost totally repressed. The unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about God, himself, and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem today. Left untreated, it could lead to the self-destruction of the European conscience, which we must begin to consider as a real danger –above and beyond the decline predicted by Spengler.”[17]

Notice: “The unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about God, himself, and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem today.”

            Me: We have not solved Marxism by Capitalism. There is ultimately no difference. We have not moved one iota from the consciousness of man as an economic automaton. We have no consciousness of God, the meaning of the human person as mere individual to be manipulated, nor the universe as a meaningless object to which we impose meaning.

            The ideologies of Marxism and Capitalism can only be resolved by the person as image of the Trinitarian God in the exercise of work. Instead of the Socialism and Capitalism: the working person. In work, the human person finds himself by the sincere gift of himself. Thus, what is true in both ideologies is released in the solidarity and subsidiarity of the person that is derived from the revealed notion of person in Christ that is ultimate derived from the Trinity.

            Notice that we are now on the brink of the achievement of the promise made to Abraham that he would be the father in faith of the global population. As the ideologies collapse, the shoot of the working person – finding self as Christ by sincere gift of self -  begins to emerge. The one world to which we are destined (“Going, teach all nations…”) will have one defining truth: the dignity of the human person revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ: true God and true Man, who is the Word of the engendering Father of the Trinity.

            Secularity: The truth of Christ as the defining center of the global population is not “religious” but secular. Secular is defined by the humanity and freedom of Jesus Christ to master and subdue His human will to live out the obedience to the Father that He is in His Person. Secularity is never a given out there now. It is an achievement of becoming Christ, exercising his freedom of self-mastery and therefore “autonomy.” Our goal for each to be another Christ in work in the world is not a theocracy, but secularity as true freedom and true autonomy (theonomy).

Repeating Sts. Cyril and Methodius:

[16] J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Roots of Europe” in Without Roots Basic Books (2006) 65-66.
[17] Ibid 74.

[1] “In 1949, Karl Jaspers introduced the notion of an ‘axial age’ to describe a few centuries around the middle of the first millennium B.C. when great spiritual masters planted the seeds of the great world faiths. To a world of tribal deities, primitive myths, and nature rituals, Confucius, Lao-tse, Siddhartha Gautama, the Hebrew prophets and Greek thinkers from the pre-Socratics to the Greek thinkers from the pre-Socratics to Plato brought new visions of universal ethics, individual salvation, and personal quest for higher meaning. Since then, religion has never been the same.
                “Our ‘secular age,’ in Charles Taylor’s view, is no less pivotal. Between 1500 and today, something ‘titanic’ and irreversible has happened. Religion will not disappear but, again, it will never be the same…” Peter Steinfels, Commonweal, May 9, 2008, 14-21.
[2] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 95-97.
[3] J. Ratzinger, “In the Beginning…” Eerdmans (1995) 10-12.
[4] R. Sokolowski, “The God of Faith and Reason,” UNDP (1982) 12.
[5] Ibid.
[6] According to Matthew Henry, Ezekiel is also believed to have been known as Nazaratus Assyrius, a teacher to Pythagoras…. Sir William Smith, in his "Bible Dictionary," points out that John Selden, among others, consider it a possibility. In the book "Pythagoras: Greek philosopher" it states; "Nazaratus, the Assyrian, one of Pythagoras' masters, was supposed to be the prophet Ezekiel, and Thomas Stanley's Life of Pythagoras says that Ezekiel and Pythagoras flourished together.

[8] J. Ratzinger, “‘In the Beginning…’” Eerdmans Publishing Co. (1995) 11-12.
[9] J. Ratzinger, “Church, Ecumenism and Politics,” Crossroad (1988) 218.
[10] John Paul II, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” Knopf (1994) 33-34.
[11] Ibid. 34, 36.
[12] K. Wojtyla, “Subjectivity and the Irreducible in the Human Being,” Person and Communit, Lang (1993) 214.
[13] This means that not even God can use man for a purpose other than himself, and this because He has made man free to determine himself and decide for himself, about himself. And this is the reason why God has revealed the supernatural destiny of man. Cf. Wojtyla’s “Love  and Responsibility,” Ignatius (1990) 27.

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