Tuesday, March 25, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUNDThis week's quotes come from the second half of a book (other quotes I posted earlier) called, "Eifelheim" by Michael Flynn.  It is science fiction (aliens are involved - so far this is the second book I've read with aliens in it that I actually like) but his treatment of the Church is very fair (I believe he is not a Catholic himself) and even better his treatment of the mediaeval period, which most of us had been taught in school (erroneously) was a terribly backward and superstition time.  Before we get to the quotes, here is part of an interview with Mr. Flynn in which he counters the accusation that he made the mediaeval characters in "Eifelheim" too enlightened:
"The Middle Ages was an age of reason ... and yet we've been taught to think of it as an age of superstition. It probably glorified reason far more than the Age of Reason. The medievals invented the university, with a standard curriculum, courses of study, degrees and, of course, funny hats.

The curriculum that was taught consisted almost entirely of reason, logic and natural philosophy—or, as we'd say, science. They didn't teach humanities, they didn't teach the arts, they taught essentially logical reasoning and natural philosophy. If you wanted to be a doctor of theology, a churchman, you had to first go through a course in science and thinking.

This was an era where the most celebrated theologian of all time was Thomas Aquinas, who dared to apply logic and reason to the study of theology. In fact, theology is the application of logic and reason to religious questions. They must have elevated reason to a pretty high pedestal if they were willing to subject their own religion to it.

In the Middle Ages, they first learned how to apply mathematics to scientific questions. After the time of the story, Nicholas Oresme, who was mentioned briefly in passing, was able to prove the mean speed theorem in physics using principles of Euclidean geometry, which marks the first time a theory had been proven by using mathematics, as opposed to us[ing] mathematics to describe the angle of refraction or to do surveying."
(Thanks MA for introducing me to the book.)
Now to the quotes:

QUOTE I:  "'Those who hold the middle ground,' said Gregor, 'are often attacked by both camps.  Between two armies is a dangerous place to graze your flock.'"
QUOTE II:  "'Any fool can hope when success lies plainly in view.  It wants genuine strength to hope when matters are hopeless.'"
QUOTE III:  "'One cannot love the world.  It is too large.  But a fleck of ground so far as his eye can see, one may hold precious above all.'"
QUOTE IIII:  "'"Only one thing removes all chance of death; and that thing is death"'"
QUOTE V:  "'The body's ills are the least of ills, for they end only in death, which is but a little thing.  But if the spirit dies, then all is lost.'"
QUOTE VI:  "'Many a good truth has been upheld by wicked men for their own purposes.  And good men have caused much wickedness in their zealotry.'"
The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter asks, "Did you know that Fortune Magazine just named Pope Francis "Greatest World Leader"?  Read more here.

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