September 8th, 2013
Atheist biologist PZ Myers recently shared his thoughts on how an atheist is to live the good life. He constructed his opinions as counterpoints to many Christian disciplines and virtues. In the end, the happy atheist is the one who is free from religion, whose ethics are framed around societal responsibilities. Sure, helping and loving one another is good but Myers lacks a purpose or end goal for the good life.
Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas are the leading thinkers when it comes to answering the question, “What is the good life?” Both Aristotle and Thomas agreed that the good life is fulfilling one’s purpose in life but Thomas was the one who grounded the good life in divine love and purpose.
One of the common misconceptions of Christianity is that the goal of human life is happiness. The chief end of man is to love and know God—fulfilling God’s purposes for each individual. Man’s end is not happiness in this world, but the knowledge of God, which will ultimately bring humanity to it’s intended purpose and end.
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April 28th, 2013
Aristotle’s ethic was eudaimonistic, which was later developed by Thomas Aquinas. Evil is the negation of good and requires no ontological grounding and it is the case that everyone always acts according to what they believe is good. Thomas’ meta-ethic was that being and goodness are the same in reference but differ only in sense. He follows Aristotle in making the connection between goodness and desirability. “The formula of the good consists in this, that something is desirable, and so the Philosopher [Aristotle] says that the good is what all desire.” Although all things desire goodness, not all things capable of pursuing goodness and pleasure with understanding understand what really is good; it is possible for creatures with intellect and will to desire an apparent good as a real one. Thomas states that something is desirable in two ways, either because it is good or because it appears good. Of these, the first is what is good, for an apparent good does not move by itself but insofar as it has some appearance of good; but the good moves by itself. Desirability and pleasure is an essential aspect of goodness. The perfection of anything is goodness and perfection is attained in actuality, “As regards nature the good of anything is its actuality and perfection.”
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April 5th, 2013
The following argument is an abductive Thomistic cosmological argument from contingency, which I presented at my recent Ratio Christi debate.
- There are contingent constituents to the universe.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe (U) is very, very unlikely under the hypothesis that these constituents are themselves uncaused or self-caused (~Cu): that is, P(U|~Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe is not unlikely under the hypothesis of a first uncaused cause (Cu): that is, ~P(U|Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, U strongly supports Cu over ~Cu.
The constituents of the universe include galaxies, planets, stars, cars, humans, leptons, bosons, and other particles. For the constituents of the universe to be uncaused that would mean it is metaphysically necessary. For something to be metaphysically necessary that means that it could not have failed to exist—it exists in every possible world.
For something to be self-caused it must be simultaneously antecedent to itself to produce itself as its own effect. But this contradictory. This would be akin to the ultimate bootstrapping trick.
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