Author: jrcowles

Thoughtful Thursday: A Close Shave with Occam’s Razor

Thoughtful Thursday: A Close Shave with Occam’s Razor

Essay, Spirituality
One of the most useful, but also one of the most neglected, principles in the practice of theology is Occam's (or Ockham's) Razor. Occam's Razor is usually credited to William of Occam, a nominalist Franciscan monk of the early 14th century.  There are several mutually equivalent ways, in both Latin and English, of expressing the principle. One of the more common Latin versions is Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate:  "Plurality is not to be posited without necessity". Much less laconic, but more colloquially accessible, is my favorite English version: "Hypotheses / suppositions / premises that contribute no expository power should be deleted from any proposed explanation". In the early 1300s, classical Scholasticism began to wane as theologians, William of Occam among the mos

Varieties Of Faith, Rational And Religious

Essay, Spirituality
It is often asserted by defenders of religious faith that science, especially within an atheist / materialist context, requires just as much faith as belief in God.  This is often asserted without specifying either how one measures degrees of faith and without considering issues of actual truth.  The fact that one assertion requires “just as much faith” as another proves the truth of neither one.  Both may be wrong.  But aside from that, perhaps the most serious omission is the failure to consider that the same word – in this case, “faith” – can connote very different meanings in different contexts.  What “faith” means within the context of rationality is very different from what “faith” means within a religious context. This is actually a subject for a whole book, more likely, many bo
Thoughtful Thursday: Vocation — A Calling Without a Caller

Thoughtful Thursday: Vocation — A Calling Without a Caller

Essay, Jim Cowles, Skeptic
This is our second post from our resident skeptic, James (Jim) Cowles. Jim has an eclectic background (read his bio at the end) to say the least and will be our spiritual skeptic (he is an atheist). Keeping us honest in our wonderings about all things divine and challenging our thinking. Here is an invitation to think about what is our responsibility on this Thoughtful Thursday. A reminder about what Thoughtful Thursday is: Theos – God, Logos – Words. So, literally, theos-logos, theology, is words about God. These are some of my favorite thoughts! I ask myself what is my relationship to the Divine? What is the Divine’s relationship to others? Other people? Other things? Other components of the world? Other components of the cosmos? How can we stretch our thoughts to be more, simply more