Friday, April 16
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Tag: jim cowles

Thoughtful Thursday: A Skeptic’s Christmas

Thoughtful Thursday: A Skeptic’s Christmas

Essay, Religion, spiritual practice, Spirituality
Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness. -- George Santayana Christmas is supposed to be a very bad time for non-believers.  At least, for non-believers in a Christian culture.  (Non-Christian religious believers always have the option of standing with Christians in a spirit of ecumenical solidarity.) To the Christian population, or so the stereotype goes, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, Ethical Culture-ists -- and people like me:  skeptics -- must celebrate only by becoming perhaps mildly intoxicated on eggnog, singing som...
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...
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...