Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able ? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing ? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both willing and able ? Then whence cometh evil ?

Is he neither able nor willing ? Then why call him God ?


Any thoughts ?

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The difficulties of diagnosing mental or physical illness in someone seven centuries after his death based on the hearsay reports of others are enormous, but that diagnosis even if accurate would not constitute evidence against the value of Aquinas's work. Summa Theologica is a work of considerable brilliance that cannot be dismissed simply on the suspicion that its author might possibly have suffered from epilepsy.

Evidently Aquinas had little else to occupy his time apart from thinking.  

Though his Summa is entirely baseless.  It is based on false assumptions and it's arguments are often irrational because the underlying assumptions are indeed false.

Essentially it is an extremely clever smoke screen and obfuscation of reality to counter and confound criticism of his lie based religious doctrines.

Thus it became and essential basis for the Catholic church to ward off logical criticism by confounding it with irrational rationalism (Aquinas's).

He was extremely clever in countering rational criticism of Christianity with surreptitious rationality.  But his whole underlying concepts and arguments are actually irrational.

His only brilliance was his use of Aristotelian logic to confound rational criticism of his irrational beliefs.

Yet much of his Summa is nothing but garbage twisted to appear as real knowledge.

 Looked through it when studying theology back in the mid 70s and really wasn't impressed with it.  In fact it was his abstracting reality in order to assert and support his Christian concepts that I found a little disconcerting and made me feel that something must be wrong with Christianity itself.

I have always been a completely rational individual from birth, my parents noticed this when the first thing I would do from the age of 4 was to pull apart all moving things given to me in order to see how they work.  No toy lasted a week without me figuring out how to pull it apart to see what makes it tick.

Aquinas didn't push my buttons at all, I pulled apart his mind while reading it and found naught but delusional, irrationality dressed up to appear rational.

I don't consider Aquinas to be as intelligent as Aristotle.

Yet Aristotelian logic has noticeable faults, but Aquinas faults are canyons!


I have always been a completely rational individual from birth

That seems extremely dubious.

Looked through it when studying theology back in the mid 70s and really wasn't impressed with it.

For one of your brilliance a brief glance was probably more than sufficient.

Well Allan, I was brought up in a theistic, church going family, but as I stated, from the outset I was always a little dubious about the rationality behind my own family's beliefs. I was often sent out of Sunday school class for questioning the teacher.
I spent much of my early life confused because my family, my Christian school other religious children around me all believed, yet, somehow their beliefs and concepts still appeared delusional to me.
Maybe it was because I started reading science books and idolizing scientists from the age of seven. My parents at the age of six gave me a "How & Why, Wonder Book" and I was instantly hooked.
I started experimenting and reading science, I have continued ever since.
By the age of 10 I had devoured a complete scientific encyclopedia set.
Yet my parents sent me to a private Christian school because I received a very high IQ score, which was where I didn't want to go. I was much happier at the local public school. That is a possible reason for my Anti-Theism.
As far as Theology and Aquinas goes, we were being spoon fed his teachings and concepts in class, because our priest worshiped Aquinas, almost as much as his god. So I had already a knowledge of what Aquinas was on about.
Yet, I rode my bike to the public library to find better science texts than existed at our school. This is where I discovered Voltaire, whom I found to be brilliant.
Reading Aquinas in comparison to Voltaire was a let down.
I am still a strong fan of Voltaire's and I consider him far more rational and brilliant than Aquinas.

Epicurus was far more intelligent than Aquinas.

If Aquinas was so intelligent, he would have realized he was producing excuses for irrational delusion and supporting a non-existent god.   But, he was not smart nor knowledgeable enough to pick the dirt from the shovel.  

Picking philosophers is really about who floats your boat.  Aquinas sinks mine, because I actually believe him to have been a completely deluded idiot, time will prove me right!  

I prefer the wisdom of more modern, far more knowledgeable and infinitely wiser philosophers:

Such as A.C. Grayling: From "The Form of Things" entitled:
"God and the European Constitution."

"Defenders of religion believe that without it humanity would lose a grip on two treasures: morality and spirituality. This belief is a measure of the extraordinary success the Church has had in making us forget that traditions of thought far richer than its own exist to teach us about both: two and a half thousand years of philosophy, the arts and literature, overflowing with insight and instruction into the deepest and most beautiful possibilities for human life, little of it depending on belief in Zeus or Osiris, Brahman or Baal. Indeed, superstition has been a barrier to our benefiting from this wealth: only the free mind has a chance to do so, though happily that wealth itself is the resource for helping the mind to become so.
In the light of such reflections, the idea of incorporating reference to religion, which Europe has fought so hard and long to liberate itself from, in the wording of its new constitution, is unacceptable. Let those who accept a religion observe it privately, but let them not impose it on the rest of us."

Picking philosophers is really about who floats your boat.  Aquinas sinks mine, because I actually believe him to have been a completely deluded idiot, time will prove me right!  

I prefer the wisdom of more modern, far more knowledgeable and infinitely wiser philosophers:

What kind of new information do you expect that would prove your claim that Aquinas was a "completely deluded idiot?"

What would you say are the principle reasons that account for modern philosophers being more knowledgeable and infinitely wiser?

I posted a discussion about Thomas Aquinas. I quoted his Summa Theologica where he recommends the death penalty for non-believers and heretics after the first or second warning. So apparently Aquinas was just another intolerant Christian.

So apparently Aquinas was just another intolerant Christian.

Judged by today's standards of freedom of conscience, certainly, but in the context of his time it would be doing your duty to God. The Greeks condemned Socrates to death as well. Our notion of what is just and moral took a long time to develop and although we consider it obvious today, past attitudes were much different and it is always difficult to know how much culpability we should assign to people in history for not having our standards.

Dr. Clark:

"Judged by today's standards of freedom of conscience, certainly, but in the context of his time it would be doing your duty to God."

Times haven't changed much from the time of Aquinas, especially in America. In my opinion, for one to call oneself a far right Republican, is the same as calling oneself an intolerant Christian. I would wager that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is both a far right republican and an intolerant Christian. Those twenty precious children and six adults at Newtown in Sandy Hook Elementary, in my opinion, were killed as a result of Christian intolerance, viz., intolerance for a ban on assault weapons. And why do the far right not want such a ban ? Because they want those weapons to fight the government. As I've posted elsewhere there is a fringe movement among the far right who has a lot of influence known as Dominionism. Their goal ? The overthrow of democracy and the establishment of theocracy.

No, times have not changed all that much since the days of Aquinas.

Certainly the tendency to condemn those with different views has not passed from human experience. Nor would I argue that justifications for that condemnation have altered much in general character—the examples you cite show the same conspiracy theory explanations of different outlooks. I do see difference in the notion of earlier times that the conspiracy was manifestation of the activity of Satan towards overthrowing Christendom (an argument we only hear now from fundamentalists) and that not killing heretics allowed a risk to the church that in itself condemned anyone who might reluct from it. Tolerance was not a virtue at that time and there was no notion of freedom of conscience. It would have been a completely foreign idea at the time, and while it may not be held by everyone nowadays with the degree of commitment one would like, it is, nonetheless, a principle valued by a large number, perhaps even a majority.

I always think it's helpful to look at the actual words so here is the passage from Summa Theologica in which Aquinas argues in favor of the death penalty for heretics. (I haven't put them in quotes to save space.)

Whether heretics ought to be tolerated?

Objection 1. It seems that heretics ought to be tolerated. For the Apostle says (2 Tim. 2:24,25): "The servant of the Lord must not wrangle . . . with modesty admonishing them that resist the truth, if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth, and they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil." Now if heretics are not tolerated but put to death, they lose the opportunity of repentance. Therefore it seems contrary to the Apostle's command.  ---

Objection 2. Further, whatever is necessary in the Church should be tolerated. Now heresies are necessary in the Church, since the Apostle says (1 Cor. 11:19): "There must be . . . heresies, that they . . . who are reproved, may be manifest among you." Therefore it seems that heretics should be tolerated.  ---

Objection 3. Further, the Master commanded his servants (Mt. 13:30) to suffer the cockle "to grow until the harvest," i.e. the end of the world, as a gloss explains it. Now holy men explain that the cockle denotes heretics. Therefore heretics should be tolerated.  ---On the contrary, The Apostle says (Titus 3:10,11): "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted." 

I answer that, With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.  ---On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Gal. 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."  ---

Reply to Objection 1. This very modesty demands that the heretic should be admonished a first and second time: and if he be unwilling to retract, he must be reckoned as already "subverted," as we may gather from the words of the Apostle quoted above.  ---

Reply to Objection 2. The profit that ensues from heresy is beside the intention of heretics, for it consists in the constancy of the faithful being put to the test, and "makes us shake off our sluggishness, and search the Scriptures more carefully," as Augustine states (De Gen. cont. Manich. i, 1). What they really intend is the corruption of the faith, which is to inflict very great harm indeed. Consequently we should consider what they directly intend, and expel them, rather than what is beside their intention, and so, tolerate them.  ---

Reply to Objection 3. According to Decret. (xxiv, qu. iii, can. Notandum), "to be excommunicated is not to be uprooted." A man is excommunicated, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 5:5) that his "spirit may be saved in the day of Our Lord." Yet if heretics be altogether uprooted by death, this is not contrary to Our Lord's command, which is to be understood as referring to the case when the cockle cannot be plucked up without plucking up the wheat, as we explained above (10, 8, ad 1), when treating of unbelievers in general. 

---Summa Theologica, 2nd Part of the 2nd Part, Question 11, Article 3."

Yes, Aquinas was no better than Mohammad, who also recommended death to infidels after 3 warnings!  

No, Clarky is somewhat wrong about Aquinas, there were philosophers before him (e.g. Jesus) who did not wish death on non-believers.

Aquinas was definitely a nut job, like Mohammad who also suffered similar hallucinations/temporal lobe trauma!




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