Religious Views vs. Secular Views

sghosh2 at buffalo.edu sghosh2 at buffalo.edu
Thu Oct 6 15:53:32 PDT 2005


There may be one Truth, but there are also multiple possible 
pathways.  I think I understand the Truth about civil rights, but 
King's I Have a Dream Speech and Marshall's brief in Brown are 
different (although admittedly complementary) ways of reaching the 
Truth.  It's not clear the first would be effective in a courtroom or 
the second, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Similarly the Pope 
and a judge may converge to similar positions on racial or gender 
equality, but a papal bull is different from a judicial opinion. 


Quoting "Scarberry, Mark" <Mark.Scarberry at pepperdine.edu>:

> A slip of the keyboard: I typed "high Renaissance" but meant "high
> Middle
> Ages" (13th Century, in fact).
> 
> Mark S. Scarberry
> Pepperdine University School of Law
>  
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scarberry, Mark 
> Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 3:16 PM
> To: CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
> Subject: RE: Religious Views vs. Secular Views
> 
> With reference to raft trips through the Grand Canyon (and begging
> the
> moderator's indulgence for one off-topic response):
> 
> The fact that two groups of persons interpret evidence differently
> and reach
> different conclusions does not show that there are two truths. At
> least one
> of the groups is in error. The notion that there are two levels of
> truth --
> a religious level and a secular level -- is, I think, a notion that
> many
> Christian philosophers (and others) have opposed over the centuries
> and up
> to the present. If I'm not mistaken, such a notion was brought
> forward in
> Europe in the High Renaissance to explain how the church's teachings
> could
> be reconciled with Aristotle. Aquinas rejected the notion and
> instead
> incorporated Aristotle's insights into Christian thinking as part of
> one
> truth. I think John Paul II, not a philosophic slouch, agreed with
> Aquinas.
> On the contemporary Protestant side, I think Alvin Plantinga also
> would
> agree that there is only one truth. (Though I don't remember him
> making that
> specific point, I think it is implicit in his 3 volume set on
> epistemology.)
>  
> Scientific truth and religious truth are not hermetically sealed (not
> even,
> for Johnny Carson fans, in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall's
> porch).
> Scientific evidence suggests very strongly (to say the least) that
> the Earth
> is much more than 10,000 years old; that may influence a Christian's
> or
> Jew's interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis, making a
> nonliteral interpretation seem more reasonable than it otherwise
> would seem.
> I cannot believe, as a matter of supposed religious truth, that the
> Earth is
> 10,000 or so years old, and also believe, as a matter of scientific
> truth,
> that the Earth is several billion years old. There is one truth as to
> the
> age of the Earth.
> 
> Mark S. Scarberry
> Pepperdine University School of Law
>  
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: dr dow - univ. [mailto:ddow at uh.edu] 
> Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:52 AM
> To: CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
> Subject: Re: Religious Views vs. Secular Views
> 
> not only is mcconnell wrong,  as larry says, what he says is ganz 
> false.  anyone who thinks that "truth is truth," that there are not 
> religious truths and secular truths but only Truth itself, has missed
> at 
> least a century's worth of intellectual history, and probably closer
> to 
> three centuries' worth.  you can get a cliffs notes version of how
> wrong he 
> is by reading today's nytimes story on the two groups of grand canyon
> 
> rafters.  the story can be found at the following link:
> 
> 
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/06/science/sciencespecial2/06canyon.html
?hp&e
> x=1128657600&en=8fc8f41ec2ec6c4e&ei=5094&partner=homepage
> 
> i think it is obvious that if, instead of two groups of rafters, we
> had two 
> groups of judges, there would be little doubt that they would decide
> many 
> cases differently based precisely on their differing conceptions of
> truth.
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> 


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