Notes: Projects
One of the two forms of desire.

One of the two forms of desire.

Allegory of the Desert.

Allegory of the Desert.

Aquinas’s God

Aquinas starts with God, arguing that the God worshipped by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the same God. Recently, the Malay courts found that Christians could not refer to God as Allah. This seems like a fundamental error, unsupported by the Koran. The Koran is wary of Jews and Christians, but not of their God. Same God.

A question

Faced with thuggish gangs like Boko Haram and ISIS that impose misogyny and terror in the name of Islam, do the leaders of established Islam - in Qum, say, or Makkah - have a responsibility to speak out? At what point are these movements guilty of apostasy? Where is the fatwa that says by implication that it is against Islam to follow them?

Today’s reading

I read chapters 3 to 6 of Denys Turner’s Thomas Aquinas, the most interesting parts of which related to our human search for what we really want - reasoned desire, Turner calls it, as opposed to immediate desire. Aquinas supposes that our happiness lies in finding this, and that a good life can be based, as Aristotle first put it, on studying the examples of good people where we find them. Jesus is one such example, Aquinas argues, and it was God’s gift to humanity to provide it. Reading this, I recalled another writer’s assertion that Machiavelli didn’t renounce Jesus, but rather argued that you couldn’t build a state like Rome’s on the basis of his teachings. That Catholic Rome more or less did so doesn’t contradict his point, I think. This is why Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness included the temptations of Satan. What Jesus foreswore wasn’t the world itself, God’s creation, but everything in the world that people worship for its own sake - everything dead, to use Christopher Alexander’s wonderful distinction between the good and the bad. (Aquinas sees the world as the only place where humankind can know God.)

That day, I chose to wear red. (5)

That day, I chose to wear red. (5)

What I’ve been reading.

What I’ve been reading.

The view just now.

The view just now.