Monday, June 20, 2011

Views on the rationality of God, man, and nature

Just thinking out loud here, but, as I was reading Michael Allen Gillespie's The Theological Origins of Modernity on a trip out of town last week, it occurred to me that one could break down worldviews on the basis of their view of reason as it applies to God, man and nature:
  • The Medieval Scholastics (e. g., Thomas Aquinas) emphasized belief in a rational God
  • The Nominalists (e. g., William of Ockham) and some Protestant Reformers (e. g. Luther) emphasized belief in an irrational God
  • The Renaissance Humanists (e. g., Erasmus) emphasized belief in a rational man
  • The Existentialists (e. g. Nietszche) emphasized belief in an irrational man
  • The Mechanistic Scientists (e. g. Newton) emphasized belief in a rational nature
  • The Quantum Theorists (e. g. Neils Bohr) emphasized belief in an irrational nature.
It's not an exhaustive list, but it clarified a couple of things for me.

Go ahead, Maniacs, take it apart.


Lee said...

Interesting. Did Luther actually say he believed in an irrational God, or is that your conclusion based on the things he said? If so, where can I read these things?

Paul said...

I concur with Lee. Where did you get the assertion that the Protestant reformers believed in an irrational God?

And to make your table three-dimensional, how would the scholastics look at nature, man? How would existentialists look at God, nature? While I largely agree with your simplifications, showing how all six of the groups/theories you mentioned deal with all three things (God, nature, man) would probably bring further clarification.