Aletheia essays written by David Cowles is designed to offer fresh insights into traditional philosophical and theological problems and to apply those insights to contemporary developments in culture, art and the social and physical sciences.

 

PROCESS THEOLOGY
Being • Existentialism • God • Time • Trinity • Whitehead
The British philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead, is generally considered the ‘father of process philosophy’. Read more
WHY WE HAVE NO CLUE
Being • Culture
A 5 year old grandson of mine explained the difference between immortality and eternity in a way that would have made Augustine of Hippo cry. Read more
SAINT SARTRE?
Being • Culture • Existentialism • God
Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialist philosopher prolific from 1938 to 1980, is not often linked with Leo XIII, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1878 to 1903. Read more
PSALM 22
Eschatology
There are 64 books in the New American edition of the Holy Bible. One of these books is Psalms. The Book of Psalms consists of 150 psalms of which Psalm 22 is one. Read more
FAITH HOPE LOVE
Being • Existentialism • God • John & Paul • Time • Whitehead
“Love is patient, love is kind…It does not seek its own interests, it…rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Read more
ANAMNESIS
Being • Culture • Pound & Joyce • Time
“Anamnesis”; it’s a mouthful…but a very important mouthful. Read more
THE ONE AND THE MANY
Being • Eschatology • God • Time • Trinity
(This essay is dedicated to Ralph Pred, mentor and friend, who taught me almost everything I know and who would probably disagree with almost everything in this essay. Thank you, Ralph. Read more
LUCRETIUS
Being • Existentialism
In approximately 60 BC, the Roman poet Lucretius wrote On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura). In the tradition of Parmenides' On Nature, Lucretius’ poem is an ontological epic. Read more
MYTHOLOGY TODAY
Culture • Science • Time
According to a popular conception of intellectual history, mythology is characteristic of human pre-history. Read more
MORALS AND VALUES IN JOB
Culture • God
The Old Testament Book of Job is thought to be a meditation on the so-called problem of evil: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” (Rabbi Harold Kushner) It is odd then that the book prov... Read more
BEATITUDES
Being • Culture
Reading Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a bit like going down a rabbit hole or passing through the looking glass. Nothing is as it should be; everything is turned around or upside down. Read more
MORALS OR VALUES
Being • Culture • Existentialism • God
For most of us, our first encounter with “morality” comes through our parents (or parent figures). Read more
CHRIST THE KING
Christ • Eschatology
Since 1970, the Roman Catholic Church has celebrated the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Read more
THIS IS US
Culture • Science • Time
The fall of 2016 saw a new comedy series, This is Us, added to the NBC line-up. Read more
“IS GOD DEAD?”
Christ • God • Parmenides • Trinity • Whitehead
So read the cover of Time Magazine on April 8, 1966. Time was reporting on a handful of radical theologians who claimed to have invented “Death of God Theology” (aka Theothanatology). Read more
OUR TWO PARTY SYSTEM
Culture • Politics
No two national political systems are ever the same, but in our era at least they all do have one thing in common: they all want to be thought of as ‘democratic’. Read more
DEUTERONOMY
Being • Existentialism
Deuteronomy, the last book of the Torah, the 5th book of the Bible, consists of 34 Chapters containing on average about 35 verses each. We will focus on just one of those verses (Deut. Read more
THEOLOGY OF ENTANGLEMENT
God • Science
What is the relationship between God and the world, between the Kingdom of Heaven and the material universe? Ultimately, this one question lies at the foundation of most of our great theological de... Read more
SHAKESPEARE
Culture • Eschatology • Whitehead
Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Duchamp, Camus, Ionesco, Beckett – these are names that come to mind when one thinks about nihilism... Read more
THE MEANING OF LIFE
Eschatology • God • Whitehead
(Toward the end of his life, A. J. Ayer, British philosopher and the father of Logical Positivism, gave a lecture on the Meaning of Life. Read more
EDUCATING CHRISTIANS
Christ • Culture • John & Paul • Science • Time • Trinity
We are good parents. From infancy we teach our children ‘the facts of life’ –how the world came to be the way it is and how it works. We certainly mean well. But do we do well? Let's see. Read more
JOB RECONSIDERED
Eschatology • Existentialism • God
Everyone knows the story of Job…or thinks he does.  A just and righteous man, Job enjoys family, wealth and respect. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he loses everything. Read more
KUNDALINI
Culture • Time
Relax. This isn’t an article about the practice of Kundalini Yoga. (Even I know my limits. Read more
HOW THE WORLD WORKS
Being • Eschatology • God • Trinity • Whitehead
The world consists entirely of events. Events have elements but not parts: they are indivisible because they are self-reflective and recursive. Read more
THE PROBLEM OF GOOD II
Eschatology • God
An earlier essay in this collection, The Problem of Good, showed that the famous “Problem of Evil” is really just a special case (mathematicians would call it a “degenerate case”) of a much la... Read more
The PROBLEM OF GOOD
Being • God • Time • Whitehead
You’re familiar with the Problem of Evil. It is an argument often advanced against the existence of God. Read more
PSALM 126
Eschatology • Science • Time
“Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, Will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves. Read more
CAMUS
Existentialism
Albert Camus (1913 - 1960) may rightly be called the philosopher of the Absurd. Read more
FRACTAL
Being • Christ • Culture • Eschatology • God • Science • Trinity
Have you ever been in a fun house? If so, you probably visited the Hall of Mirrors. You enter and all around you are mirrors. Read more
WYSIWYG?
Being • Parmenides • Science • Trinity
What You See Is What You Get! Or is it? Albert Einstein famously said that the fundamental question of philosophy is whether the universe is on the whole a benevolent place. Read more
TIME OVERTHROWN
Time
One morning, I was standing on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, looking across to Philadelphia. Read more
COMPETING CREEDS
Culture • Eschatology • God
The Nicene Creed is the foundational statement of belief for most Christian churches. To the casual reader, some of its assertions may seem difficult and, well, in-credible. Read more
THEOLOGY 101
Anaximander • Eschatology • Existentialism • Genesis • God • Parmenides • Time • Trinity • Whitehead
Theology 101 is comprehensive…but not complete. Questions remain to be answered, themes need to be further developed. Read more
HOLOGRAM
Eschatology • Prayer
Although the story is told twice, once in Matthew and once in Luke, both versions amount to a single account of Jesus teaching his disciples to pray, the only such account in all scripture. Read more
PSALM 146
Eschatology • Existentialism • God • Prayer • Time
The Old Testament Book of Psalms consists of 150 Psalms, divided into 5 ‘books’. The last 5 Psalms of the final book (Psalms 146 – 150) constitute the climax of the entire work. Read more
LEIBNIZ
Being • God • Whitehead
In his own words…and in mine! When several predicates are attributed to a single subject and this subject is attributed to no other, it is called an individual substance (monad). Read more
PSALM 151
Eschatology • God • Prayer • Whitehead
“The Book of Psalms consists of 150 songs praising or exhorting God” - (Psalms, another essay in this collection). Read more
PSALMS
Eschatology • God • Prayer • Trinity
The Book of Psalms consists of 150 songs praising and exhorting God. Read more
MAY DAY
Culture • Pound & Joyce
A very, very long time ago, when I was young, our favorite days of the year were Christmas and Halloween, not necessarily in that order. Read more
WHY I AM NOT A DETERMINIST
Science • Time
When I was growing up, Bertrand Russell’s essay, Why I am not a Christian, created a lot of buzz. Read more
TRINITY
Trinity
According to the website, Catholic Culture, the Blessed Trinity is “the fundamental dogma on which everything in Christianity is based.” And yet the Trinity is considered a mystery. Read more
ALICE
For Kids
You remember Alice – the girl who chased a white rabbit down a hole and almost got her head cut off by the Queen of Hearts! But did you know that later on, when she was a bit older, Alice had anothe... Read more
THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS
Culture • Time
Lewis Carroll’s second novel about his young heroine, Alice (you know Alice…of Wonderland fame), is titled Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Read more
QUARK SOUP
For Kids • Science
Do you like riddles? Try this one: Once, more than 13 billion years ago, I filled the entire universe…but I lasted less than a second. Since then, I never existed again…until 2010. Read more
I AM
Being • God • Trinity
The Judeo-Christian tradition includes upwards of 80 books of scripture (depending on whose cannon you’re following), but I think a strong case can be made that the core theological insight, the in... Read more
CREATIONISM
Genesis • Whitehead
Creationism is the belief that the cosmos, the earth, living organisms, and/or human beings came to be instantaneously in something very much like their current form(s). Read more
DEATH
Heraclitus • Parmenides • Time
There is an ancient story of an Emperor who encountered a philosopher on the road. Read more
TWO FACED GOD
God • Time
For Roman Catholics and many other Christians, the defining statement of religious doctrine is the Nicene Creed. Adopted by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Read more
GOLDEN RULE
Culture • Existentialism
Growing up, we all learned the Golden Rule (all of us, that is, except Peter Pan): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Read more
ANAXIMANDER, MARTIN & JOHN
Anaximander • Existentialism • Genesis • John & Paul • Time
Although five books of the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to the apostle John, modern scholarship has identified two of these works as most likely bearing John’s direct imprint: Th... Read more
DANTE & THE YELLOW SUBMARINE
Anaximander • Being • Science • Time • Whitehead • Yellow Submarine
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard a thing it is to tell of that wood, savage and harsh and dense... Read more
YELLOW SUB HOLY GRAIL
Culture • Yellow Submarine
In the intellectual tradition of the Western world, no theme is more ubiquitous, or enigmatic, than that of the Grail. Read more
VACUUM MONSTER
For Kids • Yellow Submarine
When you were very young, were you ever afraid of your mother’s vacuum cleaner? Were you scared it might suck you up? And what would happen then? Would you just vanish? Of course, you’re much o... Read more
MARX & THE REPUBLICANS
Culture • Politics
In a previous article in this collection (“One Party Rule”), we discovered that there is really only one true political party in the United States today, the Democratic Party. Read more
X-MEN
Culture • Existentialism • For Kids • Science • Time
Did you ever say to yourself, “If only I had known then what I know now?” Say it’s Tuesday night and you have an English test coming up Wednesday morning. Read more
ONE PARTY RULE
Culture • Politics
Ask most any American high school student to describe the political system in the United States and she’ll almost certainly mention our “two party system”. Read more
TWO ROADS DIVERGED?
Culture • Whitehead
Ask anyone passingly acquainted with American poetry to tell you the title of his favorite Robert Frost poem and you might expect to hear, “Two roads diverged in a wood”. Read more
SAINT DAILAN'S CREED
God • Prayer • Whitehead
Philosophy has traditionally distinguished between the essence of things and their existence. Read more
ROBERT FROST – QUANTUM MECHANIC
Christ • Culture • Eschatology • Existentialism • Science
Robert Frost’s 1916 poem, The Road Not Taken, appears to be a comment on existential angst and the human condition; and on one level it is no doubt just exactly that. Read more
RERUM NOVARUM – THE PLAY
Culture • Politics
  (The text of this one act play is taken from Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 Encyclical on The Condition of the Working Classes, Rerum Novarum. Read more
LEGO & BELL'S
Culture • Science
It begins as a typical children’s cartoon movie: a struggle between good and evil, mildly interesting characters trying to overcome personal insecurities to ‘be all that they can be’, a love tri... Read more
THE LEGO MOVIE written by David Cowles
Culture • For Kids • Science
(Note: Toward the end of the movie, Finn explains to his dad that Legos are for kids ages 8 to 14. It says so on the box. But Dad says, “That’s just a suggestion!” Same here. Read more
GENESIS WINS NOBEL PRIZE! written by David Cowles
Genesis • Science • Time
“REUTERS – The Nobel Committee in Olso has just announced that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded, posthumously, to the authors of the Book of Genesis for their groundbreaking c... Read more
RIGHT AND JUST written by David Cowles
Being • Christ • Eschatology • God • Whitehead
In Roman Catholic liturgy, the Eucharistic Prayer, the central event of the Mass that incorporates the Transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (“this is my body…this... Read more
OWL AND PUSSYCAT written by David Cowles
Culture • Eschatology
No, our title does not refer to a pub in London…though if it did, I would certainly be having a pint there. Read more
CORINTHIANS written by David Cowles
Anaximander • Christ • Eschatology • God • John & Paul • Parmenides • Politics • Whitehead
In the Bible’s New Testament, 14 letters (or epistles) have traditionally been attributed to Paul of Tarsus, St. Paul. Read more
NIETZSCHE written by David Cowles
Anaximander • Being • Christ • Existentialism • Heraclitus • John & Paul • Trinity • Whitehead
“What alone can our teaching be? – That no one gives a human being his qualities: not God, not society, not his parents or ancestors, not he himself…” “The fatality of his nature cannot b... Read more
NORSE MYTHOLOGY written by David Cowles
Culture • Eschatology • Pound & Joyce • Trinity • Whitehead
Beyond the works of Wagner (The Ring),Tolkien (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) and, of course, Marvel Comics, most of what we know about Norse Mythology comes from just two sources: The Elder Edda, ... Read more
CHRISTMAS written by David Cowles
Christ • Eschatology • God • Whitehead
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Nazarene who Christians believe is the Christ, the Messiah foretold throughout Old Testament scripture. Read more
MYTHOLOGY written by David Cowles
Culture • Whitehead
Language, the principal medium of human reason, comes in three voices: systematic, poetic and mythic. Read more
APOCALYPSE NOW!
Eschatology • Parmenides • Whitehead
No, not the movie…the Eucharist! Much of Christian eschatology is organized around two concepts: Apocalypse and Parousia, ancient Greek words commonly translated as “revelation” and “coming... Read more
MAX HEADROOM & DEMOCRACY
Culture • Politics
In the late 1980’s, cult television brought us Max Headroom, a futuristic series whose eponymous hero, an artificial intelligence, a dissipitive bundle of code, lived in cyberspace and interacted wi... Read more
CREATION
Anaximander • Being • Genesis • God • Heraclitus • Parmenides
The world we live in seems to consist of discrete entities, i.e. objects and events with size, shape and/or duration (in other words, extension) in what we call space and time. Read more
ONTOLOGICAL DEMOCRACY
Being • Culture • Pound & Joyce
What is real…and what isn’t? It seems at times that this question defines the entire project of our lives. As very young children, we accept everything as real. Read more
BEAUTY AND THE TRUTH
Culture • John & Paul • Whitehead
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know. Read more
ECBATAN
Eschatology • Parmenides • Pound & Joyce • Time
“Great bulk, huge mass, thesaurus; Ecbatan, the clock ticks and fades out The bride awaiting the god’s touch; Ecbatan, City of patterned streets; again the vision:” – Ezra Pound, Canto V ... Read more
FRAGMENT 8
Being • Eschatology • Parmenides • Whitehead
What is the most important single work in Western philosophical tradition? Is it Plato’s Timaeus? John’s Gospel? Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason? Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations? ... Read more
Science & The Yellow Submarine
Time • Yellow Submarine
The Beatles’ iconic 1968 film, Yellow Submarine, is more than meets the eye. Not that the eye…or ear…is ever starved for stimulation in this psychedelic romp. Read more
TOPOLOGY OF THEOLOGY
Eschatology • God • Parmenides • Science • Trinity
At least since the Enlightenment, Westerners have been looking at the world in a very particular way. Read more
REVELATION
Christ • Eschatology • God • John & Paul • Parmenides • Whitehead
In its introduction to the Book of Revelation, the New American Bible (Revised Edition), currently the official translation of the Roman Catholic Church, states: “The Apocalypse, or Revelation to Jo... Read more
LEVITICUS
Politics
From the Industrial Revolution to the Dotcom Revolution, intellectual, social and economic history was dominated by the struggle between Communism and Capitalism. Read more
WHITEHEAD – THE PLAY
For Kids • God • Whitehead
(Text from Process and Reality, “God and the World”, by Alfred North Whitehead. Read more
ESCHATON REVISTED
Eschatology • Parmenides • Science
Eschatology is traditionally defined as the study of the four last things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Read more
LORD'S PRAYER
Eschatology • God • Prayer • Whitehead
Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Read more
ECCLESIASTES
Being • Eschatology • Existentialism • God • Politics
“Vanity of vanities. All things are vanity. Read more
GRACE
Eschatology • God • Whitehead
“We are not what we are and we are what we are not.” --- Jean Paul Sartre Our being is really a perpetual becoming. We are never static, never at rest. Read more
THE NATURE OF GOD
God • Whitehead
In an earlier essay in this collection, Atheism, we demonstrated that theism and atheism share a common history and a common intellectual orientation. Read more
ATHEISM
God • Politics
Atheism is usually defined as the belief that God does not exist. It is contrasted with theism which is generally understood to be the contrary belief that God does in fact exist. Read more
THE SECRET LIFE OF THINGS
Being • Trinity
What is a ‘thing’? According to the Nicene Creed, God is the creator of “all things, visible and invisible” and according to the Gospel of John, it is through the Logos (Christ) that “all... Read more
THE MANY WORLDS INTERPRETATION OF NOH
Culture • Eschatology • Heraclitus • Pound & Joyce • Science
"You do not dip twice in the river/Beneath the same tree's shadow/Without bonds in some other life." Heraclitus? No. Read more
MARY POPPINS, SUFI MASTER
Culture • God
How does one come to know the mind of God? From reading a children’s story? Maybe! In 1934, P.L. Travers, an Australian, wrote one of the most famous children’s books of all time, Mary Poppins. Read more
THE REALISTIC MANIFESTO
Being • Culture • Heraclitus • Politics • Time
It’s 1920. The glow of the Russian Revolution is everywhere and dialectical materialism is the philosophy de jour. Every aspect of life in Russian society is undergoing radical transformation. Read more
HENRY MOORE AT ST. PAUL'S
Being • Christ • Culture • Eschatology • God • Time
If you want to understand what’s special about the Christian world view, travel to London and visit St. Paul’s Cathedral. Read more
LOVE...ACTUALLY!*
Being • Existentialism • Time • Trinity
“I love you,” perhaps the most famous phrase in all of human speech. But what does it mean? I love many things: my wife and children, a fine bottle of wine, foie gras, London, to name a very few. Read more
EPHESUS: DOCTRINE OF TRINITY
Christ • Heraclitus • John & Paul • Trinity • Whitehead
The City of Ephesus, located in modern day Turkey, has hosted some of the most important advances in the history of Western Philosophy. Read more
JEREMIAH
Existentialism • God • John & Paul
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I dedicated you, A prophet to the nations I appointed you. (Jer. 1:5) See, I place my words in your mouth (Jer. Read more
SUFFICIENT & NECESSARY?
Christ • Eschatology • God • Heraclitus • John & Paul • Whitehead
Scientists, philosophers and even theologians build models in an attempt to explain phenomena they’ve observed, whether results of laboratory tests, recurrent patterns in nature or prayer experienc... Read more
THE INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF TIME
Anaximander • Genesis • Parmenides • Science • Time
In an earlier essay in this collection, The Perpendicular Present, we showed conclusively that the experiential Present has nothing whatsoever to do with the linear phenomenon we call “time”. Read more
THE PERPENDICULAR PRESENT
Science • Time
At first glance, our lives seem to be strings of bead-like events. No sooner have we experienced one sensation, one thought, one feeling, one action then another takes its place. Read more
THE THREE MODALITIES OF BEING
Anaximander • Being • Existentialism • John & Paul
I, you, he/she/it, the three persons of verbal conjugation, a staple of nearly every grammar class, be it modern (English), classical (Latin) or exotic (Klingon). Read more
THE PHILOSOPHY OF EMO
Anaximander • Culture • For Kids • John & Paul
In his master work, I and Thou, the existentialist philosopher, Martin Buber, wrote “In the beginning is the relation.” This was not a new idea. Read more
DOES "GOD" MAKE SENSE?
Anaximander • God • Time
When we examine every bit of objective evidence we have about the world we live in, we find that the dimension of time is continuous (at least down to the Planck scale). Read more
COLOSSIANS
Christ • Eschatology • God • John & Paul • Prayer
There are three fundamental doctrines that characterize the world view generally known as Christianity: Creation, Incarnation and Salvation. Read more
KANDINSKY...AND THE OTHER WORLD
Culture • Parmenides • Time
From the dawn of philosophy, thinkers have speculated that the world of space & time, matter & energy, objects & sense perceptions, the world in which we seem to live, may not be the only ... Read more