The God of the Bible and the God of the Philosophers

For medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers, the great theological challenge was to reconcile the Aristotelian idea of God—an unmoved, impersonal force—with the biblical God who engages with His creations, answers prayer, and is subject to human-like emotions. Many modern thinkers and scholar see the philosophical approach, associated with Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides, and Averroes, as imposing on the Bible a fundamentally incompatible notion of the deity. Eleonore Stump, however, argues that the gap between the philosophical and biblical God is not so great, and that medieval philosophy can enhance our understanding of Scripture. (Interview by Joseph Ryan Kelly. Audio, 17 minutes.)

Read more at Marginalia

More about: Bible, History & Ideas, Moses Maimonides, Philosophy of Religion, Theology, Thomas Aquinas

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy