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The Enlightenment legacy Socinianism and Spiritualism

The Romantics caricatured their religious predecessors as prosaic Philistines, men more content with their sinecures and cosy demonstrations of divine benevolence than with the life ofthe spirit or true religious experience. In fact bishops Butler and Berkeley, and the non-juror William Law, were Christian apologists of genius who could have adorned any age. Genuinely religious philosophers like Shaftesbury, Burke and Richard Price were just as typical of the Age of Reason as Bentham and Paine. The leading lights of the English Enlightenment, Newton and Locke, were devout Christians, and figures such as Edmund Law, William Paley and Richard Watson were quite justified as seeing themselves in a Christian Lockean-Newtonian tradition. Recent historians such as J. C. D. Clark, J. G. A. Pocock and B. W Young have tried to correct the false impression that religion was a marginal interest amid a generally monolithic refusal of Christianity in the Enlightenment.2 The religious Romantic...

Enlightenment and Church

When we turn to the Enlightenment period, and to our second paradigm shift, interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly we find ourselves turning not so much to the theologians and the churches but rather to the scientists and society, for it was science and society which led the way, and the church followed. Of course, Luther and company assumed without question the prevailing scientific ideas about sex and gender of their own day. In the early modern period, relying still on the ancient sources of Aristotle and Galen, scientists understood woman as an imperfect version of man that is, there was one sex hierarchically arranged. It was thought that men and women had the same genitals (testes and penis), but women's were imperfectly formed and therefore remained inside. This fitted well with This idea was challenged in the Enlightenment. Laqueur has traced the history of the very significant shift from this one-sex model to the two-sex model and has thus charted the transformation in...

Characteristics Of Enlightenment

When one talks about 'the Enlightenment', 'les Lumi res, or 'die Aufkl rung', one is thinking of a period of European cultural change which lies between the early seventeenth century and the first French Revolution, and doing so from the point of view of a series of radical thinkers thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Beccaria, Hume and Lessing for whom intellectual experiment was to be valued rather than resisted. The Tridentine form of Roman Catholic theology and the world-views which went with it had reached a natural limit of usefulness by the mid-seventeenth century, although the system as a whole was still heavily backed by state power ecclesiastical Protestantism, despite its divisions, was no less dogmatic in intention and often socially repressive. The gradual revolt of a section of Europe's cultural elites against the hegemony of Christian world-views was not so much a sinful function of human pride, whose errors would be clearly revealed in the fate of...

Beyond Enlightenment Kant

The thinker who offered the most famous definition of Enlightenment,5 Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), also marks its culmination and is thus the one most responsible for bringing it to an end and ushering in a new era in the relationship of theology and modernity. His critical philosophy is the watershed of modern thought, the prism through which the earlier lines of modernity are gathered up and refracted in new

The legacy of the Enlightenment

Suspicion of metaphor and the figurative generally belongs to the mentality of the Enlightenment. As we shall see when we discuss metaphor specifically, this suspicion can be traced back to Aristotle. But its author in modern thought is the founder of empirical science, Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Bacon is the originator of the analytical view of language, a tradition that runs through Descartes, Hobbes, Locke and Bentham to the linguistic analysis of the twentieth century. Bacon advocated a literary style to match the rigour and self-discipline of his empirical method. It was to be a style marked by 'chastity'. This austere ideal of expression was premised on the view that words were 'counters' or 'signs' and had an exactly quantifiable value. Metaphor and other figures of speech were an encumbrance to the truth. 'And for all that concerns ornaments of speech, similitudes, treasury of eloquence, and such like emptinesses, let it be utterly dismissed' (Bacon, 1905, p.403). Though Bacon...

Five responses to the Enlightenment challenge

Nevertheless, this period is dominated by the response to the Enlightenment criticism of the dogmas of the Christian religion as unreasonable. The remainder of this chapter will analyse nineteenth-century responses to the Enlightenment according to the following five categories 1 Ultra-Romantic Those who rejected the 'Enlightenment' challenge as misguided or resting on false assumptions. 2 Idealistic Those who accepted the legitimacy of the challenge but denied that the 'Enlightenment' was employing an adequate conception of'reason', 'religion' or 'Christianity'. 3 Existentialist Those who attempted to outflank both the Enlightenment and religious Idealism. 4 Rationalistic Those who accepted the Enlightenment critique and agreed that Christianity as traditionally conceived is an illusion. Usually in this camp some naturalistic or materialistic metaphysics formed the basis ofthe evaluation. Christianity was either radically modified or rejected. 5 Pragmatic Those who accepted the...

Enlightenment the Religion of Reason

The Deist Controversy sprang from the tension between a universal natural religion and the specific teachings of the historical traditions, called positive religions by the Enlightenment rationalists.3 Even if philosophers like Descartes or Herbert of Cherbury could succeed in making room for a kind of general theism, the specific claims of Christian (and by implication, other) revelation would still need to be brought into harmony with the world-view of modernity. This question focused attention on the Bible, whose meaning and status has been one of the most persistent and controversial issues of modern theology. In seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain this issue divided religious rationalists into two camps rational supernaturalists, who acknowledged the importance of reason but affirmed the necessity of revelation as well, and the Deists, who either rejected revelation outright or reduced it to a mere accommodation Before turning to the culmination of the Enlightenment in...

The aims and the attraction of the Enlightenment

The new ideas of the Enlightenment first captured the minds of Protestants in the north west of Europe, in Great Britain and the Netherlands. While British and Dutch thinkers made bold moves towards a new world-view, their counterparts in German Protestantism were, as a rule, more cautious, if not timid when it came to expressing new ideas. This was true, for example, of the political writings of the German Protestant, Samuel Pufendorf, as well as of the philosophical treatises of his fellow German, Christian Thomasius. Both lacked the vision and the determination of such Scottish or English authors as David Hume, Thomas Hobbes, or John Locke. And the same was equally true of the writings of such early eighteenth-century German Protestant theologians asJohann Franz Buddeus, Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, Johann Georg Walch, Christoph Matthaeus Pfaff, and Johann August Ernesti. Their writings appear like cautious adjustments to new ideas when compared to the works on Deism by British and...

Enlightenment And Society The Idea Of Progress

Away in many quarters from the ascetic Christian denial of the world as a proper form of human behaviour, and a fresh attachment to human happiness in this world. One important aspect of 'enlightenment' was a feeling that Christian piety put too much stress on self-negation, not just in its view of human nature, but also in its method of pursuing holiness. One could now abandon this whole attitude and technique, rise from one's knees and study the passions, the affections, reason, the moral sense and so on, learning to seek one's own and the general good in a different, more secular sense, with confidence that the deity supported virtue rather than vice. The position was sound to the extent that it concentrated on the aim of doing what was both individually and socially possible and useful it was not so much a matter of complacently ignoring sin and misery as of assuming that the relevant reaction to life was practical, that one should do what one could, and rather more perhaps than...

The Christian Enlightenment

W, 'The Enlightenment in Catholic Germany', in Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich (eds.), The Enlightenment in national context, Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1981. Brown, Stewart J., 'William Robertson (1721-1793) and the Scottish Enlightenment', in Stewart J. Brown (ed.), William Robertson and the expansion of empire, Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1997. Elwell, Clarence, The influence of the Enlightenment on the Catholic theory of religious education in France, New York Russell & Russell, 1942. Hunter, Ian, Rival Enlightenments Civil and metaphysical philosophy in early modern Germany, New York Cambridge University Press, 2001.

The religion of the Enlightenment

Speaking of what came naturally leads to concern for the other religious force that Crane Brinton denominated the religion of the Enlightenment with a Big 'E'. While members of the various churches could fight at each other's side and demonize the king and the British, they did not share enough premises to enable them to devise the sets of common purposes that would be needed for nation-building. Here, fortuitously or providentially, this new Enlightened philosophy held sufficient sway among leaders who articulated visions and formulated laws. They were able to transcend sectarian boundaries.

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment swept away the various devices for excusing wicked behaviour. These had included justifying Joshua for slaughtering whole populations by saying that the Canaanites were grossly immoral and deserved to be punished, and by distinguishing between people acting in their capacity as holders of an office, and acting as private individuals. In this way, Samson and David could be upheld as a model judge and a model king respectively. The former's amours with foreign women and the latter's adultery with Bathsheba and the indirect murder of her husband Uriah, were the actions of private individuals. Enlightenment thinkers were more inclined to believe that God commanded things because they were good than that whatever God commanded was good by definition. In effect, they put to the Old Testament the question asked by Abraham of God in Genesis 18 25 shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just If the answer was yes, then there was no way of justifying human behaviour...

Antinomianism and Anarchy

A similar account of what distinguishes our time is found in those who draw attention to our loss of faith. Not the loss of faith in God, or in transcendent reality - that loss was already sustained in the early twentieth century, as reported in advance by Nietzsche - but a second-stage loss of faith in the very things that compensated us for our loss of God. According to this view, our time is suffering from a loss of faith in progress, the great promise of the Enlightenment. Moreover, there has been a loss of faith in the capacity of modernity to provide our lives with a sense of meaning, whether through science, art, democratic institutions, or modern master narratives of global harmony. And most recently, there is a gathering disillusionment with the promises of material consumption, with the ideology of consumerism itself. This disillusionment has been deferred longer than Marx anticipated, due to the genius of marketers who learned how to

Philosophical Theology

Hegel's theology was formulated in conscious opposition to the deism of earlier Enlightenment thinkers, to Kant's reduction of religion to an aid to moral performance, and to Schleiermacher's (perceived) grounding of religion in subjective feeling. Moreover, it eschewed a return to the rationalist tradition which stressed the transcendence of the impassible God over against the finite, contingent creation. The key concept in Hegel's theology is that of spirit (Geist). It has several connotations that render it appropriate for his purpose. Lacking the more static sense of substance or being, spirit denotes movement, energy, and dynamism. Its religious use, particularly in Hebrew and Greek, suggests that it is expressed in living forms. For Hegel, spirit is essentially self-communicating. It must reveal and reconcile itself to what it is not. Only by so doing does it become fully expressed and achieve its identity as spirit. Thus, although including mental activity, spirit is not...

Lessing and the Pursuit of Truth

Lessing was himself a child of the Enlightenment and deemed it the supreme end of his literary activity to make everyone think about religion rationally. For him, orthodoxy was something like impure water, long unusable, to be thrown away sooner or later. But he did not side with the new-fashioned theology, or neology. According to him, this newfangled theology, under the pretext of making us reasonable Christians, merely turned us into extremely unreasonable philosophers. For this reason, neology was a greater obstacle than orthodoxy to the ultimate goal to which Lessing devoted himself, the goal of human enlightenment. Neology was to orthodoxy as liquid

Recapping The Chapter

1891 - Annie Besant takes over T.S. after H.P.B. and begins talking of a coming Avatar, a great world teacher to take the world into its next stage of evolution Spring, 1908- Ghulam Ahmad dies, his Master evil Spirit leaves Ahmad for Krishnamurti 1909- Order of the Star formed by Besant to promote Krishnamurti as the Lord Maitreya 1919- Alice Bailey says she was appproached by Djwal Khul (D.K.-a Master) who showed her the plan which included Lord Maitreya coming. Meditation groups were set up to channel energy from the Masters.

Phronesis in Gadamer Ricoeur and Bernstein

Hence, Gadamer rehabilitated the role of prejudices (to be understood in the sense of pre-judgments shaped by one's traditions) in the understanding process. He rejected the Enlightenment, positivistic, and scientistic idea that we should suppress our pre-judgments in order to understand something (Gadamer 1982 235-53). To fully comprehend, however, the role of pre-judgment in understanding, it is also important to grasp Gadamer's two concepts of effective history and classics. For Gadamer, the past is not simply a dead event that happened long ago. The past lives on in tradition, culture, and institutions, to shape the contemporary experience of societies and individuals (1982 267). Persons and groups may not be very conscious of how this is so, but in a variety of silent ways, the past lives on in present experience. When we attempt to understand some text, event, or monument of the past, we do so from a stance of having been already influenced by that which we are now trying to...

The First Authorship Kierkegaards Authorship until 1846

1843 was a highly productive year for Kierkegaard. Besides Either Or he published three collections of upbuilding discourses and two more pseudonymous works, namely, Fear and Trembling and Repetition, published under the pseudonyms Johannes de silentio and Constantin Constantius respectively. The first of these is a meditation on Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son Isaac. Theologically

Church and Biblical Christianity

Symbols Victory Christianity

One obvious thing about a church is that its main space is designed to accommodate a group of people. Unlike many temples, or meditation rooms, a church is not designed primarily for individuals coming into the presence of the sacred on a one-to-one basis, but for a group coming into the presence of God. Yet the group is not itself the main focus of what goes on in these buildings. If the purpose were simply for people to meet one another, churches could look like meeting halls. Instead, they tend to be tall, impressive, imposing buildings. The interior space usually rises to the rafters, whilst from outside the impression of height is accentuated by a tower or steeple. The effect is to draw attention away from the self and the group towards that which transcends them - an effect which is heightened when walls, windows, and ceilings are decorated with images of the heavens and their inhabitants. The design carries a message that such religion u looks to a God who is higher than human...

Lessing and Modern Protestant Theology

Of religion was, in the profundity of his thought, far superior to ordinary Enlightenment thinkers. Indeed, he foreshadowed some of the significant theological and or philosophical ideas that several great thinkers were later to advocate, thinkers such as Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Troeltsch.18 According to Walter Nigg, Lessing was the first thinker who took a look at the difficult situation of Christianity in modern times and examined the traditional theological foundations with respect to their durability in order to make them capable of being newly established, despite their evident cracks.19 Lessing's famous dictum regarding double truths, namely, that accidental truths of history can never become the proof for necessary truths of reason, was presented as a result of his thorough examination of the theological situation of his age. The metaphor of the ugly broad ditch (der garstige breite Gmben), which he invented to describe the gap between the two kinds of truth,...

Redemption Righteousness Worship

So, yes, living kindly and morally good lives is important, if purely for survival. But philosophers from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, all the way to the Enlightenment thinkers like Immanuel Kant were unable to even define what morality is. Ultimately, they could only give us what morality did for society.

Gnosis Secret Knowledge

Through our brief contemplation of the name Yeshua and the name Yahweh, we have come into contact with esoteric knowledge'' or gnosis, which would be called outer knowledge among Gnostics. If a - -r-son were to meditate upon the teachings given, look deeper into the names of Yeshua and Yahweh and have a direct and personal spiritual experience of the mystery symbolized by these names, he or she would acquire what Gnostics call inner knowledge. Outer knowledge and inner knowledge among Gnostics is esoteric in the sense that it is not common knowledge among the masses of humanity, and only a relative few are in possession of it. In our example, few know the true meaning of the name Yeshua and the name Yahweh from which it is derived. Secret knowledge among Gnostics would mean something more it would not only be a deeper insight into the mystery of the names, but also would be a direct and personal experience of the divine illumination or enlightenment they symbolize. It is through inner...

History and its Discontents

Two centuries elapsed before the process of dis-identification commenced in the mid-seventeenth century Theophilos Korydaleus (1574-1646) interpreted Aristotle as a natural philosopher and not as a Christian apologist. His interpretation was rejected and anathematized the solid synthesis of doctrine, method and world view established by Scholarios remained unchallenged. In 1622, Patriarch Cyril Loukaris invited Korydaleus to reorganize the Patriarchal Academy by introducing contemporary learning and secular scholarship. The reorganization met the staunch opposition of the higher clergy and was soon quashed. Korydaleus' failure became the symbol of a tension that would resurface shortly before the Enlightenment in the uneasy The Synod of 1672 in Jerusalem denounced Loukaris and declared his Confession anti-Orthodox. However, the rise of Russia under Peter the Great (r. 1689-1725) and technological progress in the West facilitated the movement of ideas and spread them first of all among...

Christianity Today Exclusivism in a Pluralistic World

Conflicts instigated by believers are an inevitable consequence of this division. This has been the history of both Christianity and Islam. The aggressor has always invoked his exclusivist doctrine as justification for his aggression. It is helpful to recognize that exclusivism lies at the root of intolerance. This is what Jefferson and other rationalists of the Enlightenment saw and objected to. As just noted, Hindu thinkers have also seen this human-centered exclusivism that is part of both Christianity and Islam. In the pluralistic Hindu and Greek traditions, on the other hand, all knowledge of God that an individual acquires, is acquired directly, and not through any human intermediary acting as God's spokesman and gatekeeper. In these, it is the right of every man, woman and child to seek such knowledge through personal effort. Hinduism includes empirical methods like Yoga aimed at assisting an individual to realize the goal of learning about God. Greek mystics like Pythagoras...

Subjective and Objective Theories of the Atonement

These issues are raised and explored in a dense and searching essay by Donald MacKinnon 'Subjective and Objective Conceptions of Atonement', in the Festschrift for H. H. Farmer.5 MacKinnon's dissatisfaction with exemplarist theories stems from his recognition that the deepest contradictions of human life require more than just enlightenment or inspiration, if justice is to be done to them and they are to be overcome. There is a risk of trivializing the work of Christ if we fail to capture the sense of the lengths to which God in Christ was prepared to go in order to redeem the world. The meaning of the cry of dereliction on the cross ('my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ') cannot be grasped simply in terms of an example of costly, self-sacrificial love. We have to be made to face up to the truth about ourselves, and we have to be enabled to change. MacKinnon shows how, in the fourth Evangelist's depiction of Christ's Passion, these themes of judgement, truth and atonement are...

The Ontological Imperative

The Qur'an is by no means simply a set of moral injunctions and practical guidelines. It goes to great lengths to encourage people to meditate on the signs (ayat) of God in both the natural world and the soul so as to gain insight into God's reality and rights. The Qur'an pays special attention to the divine names and attributes that become manifest in creation - life, power, consciousness, speech, wrath, justice -and the fact that these provide general categories of understanding and the means to communicate with God.

Establishing a National Church

And indeed, journals, newspapers, books, translations were published in these cities, whereas in the Hellenic Museum, the school established by Gregory in Constantinople, only the patriarch's speeches and denunciations of the Enlightenment were allowed to be printed and read. However, with the rise of nationalism and ideas of self-determination, popular opinion in various Orthodox regions (Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc.) turned irrevocably against the domination of the patriarch, who was almost always of Greek origin, and was so closely allied to a non-Christian ruler. One year before the Greek revolution of 1821, Patriarch Gregory V anathematized Copernicus' books together with all books of modern natural sciences these two anathematizations were his last acts of pastoral care before he was strangled by order of the Ottomans. But the centralized system that he defended, in collusion with the Ottomans, started crumbling when the revolution begun. Without doubt, religious belief...

Winnowing Fork Is Separating Us

The symbolism used on the US Dollar Bill is over 4.000 years old. The eye is seen in the meditation room at the United Nations. The new meanings we read into these symbols represent revisionism. Those initiated in the occult understand the secret interpretation of the pyramid and eye point back to Nimrod of Babylon. The glowing eye is indeed a symbol of deity, but a gross Pagan one the All-Seeing-Eye is the same as the Egyptian's symbol of Horus, which was called the Eye-In-The-Sky, referring to the Sun. Nimrod again. Nimrod was the first king on Earth, establishing Babylon and Nineveh. He was a tower builder, and most believe his secular title was Sargon I, where Sargon means supreme ruler. Nimrod, the name, means tyrant, equivalent to our idea of a dictator. (The word deity means to shine, and is related to our words day, divine, and diva). Nimrod established human sacrifice, immoliat-ing children through purifying fire, the meaning of the name Tammuz The name Moloch originally...

Faith And Rationality After Foundationalism

The decline in the influence of foundationalism in recent years has many sources. These cannot be evaluated here, but some, at least, require mention for the arguments of post-foundationalist apologetic to be fully intelligible. In the first instance, the circularity that besets Descartes' epistemology does not seem to be correctable. Sceptical doubts about reason, once admitted, cannot be resolved by argument and in the absence of intellectual demonstration of the reality of an external world, scepticism of the senses, once admitted, cannot be refuted by an appeal to experience. Also, the supposedly certain starting points of the Cartesian tradition are commonly dismissed as illusory. For me to know that I have certain conscious states, these must not merely occur, but occur to a subject who can identify them. But the concepts needful for this, it is commonly held, are only available to language users and language is a communal rule-governed activity that presupposes the very...

Franco Ferrucci The Life of God as Told by Himself 1996

Blended with evolutionary spans of time. But given that the genesis of the cosmos is told here with an eye to God's own consciousness of these events, some imaginative liberties are taken. In Ferrucci's account, God is aware of a moment when he (yes, God is gendered - in the work of all three of these novelists) first became aware of himself, wrapped in darkness and nothingness, suspended in absolute emptiness. It was in that moment of awareness that the cosmos was born, following from God's impulse to go out and look for company. Retrospectively aware of all the stories that are told by human beings about the originary causes of the world, that is, divine incest, warrior Titans, parricide, etc., this God explains creation as a simple matter of his desire to alleviate his profound loneliness This burning ball, as it turns out, is our sun. Its appearance was initially satisfying to God, but with nothing to see in the light, its illumination simply reveals a great expanse of monotonous...

Dangerous Memories and Interruptions A Theological Itinerary

This recollection places Metz, at least initially, in that generation of Catholic scholars who took it as their work to continue the dialogue with modern (viz. post-Enlightenment) culture and thought that was interrupted by the suppression of modernism in the early twentieth century. Above all, it associates him closely with Karl Rahner. Indeed, Metz's close relationship to Rahner for some three decades, as student, collaborator, and friend, provides the justification for one of this essay's principal heuristic strategies Metz's theology can almost always be illuminated on a particular point by comparison with Rahner's. Two points should be noted about the impact of this intellectual current on Metz. First, Metz eschewed those trajectories within it (or in the postmodern generation that claimed to follow these thinkers) that led to a rejection of the modern project tout court. For him, what was worth retrieving and developing in their thought was the struggle to enlighten the...

Norwich Jj Sitwell R. Mount Athos. 1966.

Liturgy was the great product of Byzantine culture and sustained the church through dark days of oppression when other forms of expression were denied, and it is now enabling new life to spring up. Modern spirituality begins with meditation on the church and its worship.

Caritas The Augustinian Synthesis of Biblical Agape and Hellenistic Eros

Which we get ''cupidity'' and also ''Cupid,'' the Roman god of love. Cupiditas has the sense of passionate desire, lust and wrongful appetite. Both caritas and cupiditas are terms for love. The difference between them is that caritas is directed to the sole true and real possibility for happiness, God whereas cupiditas is (mis)directed toward things assumed to provide happiness but which are only transient. Both terms refer to ''love'' but are polar opposites - caritas ascends to God, Being itself and cupiditas descends to inferior beings and then in its continual descent it reaches nothingness, nonbeing. Augustine's fundamental assumption - gained from his acquaintance with Neoplatonism - is that all love is acquisitive or an appetite. That is, persons desire what they believe will fulfill them. In short, Augustine perceives that the eudaemo-nism - the drive for self-fulfillment - of ancient philosophy has apologetic value. That is, the pagan question of how one may attain happiness...

Lutheran and Reformed Theology a Christological Comparison

In assessing Reformation theology and the debates which shaped the progress of Protestantism in the two centuries after Luther's initial call for reform, it is important to see that it is Christology, as it relates to issues of salvation, revelation, assurance, and sacraments, that holds center stage. It is this that provides a fundamental point of continuity between Reformation Protestantism and its post-Reformation, pre-Enlightenment, development. It is to this development that we now turn.

Politically Indirect Ecclesiology

The above political ecclesiologies share an atomizing pathology the emphasis is on the individual Christian citizen acting in the temporal realm. The church does not act as a body in the temporal. The new political theology of Johann Baptist Metz, on the other hand, sees the church acting as an institution of social criticism within modern secular democratic society. Metz's ecclesiology nevertheless still aims at an indirect influence of the church in political matters. Metz begins with the acceptance of the proper emancipation of the political from the religious. Indeed, the autonomy of the political in Metz is less encumbered by the kind of explicit subordination to the spiritual that is found in Maritain. For Metz, the Enlightenment signifies the achievement of the maturity of human freedom. The secularized political order is an order of freedom political realities are no longer given but are subject to free human action. As in Maritain, the outlines of salvation history are seen...

The Christ Prince Lazar

The Good Friday story of the crucifixion of Jesus has been a central, enduring, and powerful symbol within Christianity. The story of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, the divine Son in the belief of many Christians, is ritually performed and reenacted in masses and services, in sermons, in literature, and particularly during the Good Friday commemorations in Easter week in the practice of meditating on the Stations of the Cross and in solemn Good Friday mass. In the Middle Ages, the story was formally performed, with actors on a stage, in passion plays.

The Reformers The Puritans And The Great Awakening

Tracing the evolution of sermon content from the Reformation to today is beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that sermons during the Enlightenment period degenerated into barren moral discourses for improving human society. The Puritans brought back the verse-by-verse expositional preaching that began with the church fathers. Social justice themes became prominent in nineteenth-century Methodism. And with the advent of Frontier-Revivalism, preaching in evangelical churches was dominated by a salvation call. The Puritans also made contributions to modern sermonic rhetoric. Their sermons were written out ahead of time in a four-part outline (Scripture reading, theological statement, proof and illustration of doctrine, and application) with a detailed organizational structure. White, Protestant Worship, 53, 121, 126, 166, 183 Allen C. Guelzo, When the Sermon Reigned, Christian History 13, no.1 (1994) 24-25.

The Ontological Difference Between Time and Eternity

Duchrow concludes that Augustine's so-called psychological concept of time does not represent any essentially new solution to the problem of time.217 Duchrow faults Augustine's lack of interest in connecting physical time to his psychological theory, which resulted in the abandonment of nature. He also criticizes the inconsistency of Augustine's statements on salvation history. Thus, on the one hand, the past tends to dissolve into nothingness on the other hand, however, it establishes salvation. The future does then indeed promise eschatological redemption, but this redemption is simultaneously defined as the eternally existing present.218 Duchrow understands both shortcomings as the disastrous fruit of the combining of important elements of Greek ontology and Roman rhetoric and, due to the pressures of this combination, Augustine was not innocent in the development toward a modern diastasis between the subject and a world abandoned by the Spirit.219

Into the depths philosophies of deep ecology

Fox proposes, as we have seen, three levels of identification the personal, the ontological and the cosmologi-cal. In the second, ontological, level identification refers to 'the fact . . . that things are'. This facticity impresses us so strongly that we have a sense of the actuality of things in contrast to the nothingness that might have been.53 So here Fox is concerned with what Paul Tillich once termed 'ontological shock'. It is Hamlet's question to be or not to be Why is there something rather than nothing. 54 Elaborating on this theme, Fox argues that this way of experiencing the world builds 'a deep but impartial sense of identification with all existents'. Fox readily grants there is no logical connection operative here ontological shock is not the cause of ecological awareness. He argues, however, that sustained spiritual discipline in the acknowledgment that there is something rather than nothing can contribute to a commitment to...

Academic And Ecclesiastical Theology

Such changes in relative importance may be illustrated by the difference between academic and ecclesiastical (or ecclesial) theology. There was a time when there was no difference. The medieval European universities had Faculties of Theology in which the teachers were approved by the Church and what they taught was essentially what the Church taught. The change which came was a result first of the Reformation and then of the Enlightenment. In Protestant countries the direct control of the Church over the universities was weakened, and particularly in eighteenth-century Germany, where professors were employed by the state rather than the Church, a difference between academic and ecclesiastical theology gradually opened up.2 This difference became most apparent as a result of the development of biblical criticism and in the nineteenth century books were written by some scholars which horrified many churchmen. The classic example was David Strauss's Life of Jesus, written in 1835-6....

Introduction ecocentric and anthropocentric approaches in political ecology

Ecocentric tendencies, as Richard Sylvan points out, locate value, good and worth in nature.4 Thus nature, in which humanity is placed, is regarded as primary it is the locus of the emergence of human beings, of intrinsic value (that is, has value in its own right) and embodies a pattern of wisdom which humans are obliged to respect (or suffer the consequences). Consequently, the promotion of difference between humanity and the rest of nature is regarded with suspicion. Although such ecological wisdom is not always held to be older than the mainstream Western religions, it is superior. Such ecocentric positions are also deeply critical of the mechanistic view of the cosmos promoted by 'Enlightenment science'.

Love in the Modern World

The discovery of religion as a historical human phenomenon, Enlightenment philosophy, and the developing natural scientific method began severely eroding the traditional foundations of religion. If Christianity, and thus its contributions to the understandings and expressions of love, were to survive it would be, according to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. Kant challenged his contemporaries to think for themselves, ''have the courage to make use of your own understanding.'' The courageous person dares to become autonomous. By this, Kant did not mean do whatever you want but rather emancipation from every Duty and reason, however, proved an unsatisfying diet to the succeeding generation. Kant's disinterested benevolence held no promise of bliss for the reaction to the Enlightenment known as Romanticism. The ''disenchantment of the world,'' as Max Weber so famously described the effect of philosophy and science, had to be countered by the...

The Structure of Metzs Fundamental Theology with a Practical Intent

Metz too is concerned that a certain crucial question is taboo in modern societies. Its repression makes it impossible creatively to face the issues raised both by the Enlightenment project and, at a deeper level, by Christian faith. We have already encountered this question and its privileged locus. It is a question that, Metz tells us, forced itself on him in the light of the third remembrance cited above the remembrance of Auschwitz. If this be the question that eventually emerges as determinative for Metz's theology, it is evident why his theological itinerary has always included a critique of the ways that theologies privatize the Christian message. Only if the remembrances of historical catastrophe are not conjured away by theology but are taken into the Church and into theology to orient our belief and our talk about God can the endangered character of human identity-in-history become the arena in which Christian faith and action prove themselves true, relevant, and...

The Influence Of Romanticism

Romanticism was fed by an astonishingly diverse band of writers from whom flowed a torrent of poetry, novels, philosophy, theology and cultural criticism people like Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Rousseau, Goethe, Schelling, Pushkin, Coleridge, Emerson and Thoreau. Romanticism emerged towards the end of the eighteenth century and was most influential around 1840, after which it slowly declined. It was a reaction against both the rationalistic spirit of the Enlightenment and the dispiriting dreariness of industrialization. Romantics sought a new world in which the values of the heart would lead humankind forward and individualism would be prized. They stressed original genius, artistic creativity, and emotional depths (Furst 1979 26-8). The Enlightenment had esteemed the power of human rationality to comprehend and exploit the laws of science hidden within nature. By contrast, the Romantics sought a more harmonious way of life which would draw on the purity, dynamism and spontaneity of...

The Pantheism Controversy Pantheismusstreit

The significance of Spinoza for the early German Romantics is to be found in the story that explains how the dominant view changed from Pierre Bayle's (16471706) description of Spinozists as those who have hardly any religion5 to Novalis' description of Spinozism as a supersaturation with the divine.6 That turning point is not to be found in Romanticism itself but in its precursor, the Storm and Stress movement (Sturm und Drang), the first major revolt against the German enlightenment (Aufkl rung). Jacobi and Herder both used Spinoza to undertake thoroughgoing attacks on what they took to be the hyper-rationalism of the Aufkl rung, but whereas the former still remained within the basic dualis-tic metaphysical framework of the Aufkl rung, the latter began to articulate a third alternative which, influenced by recent discoveries in chemistry and biology, was an organic, monistic view of the universe. It was this third alternative, Neo-Spinozism, that the Romantics would take up in yet...

Sophiology And Its Legacy

The created order became a focus of theological interest in modern times as a result of the 'sophiological' speculations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This movement is associated especially with the names of Vladimir Soloviev, Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov. It can be seen as a reaction against post-Enlightenment rationalism, against a dualism that opposes faith and reason, spiritual and empirical, and indeed it drew inspiration from Western reactions to those tendencies, such as the mysticism of Jacob Boehme and Schelling's notions of

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

As Fr Georges Florovsky notes, the Western liberal theological tradition beginning with the Age of Enlightenment ignored eschatology to many, it seemed to be a remnant of the long-forgotten past. But modern theological thought - both Catholic and Protestant - has once again discovered eschatology, returning to the realisation that all dogmas of faith are directly related to it.1

Early Christian and Jesuit Narratives of the Rise of Christianity

In significant ways the Jesuits had one foot in the Enlightenment and the other foot more firmly planted in the Middle Ages.80 The Jesuits understood from experience and observation that many Indians were driven by desperation to Christianity. However, being largely medieval in their worldview,81 they understood that the Indians' desperation was God's handiwork and that the first and final cause of Indian interest in baptism was the power of the Holy Spirit to attract people to God (as per Augustine). In Book II of the Historia, Perez de Ribas recounted how in 1615 several hundred Nebome Indians beyond the mission frontier abandoned their pueblos and traveled for several days, seeking refuge in the Jesuit mission of Bamoa along the Rio Sinaloa. Perez de Ribas noted that a number of Indians died en route and another was covered from head to foot with what he referred to as leprosy. Still, he indicated The principal reasons why these people came south were to receive Holy Baptism,...

Arab Christianity in the Classical Islamic World

Although such systematic views are not articulated openly in this letter, they are the unavoidable message of what it contains. They appear to be the fruit of a meditation on Islam by an Arab Christian who cannot reject this later religious phenomenon as mere charlatanism, as does John of Damascus four or so centuries earlier, and concludes that it is indeed God-sent, but with only a specific geographical relevance. Here is to be seen a continuing liveliness in Christian thinking, and indeed an anticipation of what in later centuries would be termed an inclusivist attitude towards the plurality of religions, but also a deep preoccupation with the reality of Islam, an apologetic concern to vindicate Arab Christianity in the evident difficulties it faces, and an attempt to show how the later faith has not in fact replaced the earlier but is instead dependent upon it.

Disease and the Rise of Christianity in Europe 150800 ce

People who are cured by monks and bishops so common, particularly relative to accounts of other miracles such as villages saved from marauding enemies or of crops saved from locusts or drought To date, scholars of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages have shied away from this question. To quote one distinguished historian, It is usually fruitless to indulge in speculation about what might have been the 'real' basis of miracle stories.5 Since the Enlightenment, miracles largely have been seen as beyond the bounds of historical analysis.6 Correspondingly, sacred biography and history, because they are replete with miracles, have been ignored or cast as overly fictitious. More recently, poststructural theorists have not only eschewed metaphysical inquiry but also have questioned the ontological status of language itself for many, narrative cannot reflect any reality other than its own.7 The very notion of historical processes that reflect cause and effect has been cast as symptomatic...

The Bible Frequently Affirms Its Own Clarity

And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 6 6-7) All the people of Israel were expected to be able to understand the words of Scripture well enough to be able to teach them diligently to their children. This teaching would not have consisted merely of rote memorization devoid of understanding, for the people of Israel were to discuss the words of Scripture during their activities of sitting in the house or walking or going to bed or getting up in the morning. God expected that all of his people would know and be able to talk about his Word, with proper application to ordinary situations in life. Similarly, Psalm 1 tells us that the blessed man, whom all the righteous in Israel were to emulate, was one who meditated on God's law day and night (Ps. 1 2). This daily meditation...

Can Theology Go Through Kant

A fourth approach to Kant is perhaps more common in the field of Kant-studies than in discussions about the discipline of theology, but every bit as indebted as the other three to traditional interpretations of Kant. Some interpreters grant that Kant's writings support theological realism. Kant often speaks of God, appears to believe in God and uses the idea of God positively in support of many of his arguments. No mitigating factor exists in Kant's corpus that decisively counteracts these points. Instead of understanding Kant's thinking on these matters to be agnostic and thus risk gravitating toward atheism (which so clearly rubs against the grain of Kant's convictions) or non-realism (a position far afield from the rationalist tradition of the Prussian Enlightenment), interpreters under this rubric argue that Kant's position moves in yet another direction - it amounts to theological deism.

Neo Ijtihad and Return to the Salaf

Even those like Professor Fazlur Rahman (1919-88), who, in Islam and Modernity Transformation of an Intellectual System,242 argued 'for the need to distinguish Quranic principles from their application in specific historical settings',243 received a liberal dose of opprobrium and opposition from many 'pre- Enlightenment' fundamentalist Muslims.244

Religion in the new nation

While the fifty-five drafters who gathered in Independence Hall in Philadelphia between May and September, 1787, kept religion at a distance when writing a Constitution, it is clear that many of them recognized the need to deal with the religious situation. They could not establish the religion of the Enlightenment. Such a religion was not well institutionalized - where were its sanctuaries, who were its clerics - and any attempt to establish it would have been bitterly opposed by the churches. Yet it was inconceivable that the churches would come to sudden agreement, overcome their historic differences, graciously yield to each other, and cease competition. What should the drafters do

Radical Critique Of Christian Religious Experience

At the heart, then, of the religious attitudes of what may be collectively called 'the Enlightenment' lay a scepticism about the value of the dogmatic systems of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism together with the world-views which these theologies supported, and the religious experience which they engendered. Nothing was more characteristic than Goethe's decision, when he arrived in Assisi in 1786, to go and look at the almost unaltered portico of the surviving Roman temple which was now a Catholic church, but to ignore the medieval Franciscan basilica and the myths which had created it. This, however, was the late sophistication of the self-assured intellectual English Deists such as Collins, John Toland, Thomas Chubb, and Matthew Tindal, were less confident. Nevertheless, they already felt the same intolerance of what seemed to them, as to Goethe, a wilful theological obfuscation of the relations between God and humanity. Toland, for example, whose philosophical materialism was...

The Search for an Invulnerable Area for Faith

However we may now evaluate the fundamental statements about historical method by Lessing and Troeltsch, the fact is that the strict application of historical method became a major problem for those who wished to maintain some sort of faith standpoint. The response was a flight from history, less trumpeted than the Enlightenment's flight from dogma, but just as critical for the understanding and expression of faith. Lessing's (or the Enlightenment) solution, as we have seen, was to postulate an area for faith ('necessary truths of reason')16 incapable of historical investigation, to maintain that religious truth is of a different order from historical truth, and that the former in no way needs or depends on the latter. But the theory of innate ideas ('necessary truths of reason') could not last 17 the truths self-evident to all 'men of reason' soon proved to be neither self-evident nor necessary. Nor have either Reimarus's rationalist Jesus or Strauss's idea of God-manhood commanded...

The Nineteenth Century Romanticism Idealism and Their Critics

The most influential of those variations comes from the other figure most often credited with setting the course of liberal theology, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) who, unlike Kant, was a theologian and churchman. Typically called the father of modern Protestant theology, he was raised in a pietistic home and came of age as part of the early Romantic movement in Germany. His two major accomplishments, both concerned with the relation of theology to modernity, are associated with two quite different books. In 1799, while a part of the circle of young Romantic poets and philosophers, he published On Religion Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers, in which he proposed a radically new view of religion as an immediate (pre-reflective) relation to the Universum or All that manifests itself in feeling - which he called the feeling of absolute or utter dependence. This religious intuition is available to every human being but in sharp contrast to the natural religion of the Enlightenment...

Models of the Trinity

Does the doctrine of the Trinity make sense Enlightenment thinkers denounced the doctrine as incoherent, but during the twentieth century many theologians came to a fresh appreciation of trinitarian theology, and in recent decades a number of Christian philosophers have sought to formulate philosophically defensible versions of the doctrine of the Trinity. Two broad models or approaches are typically identified social trinitarianism, which lays greater emphasis on the diversity of the persons, and Latin trinitarianism, which places greater stress on the unity of God. This nomenclature, however, is misleading, since the great Latin church fathers Tertullian and Hilary were both social trinitarians, as was Athanasius, a fount of Latin theology. Therefore, we shall instead contrast social trinitarianism with what one wag has called anti social trinitarianism. The central commitment of social trinitarianism is that in God there are three distinct centers of self-consciousness, each with...

Drama and the Christevent

Balthasar's assumption is that all drama points to a Christian horizon on which is situated the ultimately dramatic (the theodramatic), which is to say that which safeguards but transforms the humanly dramatic. Starting with the Christological reflections of Heart of the World, and running via his reflections on the triduum mortis (Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday) in Mysterium Paschale, Balthasar presses on towards his sustained meditation in Theo-Drama on the central mystery of the Christian faith the drama of the passion of the eternal Son (with the cry from the cross sounding at its heart) the Son's subsequent descent into Hell and his entry into resurrection life. It is in these events that both human action, and the inner life of the Trinity which is the condition for all creaturely freedom, are displayed in the full depth of their interrelation.

The Wisdom of Forgiveness

The tendency to be unwilling to forgive is a great obstruction to our enlightenment and liberation, and itself generates a vast amount of internal self-negativity. The unwillingness to forgive others and our projection of judgment upon them is a direct reflection of our inability to forgive ourselves and our habitual judgment of ourselves. This tmth is reflected very well in the accounts of many near-death experiences, in which individuals recount coming before a light-presence that is completely loving and accepting, yet they find themselves in the midst of the judgment. According to these accounts, it was not the light-presence who was judging them or unwilling to forgive them. Rather, it was themselves who were unable to forgive themselves and thus manifesting the judgment. Essentially, whatever judgment is experienced by a soul, it is a product of the soul's own grasping onto negativity and the inability to let go of it. depths of the being, something deeply passionate, as well as...

Religious Apologetics and the Loss of Narrative Reading

The left-wing opponents of meditating and supernaturalist theology had of course to deny that these texts had to be read in this particular way, grounding religions in factual historical assertions. But mediating and left-wing parties were agreed that the criteria for what makes sense, as well as what can be religiously or morally significant, were general whether or not the Bible provides us with reliable factual information, and whether or not this information is what the texts providing it are really all about, the Bible does not provide us with special canons by which religious ideas or claims become meaningful that wouldn't make sense in a wider context of meaning. It is no exaggeration to say that all across the theological spectrum the great reversal had taken place interpretation was a matter of fitting the biblical story into another world with another story rather than incorporating thai world into the

The Significance of Reformation Theology

Particularly Augustine in many cases, a basic anti-Pelagianism and a fundamental adherence to Western trinitarianism and the basic structures of Catholic Christology. In terms, therefore, of its basic concerns and the kinds of theological questions being asked, Reformation theology is not a wholesale break with the earlier tradition but a debate within that ongoing tradition. This is not to underestimate the differences - it is still, pace much ecumenical writing, difficult to square Luther's teaching on justification with the Council of Trent's declarations on this issue23 - but to point out that the kind of theology being pursued by both medievals and Reformers in terms of its basic ontological and theological structures, emphases, and concerns, exhibits strong points of continuity. It was only with the rise of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis upon the priority of subjective epistemology and upon human autonomy, that this kind of theology gave way to something radically...

The New Age Plans To Take Over The Church

An example of that is the historical St. James Anglican Church just off of Piccadilly Square. The church is a favorite for tourists, especially to the New Age type which it caters to. The church calls itself A Seven Days a Week Church for London and the World. Within the church are held classes for all types of New Age religious activities such as Health for the New Age through meditation, visualization , Lifetime Astrology, Yoga Meditation. If you want to join the Sufi Healing Order which meets there you can.2

The Big Bang Explosion

2 - Nothingness cannot pack together. It would have no way to push itself into a pile. 3 - A vacuum has no density. It is said that the nothingness got very dense, and that is why it exploded. But a total vacuum is the opposite of total density. 4 - There would be no ignition to explode nothingness. No fire and no match. It could not be a chemical explosion, for no chemicals existed. It could not be a nuclear explosion, for there were no atoms 6 - Nothingness cannot produce heat. The intense heat caused by the exploding nothingness is said to have changed the nothingness into protons, neutrons, and electrons. First, an empty vacuum in the extreme cold of outer space cannot get hot by itself. Second, an empty void cannot magically change itself into matter. Third, there can be no heat without an energy source.

The return to theology

But what kind of atheism is this Not the moral atheism of the Enlightenment in which the problem of theodicy led to the conclusion that God could not exist in the face of undeserved suffering, nor is it historical, psychological or poetic atheism that Bloch notes as possible answers to the questions posed in the book of Job - for an unfeeling, cruel universe exists with or without

The Origins of Modernity

Dating modernity from the seventeenth century implies that the Protestant Reformation - the most plausible alternative candidate for the origin of the modern world - is essentially premodern, still part of the Middle Ages. The clearest way to state the relationship is to say that the Reformation of the sixteenth century created the preconditions for a modernity that first emerged on the stage of history a century later. Or, expressed in different metaphor, modernity was conceived in the Reformation but born in the Enlightenment. Protestantism represents the fracturing of the one holy order that had held the imagination of Western European civilization in thrall throughout the Middle Ages. That ideal unity, of course, was never fully realized in practice yet its powerful hold over the medieval imagination is one of the defining characteristics of premodern Christian civilization. By its rejection, in both theory and practice, of the unitary authority of the Roman Church, the revolt of...

The Origin of Cosmic Ignorance

On the most basic level, if one seel.- o find the cause of cosmic ignorance one will not be able to discover its beginning. Potentially it has always existed, just as the potential of enlightenment has always existed. In fact, the potential of the unenlightened condition and enlightenment are one and the same. In Sophian tradition, rather than speaking literally of a beginning of ignorance, all teachings on the origin of the demiurgos are meant to point to the way ignorance is put to an end this end of ignorance being the beginning. This gives a subtle illumination of a saying from the Gospel of St. Thomas, in which it is written Often, when horrible things happen in the world many people will ask, How could God let this happen Yet, this question comes from ignorance itself, for evil and all kinds of admixture is the natural consequence of free will. One might dare say that i- is the price of freedom For tree will means that spirits and souls can enact whatever > he' desire to...

Four Forms Of Feminism

It soon became apparent, however, that in their stress on the equal humanness of women and men, liberal feminists had overlooked the fact that 'human' has been defined and characterized in ways that are normatively male. Furthermore, liberal feminists had largely accepted without question some of the assumptions and the ideals of the Enlightenment, locating our humanity and dignity in our capacity for rationality and autonomy. Radical and socialist feminists began to argue that this location should be scrutinized, not least for its male bias. Why not locate our humanity and dignity in emotion and inter-subjective bonding, for example, at least as much as in rationality and freedom Hence it was recognized that the oppression of women is much deeper than liberal feminism took it to be indeed, it is built into the definitions and conceptualizations of what it is to be human. But if that is the case, then it is not surprising that such oppression should also be built into human...

The New Testament The Tradition Of Interpretation

The precise character of the 'shift to modernity' at the Enlightenment is itself a subject of intense research and debate. It is, for instance, possible to describe it as a move from fragmentation to synthesis, from the New Testament as a repository of proof texts to the New Testament as documentary evidence for historical reconstruction. But the method of extracting proofs from authoritative text did not exist in isolation, either in Medieval Scholasticism or Protestant neo-Scholasticism it was always accompanied by other types of reading that emphasized context and integration. The two types of Jewish exegesis, halakah and haggadah (see Chapter 2) function in this way, and they have had their counterparts in Christian exegesis in medieval terms, for instance, sacra pagina (Scripture studied in the Schools) and lectio divina (devotional reading). Doctrinal, often figurative, interpretations of individual texts were underpinned by a single, integrating biblical narrative, the history...

The construction of orthodoxy

The various schools contrived to coexist for centuries, building an intellectual landscape of immense diversity. Ahmed El Shamsy, in his chapter, explains how in the midst of this process of contestation and institution-building an ''orthodoxy'' came to constitute itself. Lacking sacraments and a true hierarchy, Islam possessed no mechanisms for imposing dogmatic conformity on a society that certainly did not recognise Enlightenment-style ''tolerance'', but which nonetheless evolved means of allowing and even legitimising profound differences in law, mysticism and doctrine. Hence the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence came to be seen as equivalently valid, while a less formal attitude presumed the concurrent viability of the major Sufi orders (turuq), and of the three great Sunni theological schools of Ash'arism, Maturidism and Hanbalism. Despite the fury of so much interdenominational polemic, classical Islam knew only two episodes of systematic state-backed inquisition the...

Typologies Of Religious Experience

The experience involves 'blank wonder, an astonishment that strikes us dumb, an amazement absolute' (Otto 1958 26). Its apparent object is wholly other, a mystery that is in principle opaque to understanding. Religious dread is distinct from ordinary fear. It is more like a fear of ghosts or a dread of haunted places, feelings which make our flesh creep and our blood run cold. One experiences a sense of 'impotence and general nothingness as against overpowering might', of being 'dust and ashes as against majesty' (ibid. 21). Constructivism is also disconfirmed by some Buddhist experiences. The experience of emptiness is not obtained by imposing concepts on the flow of sensations but by deconditioning. Meditation involves a progressive Yoga identifies the object with the mystic's purusa one of a plurality of pure selves. According to Advaita Vedanta, the object of mystical experience is the Atman-Brahman the unique ground of both world and self. Yoga's aim is isolation. The adept...

Secularization Politics and Science

Few issues in the realm of pure science have garnered more attention than the theory of evolution. Darwinian evolution, the foundation of modern biology, is at the root of the debate. A biology of natural selection with a common ancestor and random changes are at the heart of most accounts of evolutionary theory. This gargantuan breakthrough in science was accompanied by the discovery of DNA and the biochemical book of life. The neo-Enlightenment support in theory and evidence for Darwinian principles has never been accepted by the evangelical Christian Right. They have fought tooth and nail from the Scopes trial to contemporary attempts to suppress the teaching of evolution in U.S. schools to maintain a particular and literal interpretation of Biblical creation (some providing an exact date using the Gregorian calendar).

Leslie Houlden and Peter Byrne

The contributors are drawn from many different traditions of belief and thought, but all reflect broadly the assumptions and methods of the modern Western academy, and write as analysts rather than propagandists. No attempt has been made to seek or impose a single viewpoint, and readers will sometimes find themselves presented with different angles on the same material. Inevitably, too, some features of the scene will recur, most notably the eighteenth-century Enlightenment readers will at least become convinced of the cruciality of this episode, greater, from a modern standpoint, in many ways than even the early period or the Reformation. At the same time, however far-reaching the developments or the applications which it undergoes, Christian theology never loses sight of the originating impulse given by Jesus of Nazareth. Behind and beneath all the ideas and all the books, it rests on the story that centres on him. All this is a way of saying that theology owes allegiance not only...

Why Is It Hard To Believe

So I cast my lot with him-not the one who claimed wisdom, Confucius or the one who claimed enlightenment, Buddha or the one who claimed to be a prophet, Muhammad, but with the one who claimed to be God in human flesh. The one who declared, Before Abraham was born, I am'46-and proved it.

Difference and hierarchy the pseudoDenys

Perhaps theologians of that way of thinking will feel sustained in their hopes for such selectivity by the fact that the theology of the pseudo-Denys is governed by a double movement of thought, the one rooted in an antique hierarchical ontology, the other, corrective of the first, in the directly Christian teaching of the creation of all things 'out of nothing'. If, from the first point of view, a theological language of greater and lesser distance from God is legitimised, from the second point of view this hierarchicalism is radically qualified all things are also in a certain sense equidistant from the God whose action sustains them equally in existence as opposed to the nothingness 'from which' they are created. For there is no such kind of thing as the kind of thing which exists there is no kind of being, therefore, which, prior to or beyond its character as pure gift, has any claim on existence because of the kind of being that it is. Hence, even if, given its existence, an...

The Second Authorship Kierkegaards Authorship from 1846 to 1855

In 1847 Kierkegaard published Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits and Works of Love. Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits comprises three discourses, namely, An Occasional Discourse on Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, What We Learn from the Lilies in the Field and from the Birds of the Air, and the The Gospel of Sufferings, all of which are concerned with what it means to be a human being in the presence of God, namely, willing the good, not being anxious, and suffering for one's faith. Works of Love is a meditation on the biblical commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, and is concerned with the social and communal dimension of Christian existence. The self-choice by which the human being becomes an authentic self entails becoming a social self, a self that sustains a relationship of love to others. Indeed, it is only the individual who has chosen him or herself that is capable of sustaining a genuine relationship of love with other human beings which does not...

Modern Christianity the West

Having considered the unfolding of Christianity in its several varieties, we are now in a position to consider its interactions with modernity. For Christianity there have really been two modernities. In cultural terms, the first was inaugurated by the Enlightenment of the 18th century, which gave new authority to human reason and the freedom to exercise it. Socio-economically it was characterized by the rise of urban-industrial society and politically by the rise of nation states governed by increasingly powerful centralized governments. The second (or 'late') modernity began much later, in the 1960s, and one of its defining cultural characteristics is a turn to subjective-life, which involves a flight from deference - to any established external authority, religious or secular - and an embrace of the authority of one's own deepest feelings, intuitions, desires, and experiences. The turn to subjective-life is reinforced by other developments, including the triumph of democracy in the...

Forming Our Conscience

But what of those noble 'liberal' thinkers, such as Sir Julian Huxley, who appeal to reason and conscience In a book published two years before he died, this biologist and first director-general of UNESCO wrote 'I have been an optimist all my life, trusting in reason, man's natural intelligence and his conscience.'233 All power to Huxley and his appeal to the human conscience, which Vatican II invoked234 and which John Paul II called 'the proximate norm of personal morality' (Veritatis Splendor,, 60). Huxley's optimism was underpinned, however, by an unqualified confidence in the 'natural' goodness and perfectibility of human beings that the Enlightenment thinkers propounded (see the end of Ch. 2). The harm done by sin to human beings, not least the impact of sin on our intelligence,235 and the help offered by the Holy Spirit to our ways of thinking, deciding, and acting simply did not enter Huxley's confident picture. Here St Paul proves much more realistic he knew that our sinful...

The Good News of the Bride

From the Gnostic perspective, the establishment of an unenlightened society does rape and prostitute the soul, and it binds the sou to the perpetual sorrow and suffering of seeking its happiness and fulfillment from outside of itself. This is well reflected in our own society and culture in which gross consumerism, superficial appearances, am' vain entertainments are constantly put forth as things that will bring a sense of satisfaction and happiness or things by which we meaf .ire people and their success. Of course, what we discover is that nothing in this world brings lasting satisfaction and happiness unless we discover the source of our happiness and fulfillment inwardly. We an rightly say that it is this recognition of sorrow and suffering, and the failure to acquire happiness and satisfaction from things gathered from outside of ourselves, whici inspire us to th spiritual quest. With seme individuals, this recognition may come without a fall into the depths of darkness. Yet for...

The Young Lessing and His Theological Critique

The dissecting table, considering it analytically with extraordinary theological insight. Presenting a broad outline of the history of both philosophy and Christianity, he makes a number of sharp criticisms not only about the dogmatism of Lutheran orthodoxy but also about the speculative theology of the Enlightenment. The fundamental proposition of this fragment, a proposition of exceptional importance, is this

The Declaration of Independence

The conventional wisdom reinforced by our public schools and universities is that Thomas Jefferson and the founders of this Republic were Deists and Enlightenment humanists whose philosophy was secular and rationalist. According to modern thinking, these ideas, traced further into the past, originated with the Greeks and Romans and when the founders used religious terms or referred to a deity, their terms were generic at best, and at worst, were cynical attempts to dupe and win over the common Christian colonist. It is not Christianity, say the skeptics, but Enlightenment humanism that generated the ideas articulated in the Declaration of Independence. the supposed Deism and even Enlightenment skepticism of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others. Aside from Jefferson and Franklin and perhaps a few others, this is demonstrably untrue. The late scholar M. E. Bradford of the University of Dallas, who studied the religious backgrounds of the signers of the Declaration and the...

Ivthe Problem Of Evil

At wearisome length Dionysius discusses the problem of evil and shows that nothing is inherently bad. For existence is in itself good (as coming ultimately from the SuperEssence), and all things are therefore good in so far as they exist. Since evil is ultimately non-existent a totally evil thing would be simply non-existent, and thus the evil in the world, wherever it becomes complete, annihilates itself and that wherein it lodges. We may illustrate this thought by the nature of zero in mathematics, which is non-entity (since, added to numbers, it makes no difference) and yet has an annihilating force (since it reduces to zero all numbers that are multiplied by it). Even so evil is nothing and yet manifests itself in the annihilation of the things it qualifies. That which we call evil in the world is merely a tendency of things towards nothingness. Thus sickness is a tendency towards death, and death is simply the cessation of physical vitality. And sin is a tendency towards...

World Christianities C1815c1914

Brian Stanley is Director of the Henry Martyn Centre for the Study of Mission and World Christianity in the Cambridge Theological Federation and a Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He has written and edited a number of books on the modern history of Christian missions, including The Bible and the Flag (1990), The History of the Baptist Missionary Society 1792-1992 (1992), Christian Missions and the Enlightenment (2001) and Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire (2003).

The Holy As A Category Of Value

We have already met that strange and profound mental reaction to the numinous which we proposed to call ' creature-feeling ' or creature-consciousness, with its concomitant feelings of abasement and prostration and of the diminution of the self into nothingness bearing always in mind that these expressions do not hit with precision, but merely hint at what is really meant,1 inasmuch as this ' diminution of the self ', & c., is something very different from the littleness, weakness, or dependence of which we may become aware under other conditions than that of numinous feeling. And wre had to notice that this experience marks a definite depreciation or disvaluation of the self in respect, so to speak, of its reality and very existence. We have now to put alongside of this another sort of self-disvaluation, which has long been a matter of common observation, and only needs to be suggested in order to be recognized. ' I am a man of unclean lips and dwell among a people of unclean...

Thomass Alleged Aristotelianism or Aristotle among the Authorities

The term Aristotelianism and its philosophic siblings are unattested in ancient Greek or Latin.1 Beginning with the patristic authors, there are such terms as Arianism or Sabellianism, terms drawn from religious polemic.2 The polemical extension to a term like Platonism or Aristotelianism is made in neo-Latin and the early modern vernaculars.3 With the Enlightenment, the polemical intent is only amplified. Once the ancient schools of philosophy are pictured as no different than (heretical) sects, once philosophy and religion are both treated as manipulable dogmas, then the Enlightened Philosophes can begin to speak of every (other) philosophic doctrine as an ism.4 Such terms enter academic writing with Enlightenment historiography of philosophy, most influentially in Jakob Brucker's Critical History of Philosophy.5 Brucker organizes his works, in the ancient manner, by schools (sectae), but one finds sprinkled throughout a whole family of -isms Pla-tonismus, Peripateticismus,...

The Subjective Thinker

Just as, according to an old proverb, 'prayer, trial, meditation make a theologian', Climacus maintains that 'imagination, feeling, and dialectics in impassioned existence-inwardness' are required for becoming a subjective thinker, and among these capacities, 'first and last, passion, because for an existing person it is impossible to think about existence without becoming passionate' (CUP i. 350). Unlike an objective thinker, who excludes passion in the process of thinking, the subjective thinker is a dialectician who combines passion and reflection in an 'intellectual passion' that holds the contradiction or 'qualitative disjunction' between thought and existence together by remaining conscious of oneself as an existing person in the process of thinking rather than abstracting from existence as in objective thought (350). Whereas an objective thinker seeks to understand the concrete abstractly, the subjective thinker moves in the opposite direction by striving to understand the...

Procession Which Is The Generation Of The Word

From the Summa Contra Gentiles onward, this doctrine of the word, based on the analysis of language and of the process of meaning, is the means by which St Thomas accounts for the procession of the Son.35 When he applies this within his meditation on God, Thomas invites us to consider God's spiritual nature 'God has a spiritual or intellectual nature, or rather, he overarches every mind so generation in God must be understood in a way that suits an intellectual nature.'36 He knows, from Hilary and Augustine, that the doctrine of the 'prolation' or 'emanation' of the Word was sometimes suspect amongst the ancient writers, because of Gnostic philosophizing about the emission of aeons in the pleroma. Irenaeus encountered this problem it need not remain an issue with Aquinas because analysis of the mode of the procession of the Word in God shows that this doctrine has nothing in common with Gnostic philosophizing. 44 This intimacy is the starting-point for the meditation in the Summa...

Conclusion On Feminist Liberation Theolgy

The deeply experiential character of much late twentieth-century theology, from Karl Rahner to liberation and feminist approaches, is a remarkable shift given centuries of a priori theological method. Western theology and spirituality are in the process of overcoming an ancient and radical divorce between them. The beginnings of a separation can be traced to the beginnings of 'philosophical theology' around the thirteenth century. This was accelerated and deepened by Enlightenment presuppositions about knowledge. The result has been what T S.Eliot called a 'dissociation of sensibility' in Western culture that separated thought from feeling, mind from heart, and theology from life. The journey of the mind, the way of knowledge, thought and theory, was contrasted with the journey of the heart, the way of love, prayer and action (Louth 1983 1-3 Bechtle 1985 305).

Miri Rubin And Walter Simons

Some regions of Europe, like central and northern Italy and the Low Countries, were highly urbanised, and within cities and towns experiments in new forms of religious life for the laity - men and women - took place. From these urban settings emerged a type of female religious, the beguine - a woman committed to religious perfection within the world, in a life that combined prayer, meditation, service and work. The friar was a creation of these cities too above all the Franciscan model of the poor, begging man, whose personal example was combined powerfully with effective preaching in order to turn Christians into committed Christians, that is, to convert souls. Various forms of confraternal life also transcended the parish, as lay people combined to explore old themes in new ways - the Passion, Mary's life, Corpus Christi - with expert guidance in religious poetry, drama and music from the specialists, the friars. This is a period of enormous creativity, as Europe's wealth and...

Interdisciplinary Report

From a different vantage point, the postmodern turn may be seen as a transformation of modern modes of social organization. Modernity in this context refers to social forces and institutional forms - secularization, industrialization, bureaucratization - that embody the Enlightenment ideals of rationality, individual autonomy, and progress. As a cultural and social phenomenon, modernity was a secular movement that sought the d mystification and desacralization of knowledge and social organization in order to liberate human beings from their chains.6 Modern society is a tri-umphalistic exercise of instrumental rationality in the domain of the social. Once again, postmoderns reject the idea that there is one universal rational form. Modern thought was characterized by a drive for certitude, universality, and perhaps, above all, mastery.7 In this respect, it is only fitting that the modern university rewards graduate students who have acquired specialized knowledge with a Master's...

Constantine on Freedom of Worship

Most Western liberals having known nothing but exclusivist creeds have unconsciously assumed religion to be at fault for their troubled history they have no notion of any religion that is not also a theocracy. For this reason, liberal humanists in the West have been anti-religion rather than anti-exclusivist - for they know not the difference. They equate religion with scriptural authority enforced by an often tyrannical clergy. They would do well to study non-dogmatic Eastern religions, and study also their own ancient pagan traditions like those of Greece. They will then be able to recognize that the culprit and the cause of their terrible history is not religion, but an exclusivist doctrine thrust upon them by God-substitutes. This is what made intellectuals of the Age of Enlightenment like Voltaire and Jefferson look to Greece and reject revelatory claims.38

The Postmodern Question the End of Modernity

At the start of a new century and a new millennium, one of the questions that theologians, along with many other intellectuals, are asking is whether the increasing influence of postmodern thought represents the end of the modern era and the advent of a new age. Though it is surely too soon to know for certain, most commentators seem to agree that postmodernity is best understood as the latest chapter in the ongoing history of modernity, now spread from Europe to virtually the entire world. Whatever the labels one chooses, it is evident that something basic has changed about how (post)moderns think about their world. Fewer and fewer thinkers are prepared to accept what would once have been the bedrock of modernity, the assumption that there are enduring standards of rationality inherent in human experience that transcend differences of time, place, and culture. Antifoundationalism in philosophy has spread rapidly to theology, and the pressing issues now have to do less with the...

The ritual roots of rock

But rock music is not entirely about its accoutrements. It is also worth examining for its lyrical content. Much contemporary rock music is either vacuous or nihilistic. Unfortunately, this is some of the most commercially successful recorded music, conveying the message that shallowness, self-destruction, or the raw assertion of the will-to-power will be rewarded with profit and fame. Another big segment of highly successful rock music is about youth in their twenties dealing with angst and various resentments typical of their age and sorting out things like self-esteem, identity, and relationships with friends and lovers. This can become a bit redundant with its stories of false starts, premature reports of enlightenment, alienation and dead ends, but there is some value in eternally rehashing these experiences in light of shifting cultural conditions. Then there are performers who conscientiously pursue salvific themes in their music - through social protest, romance, and mysticism.

Interpretation through Revelation

First of all, in interpreting our present, we use the life and death of Christ as a parable and an analogy. The scribes and Pharisees now sit in Peter's seat, and in the churches of St. Paul priests plot defense against the disturber of the people disciples are corrupted by thirty pieces of silver money-changers and those who sell human victims for vain sacrifices conspire with Pilates who wash their bloody hands in public poor unreasoning soldiers commit sins which are not their own betrayals and denials take place in every capital and so, out of cumulative self-deceit and treachery, out of great ignorance, out of false fears and all the evil imaginations of the heart, crosses are constructed not only for thieves but for the sons of God. We see through the use of the great parable how bodies are now being broken for our sake and how for the remission of our sins the blood of innocents is being shed. Not with complete clarity, to be sure, yet as in a glass darkly, we can discern in...

Knowledge from the underside33

Mellor, Feminism andEcology, pp. 105-6. The objections raised to this position by Deborah Slicer, 'Wrongs of Passage Three Passages to the Maturing of Ecofeminism', in Warren (ed.), Ecological Feminism, pp. 29-41 (p. 35) fail to make a clear distinction between affinity and social ist ecofeminism. Slicer rehearses four objections to such epistemic privilege (1) Is it women or feminist women who are accorded such privilege (2) Is it only women who have this privilege (3) Are totalising claims about a single feminist position evident here (4) Does this epistemic privilege issue in an account of general truths which, as general, is too indebted to the Enlightenment These objections may be answered thus (1) in that such knowledge is oppositional and is born in struggle, it is acquired by women undertaking ecofeminist actions (2) the second question cannot be known in advance and, as this is a

Against the reenchantment of nature

Yet such a view repeats the errors of the 'Enlightenment Christianity' which McFague criticises elsewhere in the book. In McFague's interpretation, Christianity is presented as an 'enlightened' moralism we really should pay attention to nature we are implicated as part of nature we should mend our ways. To make such a statement, however, you do not need a concept of God. Furthermore, the matter of the relation between the local and the global is effectively occluded in McFague's account. The reason for this is, I think, that McFague adopts the ethical stance, also to be found in deep ecology, of'moral extensionism'. Yet the weaknesses of deep ecology are evident in McFague's work also Christianity buttresses and promotes a form of transpersonal identification as we come to understand ourselves as part ofnature. The anthropocentrism which underpins this view is all too obvious consider only the claim to unmediated access by the human to nature which such an argument presupposes.18 What...

The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause

There is no doubt about the answer to our question at the beginning of this chapter. American freedom is not an accident, nor is it a child of the Enlightenment. The historical record is clear America's unique experience in freedom is a direct outgrowth of the Christian religion. If Christian faith is thus foundational to our liberties, how can we sustain our freedom if our Christian consensus is declining How will this constitutional republic withstand the assault of rampant cultural relativism In the next and final chapter, some of America's leading Christian figures answer these questions and more.

The Vicissitudes of the Twentieth Century

Edition of that book, and by publishing anti-western studies, Yannaras has developed what we could call the 'contamination model' (The Modern Greek Identity, 1978 and more specifically Orthodoxy and the West, 1983) according to him, everything that came from the West, starting with a translation of Thomas Aquinas' Summa in 1325, 'contaminated' the purity and the authenticity of Orthodox tradition as a result the tradition has lost its centre and is living its final historical moments (Finis Graeciae, 1999). Products of such contamination, and its agents, are the Greek state itself and the educational system, which distort 'our authentic Greek self-consciousness' by disseminating the ideas of atheist Enlightenment people, of the 'lighteners', as he pejoratively, calls them.

Paschalis M Kitrqmilides

The militancy ofthe Orthodox Church's response to western ideological influences on Orthodox society during the first and third patriarchates of Gregory V (1797-99,1818-21) has created among many observers the false impression of a consistent and clear-cut opposition between the Orthodox Church and the Enlightenment. This has obscured the long tradition of fashioning its ecclesiastical, pastoral and educational strategy in a way that accommodated the Enlightenment. What is in fact indicated by the reactions of the Orthodox Church to the French Revolution in the late 1790s and to the Greek Revolution in the 1820s is the conflict between Orthodoxy and nationalism. While the Enlightenment confronted the church with a secular universalist ideology, which, questions of doctrine aside, could in some instances complement and even sustain its own ecumenical values, nationalism gave rise to a conflict, where the issues not only were on the level of secular versus transcendental values but also...

Sociology of Religion as an Intellectual Practice

To grasp the way Eastern Orthodoxy is understood as it is, it is necessary to look very briefly at the nature of sociology as a discipline, particularly the role played by the sociology of religion within it. True to its Enlightenment origins within the wider discipline of sociology itself, the sociology of religion seems to promise rational understanding of that which the Enlightenment and its heirs deemed the 'irrational'. However, this background in practice produced a set of difficulties about the relationship between sociology and religion. In the first instance this Enlightenment heritage meant sociology had, at least originally, an element - which now may be latent - that made it hostile to the claims of religion. The key founding figures of nineteenth-century sociology -Weber, Marx and Durkheim - were at best sceptical secularist in spirit. Even in more recent years a sociologist of religion and holder of the Chair in Sociology at Cambridge University can say, 'I was converted...

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