Between theology and philosophy

Theology is a heavily loaded word, which belongs more to the domain of philosophy and when looking at the many Theology colleges or universities one can wonder if it really is about studying the Logos or Word of the Theos the God, because in the majority of such institutions most time is spent into the writings of human beings, giving more attention to the many false human doctrines than the Biblical doctrines.

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To remember

  • on ThinkNet age-old debate on relationship between theology & philosophy.
  • reformational school of Christian philosophy > Neo-Calvinist movement inspired by Abraham Kuyper but brought to fruition by the legal philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law, D.H.TH. Vollenhoven).
  • James W. Skillen: when we write or speak + we know those reading/listening will think that any reference to a Christian, biblical perspective means “theology,” = simply talking about finding our place in the ongoing biblical drama of life in Christ–finding our place in the history of God’s work in Jesus Christ
  •  N.T. Wright insist that Paul is doing “theology,” > working to explain how God’s covenant drama with Israel is now being fulfilled in the revelation of Jesus Christ
  •  Paul =  following up on (or anticipating) his times of preaching + teaching in their midst, sending pointed summaries, extensions of what he already told them, + opening new vistas > communicating by living letters about life they share in Christ by the ongoing work of the Spirit.
  • Augustine used word “theology” in 2 different ways > represent essentially distinction many of us are trying to make.  = offer a preliminary explanation, “life of faith” <-> “theology”
  • the Christian way of life = Christian discipleship in all of life > not only a way of worship.
  • explain + interpret Christian struggle
  • multiple issues of political philosophy & “science” = to engage in theoretical enterprise including multiple “-ologies”
  • “politics,” > “political life as a whole” “dirty dealing,” “actions of government” (but not citizens), or “actions of citizens +  interest groups outside government.”
  • In political arena = to find ways of explaining + making distinctions
  • DFM Strauss (South African philosopher and author most recently of Philosophy: the Discipline of Disciplines):1) Theology =/= theological question = domain of philosophy => “Encyclopaedia of Theology” does not mention itself as a theological subdiscipline
  •  2) Dooyeweerd > not defend view that theology studies the faith aspect of creatio => Theology merely studies concrete reality as it functions within the faith aspect.= focuses on coherence of actual phenomena which function within that structure”
  • 3)   Calvinism/ Calvinistic = term only be explained historically by fact that this movement originated in the calvinistic revival which toward the end of the previous century, led to renewed reflection on the relation of the Christian religion to science, culture, and society.
  • Abraham Kuyper could not continue to be restricted to the reformation of the church and theology.
  • 4)    Thomas Aquinas “hijacked” Christian intellectual endeavours for theology by assuming that whenever something is considered in respectu Dei (in relation to God) such an activity is theological in nature.
  • Calvin Jongsma: Developing a theology of X = rampant among scholars who desire to advance a Christian perspective of X  >  Many will say = just a matter of terminology
  • Ponti Venter neo-liberal New Scholasticism = expansion of Theology to include all of human life has a number of contemporary sources:
 
  • marginalising of theology + religion in a secular society. => theology using secular natural science-theology debate to annihilate reformational philosophy for sake of their own financial survival.
  • We now have a huge faculty of theology, catering for every possible discipline and church, while the quality of ministers that is produced is weak, and every year fewer Reformed students report to study for the ministry. There are as many vacant pulpits in the Church as professors of theology who do weak research for the University, there and there are less students in the pipeline than professors.
  • 5. Neo-pragmatist scientism – or new old Scholasticism => to enlighten + govern. => Neo-pragmatism = one of worst forms of authoritarian elitisms
  • Rudi Hayward: Calvin Seerveld’s attempt to dissuade people of the “theology of arts” approach.> promotion of a general spiritualization of art, or a liturgical cast to art, or an evangelizing requirement for art, as the most Christian task misses the grounding biblical insight that art as normal creatural service can be a restored and redemptive, holy act, so artistry does not need an “extra,” theologically explicit insignia to be truly full-fledged service by Christ’s body-at-large.
  • Kerry John Hollingsworth: Philosophy of The Cosmonomic Idea = provided way to see that theoretical analysis (including theological analysis) does not give structural form to human experience within the creation > unpacks structural order of + for creation that is part of God’s “Let there be . . ”

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Find additional reading

  1. Protestant denominations of the Low Countries and Abraham Kuyper
  2. Wes Bredenhof on Abraham Kuyper
  3. Fullness of summer and abundance of harvest found in the satisfying plenitude of life in Christ

memory's sacred domain

ImageThere’s been some interesting discussion recently on ThinkNet on the age-old debate on the relationship between theology and philosophy. For the uninitiated, ThinkNet is a mailing list of people from various disciplines interested in the reformational school of Christian philosophy (often identified by the shorthand — for good or ill — as the “NeoCalvinist” movement. But for insiders, it is a philosophical movement inspired by Abraham Kuyper but brought to fruition by the legal philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law, D.H.TH. Vollenhoven).

On this point I have found useful Dooyeweerd’s introduction to his philosophy, In the Twilight of Western Thought, which has a chapter on theology and its relation to philosophy. One of his students, Johan P.A. Mekkes, also has a nifty volume on the topic, recently translated into English as Creation, Revelation and Philosophy

I present below snippets of the discussion, with some editing on…

View original post 2,273 more words

Where people find meaning in life

Pew Research Center asked thousands of Americans where they find meaning in life. Their responses were rich, thoughtful and varied. Here are just a few examples of what they told us…

“That’s a gosh darn big question for a survey like this, I’m used to the check boxes. I find meaning in career, family, spiritual and hobbies aspects of my life. Those are the things that keep me going and areas that I develop goals and look to improve.”

I honestly think goals are very important in life. But people constantly also need new stimuli. Having a good focus also helps people staying on a path where they can tackle the difficulties in a reasonable way.

one person reacted:

“My family is the focus of my life. I feel like I should have said Christianity; however, that is a given for me, underlying and surrounding everything in my life. My greatest joy comes from my loved ones.”

Family was the most common topic Americans mentioned when talking about what keeps them going. Two-thirds (69%) brought up their spouse or romantic partner, children, grandchildren or simply “family” in general.

Surroundings do a lot for having an interesting and acceptable or a detestable life. But even when not living in good surroundings a person is able to make the best of his life, when he is willing to invest in his own personality.

One person wrote

“I look at meaning a little differently. I believe meaning is something we build into our lives; by our successes, failures and experiences. I do not feel meaning can be found but must be created.”

Though some did not see so much in their life to have them going or to keep them going.

Nothing keeps me going, I just do. No meaning at all. Too many stupid people in life to deal with, that cause constant negative consequences. Many of them in positions of power. I would find meaning in life from anything that would remove their influence from my life!

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It would be nice to live according to my being rather than my blackness. I will never know how a totally worthwhile life will feel because of this.

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Read more:

What keeps us going

 

Human nature designed for love

GOD DESIGNED HUMAN NATURE FOR LOVE 

By Jesse Morrell
Everything God created has a function and a design.

God created human nature.

Therefore, human nature has a proper function and a design.

What is the proper function that human nature was designed by God for?

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves”

Romans 2:14

The proper function of a thing is determined by its design.

When a thing operates according to its design, it functions properly and orderly.

When it malfunctions, it violates its design and is in a state of disorder.

Our moral obligations (how we should function properly) are according to the design of our human nature.

We were created to love God and love our neighbor. We were designed for love. Love is our proper function.

A holy man is simply a man who lives according to his true human nature – the way God designed mankind to live.

Sin is a malfunction – a violation of our design.

Sin has damaging affects upon our soul, heart, mind, and body precisely because it is a violation of our design.

Our world is in a state of disorder because men choose by their free will to violate their God given nature, just like Adam and Eve did.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection [ἄστοργος: inhuman, unloving], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Emphasis: without natural affection [ἄστοργος: inhuman, unloving]

It’s natural and human to be loving.

It is unnatural and inhuman to be unloving.

Human nature was designed by God for love.

Kritiek op religie hebben

“Het is jammer dat als je kritiek op een religie uitoefent dat je dan opeens wordt neergezet als een boze, ‘witte’ man.
Tegen dat ‘witte’ en dat man zijn kan ik niets doen.
Boos ben ik eigenlijk nooit.
Maar wat veel moslima’s met mij doen is precies wat ze mij verwijten.”

~Jan Jaap de Ruiter

 

Book: How Jewish terrorism created Israel

British author Thomas Suarez in his 2016 book, State of Terror: How Terrorism created modern Israel, has claimed that World Zionist movement lied about the true agenda of British notorious Belfour Declaration (1917), and used fellow Jews as canon-folder to achieve its dream of Greater Israel over not only historic Palestine but also parts of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Much of the sufferings we witness today can be explained by, and connected to, this formative period covered thoroughly in this book,”

said Israeli historian and professor IIan Pappe.

Zionism started with the kind of aims of with which Adolf Hitler started,”

Robert Waley Cohen, a non-Zionist British Jew industrialist said.

On December 21, 2016, Thomas Suarez delivered a speech (here, here) at British House of Lords at the invitation of Baroness Tonge.

I thought I knew a fair bit about the Middle East after all the years I have been involved in its politics but this book came as an eye opener. I realized how ignorant I was, not of the events since the establishment of Israel but of the Jewish terror campaign that led up to it. Everyone who has ever accepted Israel’s own account of its history should read this book. It should change them forever,”

said Baroness Tonge.

In this fresh and compelling new book, Suarez cut through the lies that shields Israel at America’s expense, exposing the reality of the conflict through simple act of documenting why a tolerant, multicultural Palestine became the battleground what it’s today,”

reacted Cynthia McKinney, six-term member of the United States House of Representatives, and 2008 Presidential candidate of the Green Party.

Suarez wrote:

Both before and after 1948, hundreds of thousands of people in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East became fair game for Zionist violence because they were Jewish, since Zionism depended not just on the transfer of non-Jewish Palestinians out of Palestine, but also on the transfer of Jews into Palestine. Anti-Jewish tactics included manipulating the Displaced Persons (DC) camps, thwarting safe haven opportunities in countries other than Palestine, kidnapping Jewish orphans, persuading Jewish children of non-Zionist Jews to betray their parents, and after 1948, destroying Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East through propaganda and false-flag ‘Arab’ terrorism — all to ship ‘ethnically correct’ people to Palestine in the service of the settler state.”

In November 2016, while speaking at the SOAS University, London, Thomas Suarez described the creation of Israel as a ‘racist’, ‘fascist’ endeavor, and linked the ‘cult’ of Zionism to the Nazis.

Zionist Jewish terrorists didn’t spare even their British benefactors. They kidnapped and murdered hundreds of British civil servants and soldiers in the British mandate Palestine before 1948.

Bruce Hoffman in 2015 book, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, whitewashes Jewish terrorism by claiming that terrorism was an effective weapon for the Zionist cause  against the British mandate authorities.

Israel-born professor Ami Pedahzur (University of Texas) in 2009 book, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, is worth studying to understand Israeli addiction to murder of Palestinian civilians. Author claims that in the 20th century, to facilitate their escape from centuries-old antisemitism in Europe, European Jews committed acts of terror against British soldiers and Palestinian civilians. More recently, Yigal Amir, a member of Jewish terrorist cell, assassinated country’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, a terrorist himself in the past, to express his opposition to the so-called Oslo Peace Accords which benefits the Zionist entity the most.

On June 2, 1980, Jewish terrorists tried to kill three Palestinian mayors of West Bank cities. The cars of Karim Khalaf of Ramallah and Bassam Shakaa of Nablus were blown up by bombs hidden on them. Khalaf lost a foot and Shakaa both legs. A third bomb planted in the car of El Bireh Mayor Ibrahim Tawil was discovered before it could go off. The terrorists wreaked havoc among the Palestinian community for the next four years before they were arrested (here).

by Rehmat

 

Two kinds of knowing – experience and understanding

There are two kinds of knowing – experience and understanding – and the confusion between them is the cause of all sorts of trouble for any thinking person – which is all of us.

Experience is the knowing of things. It is exactly what appears to our senses precisely as it is without us doing anything. It is immediately and directly present to awareness with no mediating activity. Because it is immediate it cannot be denied.

Understanding is the knowing about things. It comes to us in the form of the inner language of thought.
Understanding is the knowing-about-things that is contained in explanations, interpretations and logic.

Reason is intuitive knowing. It is the self evident knowing that isn’t derived from rational deduction. It is directly perceived pure awareness.

Read more:

Experience and Understanding

Palestijnen volgens sommigen een ‘uitgevonden volk’

Er zijn er die beweren dat de Palestijnen oogstten wat ze gezaaid hebben, toen
Gingrich hen als een uitgevonden volk bestempelde.

Toch, zoals Barry Shaw opmerkt, zijn veel Arabieren het daarmee eens. In 1937 vertelde de Arabische leider A.B. Abdul Hadi tegen de Peel Commissie van de Volkenbond:

Er is geen land zoals Palestina.

Palestina is een term die de Zionisten uitgevonden hebben … Ons land was altijd een deel van Syrië.

In 1946 zei de Arabische professor in de geschiedenis van het Midden Oosten aan de Princeton Universiteit, Philip Hitti, tegen de Anglo-Amerikaanse Onderzoekscommissie:

Het is algemeen bekend dat er niet zoiets als Palestina in de geschiedenis is.

Voor diezelfde commissie zei de Arabische Prof. J. Hazam over de Balfour Declaratie:

er was nooit een Palestijnse kwestie en er was geen Palestina als een politieke of geografische eenheid.

In 1956 zei Ahmed Shukari, die later de PLO stichtte, tegen de VN:

Palestina bestaat in het geheel niet.

Zelfs Arafat zei in 1970 tegen een Italiaanse journalist:

De PLO bevecht Israël in de naam van het Pan-Arabisme.
Wat u Jordanië noemt is niets meer dan Palestina.

Hij had gelijk omdat Jordanië door de Britten werd gecreëerd op 77% van het land dat aan het Joodse volk door de Volkenbond in 1922 beloofd was.
En Feisal Husseini zei, na de Oslo-Akkoorden in 1993:

Het Palestijnse Volk is niets meer dan een ‘Trojaans Paard’ om het land van Israël te veroveren. (“Gingrich is right about the Palestinian fraud …” B. Shaw, JP Blogs, 19 Dec. 2011)

Gevaar van opname laïciteit in de Belgische grondwet met beperking voor de vrijheid van religie

Meerderen in België maken zich zorgen over de relatie tussen de overheid en de religies/levensbeschouwingen in hun land.
Ten aanzien van de erkende erediensten in België stelt de Belgische staat zich welwillend neutraal op. De staat erkent bepaalde erediensten en niet-confessionele organisaties. Die erkenning gaat gepaard met bijvoorbeeld de financiering van de wedden van de bedienaren van de eredienst en het waarborgen van het recht op religieuze of morele opvoeding in de scholen. Het onderwijs mag vrij georganiseerd worden.

De welwillende opstelling van de Belgische staat maakt het mogelijk dat het fundamentele mensenrecht van godsdienstvrijheid in België actief beleefd kan worden. Voor bepaalde groepen volstaat dat blijkbaar niet langer en daarin schuilt er een groot gevaar.

Art. 19 van de Belgische grondwet gaat over de vrijheid van religie. Dit artikel is door Kamer en Senaat voor herziening opengesteld. Een van de mogelijke toekomstscenario’s kan zijn dat religie wordt teruggedrongen tot de privésfeer.

Religie maakt deel uit van de beleving en cultuur van een mens en van vele volkeren. Wat ook de godsdienstbeleving mag zijn moet deze gevrijwaard blijven en moet elk individu vrij kunnen bepalen welke godsdienst zij of hij wil beleven.

Er zijn groepen in België die het klaarblijkelijk niet op godsdienstigen (van welke strekking ook) hebben en zich tot doel gesteld hebben het begrip “laïciteit” in de grondwet op te nemen en ‘geestelijke’ of ‘religieuze vorming’ buiten het onderwijs te houden.  Sinds 2000 werden reeds verschillende wetsvoorstellen ingediend om de Grondwet in die richting te herzien. Andere wetsvoorstellen hadden tot doel de financiering van de erediensten af te schaffen en het godsdienstonderwijs buiten de lesuren te verbannen. In de voorbije maanden werden opnieuw wetsvoorstellen in die zin ingediend. De wetsvoorstellen beogen de laïciteit van de Belgische staat in de grondwet te verankeren en de voorrang van het positief recht op elke religieuze of levensbeschouwelijke overtuiging te versterken.

Het concept laïciteit zo als die bepaalde partijen het zien zet de welwillende neutraliteit van de Belgische staat op de tocht en  buigt en de grote evenwichten tussen “kerk en staat” om,  waarbij schoolpact en godsdienstonderwijs enzovoort op de helling worden gezet.

Verschillende prominente Joodse stemmen hebben daarom in april een open brief mee ondertekend waarin ze hun bezorgdheid uiten over het debat over laïciteit en geloof. De denktank Logia is de initiatiefnemer achter de open brief die gericht is aan de volksvertegenwoordigers. Een kopie van de brief werd verzonden naar de voorzitters van de Kamer en de Senaat.

De Joodse ondertekenaars zijn de voorzitters van joodse verenigingen zoals het Centraal Israëlitisch consistorie van België, het Forum der Joodse Organisaties en de Stichting van het Jodendom van België evenals de gemeenschappen Machsike Hadass. Ook N-VA politicus Michael Freilich is één van de ondertekenaars.

In de brief vragen ze om niet te raken aan de grondwettelijke vrijheden en om de levensbeschouwelijke vrijheden te vrijwaren. Want sommige groepen in de samenleving willen de Grondwet aanpassen en onder andere de financiering van de godsdienst en van het godsdienstonderwijs afschaffen of het begrip laïciteit een hogere plaats geven dan geloof.

“In Europa en de andere Westerse landen zijn tussen Kerk en Staat evenwichten tot stand gekomen die het resultaat zijn van een duizendjarig proces van spanning en compromis”,

schrijven ze.

Uit dat eeuwenlange zoeken naar evenwicht zijn samenlevingen ontstaan met hun concepten van fundamentele vrijheden, maatschappelijke
ordening en constitutionele rechtsorde. Waarom dat op de helling zetten?

Volgens onder meer Saskia Van den Kieboom is het niet mogelijk religie van het publieke toneel te laten verdwijnen. Saskia is pastoraal medewerker van ‘t Vlot, een project voor dak- en thuislozen in Antwerpen.

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Vindt ook de

Open brief aan de volksvertegenwoordigers
Bezorgdheden rond het laïciteitsdebat in België

Zinloosheid of zin van leven volgens Bas Heijne

De NRC-journalist en schrijver Bas Heijne gelooft niet dat God bestaat, maar sympathie voor het geloof heeft hij wel.
Hoewel hij zelf niet gelovig is opgevoed, kreeg Heijne er in zijn gereformeerde dorp wel veel van mee. Hij begrijpt dat mensen houvast vinden in hun geloof. Zelf houdt hij liever open hoe iets zit.

Een paar jaar geleden overleden zijn ouders. Heeft dat hem iets geleerd over het leven?

‘Ik ben gaan nadenken over wat ik met de rest van mijn tijd hier op aarde ga doen. Het moet wel zinvol zijn.’

Hij snapt dat mensen hun leven willen inkleuren, maar vindt het juist spannend als je het open laat.

“dan moet je jezelf in het spel brengen.”

Hij is zich bewust van leegtes die zich kunnen voordoen als men niet gelooft.

“Als je los bent van een vast geloof en niet opgroeit in een soort bedding die houvast geeft vanaf de wieg, dan is de leegte makkelijk aanwezig. Wat heeft het leven dan voor zin? Ik vind dat ik die zin dan zelf moet geven, anders is het zinloos”

> Bekijk de uitzending van de EO: Adieu God met Bas Heijne

First ever black hole photo

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 10 April 2019 video says about itself:

First-Ever Black Hole Image Released

The Event Horizon Telescope captured an image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

From USA Today today:

It’s our first glimpse of one of the weirdest spectacles in the universe. Astronomers on Wednesday released humanity’s first-ever image of a black hole.

The picture reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It looked like a flaming orange, yellow and black ring.

“We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole,” said Sheperd Doeleman, Event Project Horizon project director of Harvard University. “This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.”

This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has…

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