Theologie versus godsdienstleer of godsdienst geschiedenis

In de Europese universiteiten vindt me de theologie als wetenschapsgebied in directe verbinding met concrete godsdienstige praktijken. Niet alleen in die zin dat die praktijken voorwerp van onderzoek kunnen zijn, maar zo dat de afgestudeerde theoloog bekwaam en geschikt zou zijn om in die praktijken een professionele leidinggevende rol te vervullen.

Als die praktijken uit beeld raken en er geen predikanten meer worden opgeleid, zal de theologie als wetenschapsgebied verdwijnen.

stelde prof. dr. Gerrit Immink in 2014. Toen waren de meeste afdelingen Theologie aan de universiteiten meer instellingen waar de geschriften van theologen werden bestudeerd, meer dan het eigenlijke “Godswezen”.

Theologie betekent letterlijk de studie van God (verwijzend naar Theos = Grieks voor God en logos is Grieks voor `woord`, `leer`, `kennis` of `verhandeling). Dat maakt dat het eigenlijk in theologie moet gaan over de leer of kennis van God. Hierbij zou men kunnen zeggen dat er bij dat onderzoek naar de Godheid ook moet na gaan welke godheden er zo wat aanbeden worden. Inherent daaraan komt dan de studie van verscheidene goden, godsdiensten, godsdienstige groepen en onderwerpen. De term theologie is afkomstig uit de Christelijke traditie, maar kan ook gebruikt worden voor de studie of de geloofsinhoud van andere religies.

Gedurende Krimp zijn rectoraatsperiode werd er gezocht naar samenwerking, verplaatsing.

Op de achtergrond speelde steeds de vraag: Waar gaat het eigenlijk over in de theologie? Welk vakkenpakket is nodig om een predikant op te leiden?

zei hij in 2014.

Tegenwoordig lijkt het wel dat vele faculteiten weg gevaren zijn van de vroegere oorspronkelijke instelling voor dat vak. Ook brengt elke universiteit haar geestelijke instelling naar voor en laat deze geen openheid voor anders denkenden. Zo moet men in een Katholieke universiteit het Katholisch denkpatroon volgen en kan men zeker niet tegen de Drie-eenheid zijn bijvoorbeeld.

We beseffen wel dat al in de 19e eeuw er voortdurend bewegingen in de theologie waren die het accent verlegden van God naar de mens. Bovendien groeide de kritiek op het klassieke godsbegrip en kwam zelfs de gedachte op dat God een projectie is, maar als puntje bij paaltje kwam, liet men toch geen openheid tot andere leerstellingen dan die van de ondersteunende godsdienstgroep.

In 2014 haalde Krimp terecht aan:

Als de theologie de gedachte van de godgeleerdheid – hoe lastig en ingewikkeld die ook is – loslaat, komt het bestaansrecht van de theologie als zelfstandig wetenschapsgebied snel ter discussie te staan.

Het verschijnsel religie, religieuze ervaringen en rituelen – dat alles kan toch ook prima bestudeerd worden door antropologen, psychologen en sociologen? Wolfhart Pannenberg heeft terecht opgemerkt dat de theologie van het toneel zal verdwijnen, zodra we het Godsbegrip louter opvatten als een projectie vanuit de antropologie.

In veel instelling gaat men het geschiedkundig verloop na van één of meerdere godsdiensten. Men moet dan echter beseffen dat men daar dan meer een godsdienst historicus kweekt. Met de studie van al de vroegere theologische werken komt men dan eerder op het vlak van de taalkundige of sociaal wetenschapper zonder dat men de rol van theoloog hoeft op te nemen. Volgens Krimp is daar binnen een theologische universiteit of faculteit zeker ook plaats voor.

Maar als onze vakgebieden samen het geheel van de theologie vormen, moet elk vakgebied ook beoefend kunnen worden als theologie.

Volgens hem is het daarvoor

nodig dat er binnen het vakgebied systematische vragen gesteld worden met betrekking tot hedendaagse godsdienstige praktijken en met betrekking tot het spreken over God. Dat is niet eenvoudig, want dan moeten we zowel het vak goed beheersen als in staat zijn om op systematische wijze theologische thema’s in te brengen. En het wordt pas echt spannend als we dan ook nog het gesprek aandurven over de waarheidsclaims die in teksten of in praktijken tot uitdrukking komen.

Prof. dr. Gerrit Immink vertelt verder

In mijn bestuurlijke functie als rector heb ik steeds geprobeerd het academische karakter van de theologie hoog te houden, in het besef dat de afgestudeerde theoloog bekwaam en geschikt dient te zijn om als predikant in de kerk aan de slag te gaan. De gerichtheid op concrete praktijken en de wetenschappelijke doordenking van het spreken over God zijn voor mij twee zijden van dezelfde medaille.

Decolonising our minds

Every generation has to undergo some turnovers on one or the other factor.

What is to considered to be normal at one time in another generation can be “not done”.

The last few years it seems like we are living in a society which wants to overcorrect itself. It wants to break with previous passages in history. In several countries suddenly a lot of words may not be used any more because they are considered wrong or unjust to certain groups of the population. Often then there are created new words to substitute the older word, but then they forget that happened in the past already with several words as well.

With the “Black Lives Mattermovement this seems to have arrived in a roller-coaster or rapids. It looks like when you do away with all monuments and all related words that part of history shall be made away with and forgotten. Instead of thinking about the value of keeping also the wrong things in memory.

Even the prestigious London university got caught in a row with some of its students who have repeatedly demanded leading philosophers, whose ideas have underpinned civilised society across the Western world. It might well be that a lot of philosophers their writings students may have to cover, come from Europe and as such from white people. Instead of studying the European Enlightenment figures, the students have insisted the majority of philosophers should be from Africa and Asia, and white thinkers only to be studied “if required”.

People often forget that they when being part of a certain culture should learn about their own culture first. If one wants to learn the other culture(s) it should also be possible but in another curriculum. It is wrong to exclude European thinkers, because they are part of our world mindset and provided the patrons with our wisdom, morals and ethics.

What we can see today is that lots of youngsters are trying to desacralise European thinkers, stopping them from being treated as unquestionable. We should not stop studying them, but should be able to look at them critically.

For sure, we may question what should be the place of European philosophy, and European philosophers, in an age of globalisation and of a shifting power balance from West to East, but we should recognise that they are essential to our insight in the construction of our society throughout the ages.

The argument for a more diverse curriculum seems reasonable, indeed unquestionable. After all, philosophers and thinkers come not just from Europe. There are great non-European intellectual traditions, a myriad philosophical schools from China, India, Africa and the Muslim world, many of which have shaped European philosophy as well. It would be good to see that there is made more place to look at the works of Mo Tzu, Zhu Xi, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, Anton Wilhelm Amo, Frantz Fanon, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Feng Youlan, just to call a few.

It is wrong to think that all European philosophy would be tainted by racism and colonialism. Several people are now falling in the same trap as racists, suggesting that because one possesses a particular identity, so one’s ideas are necessarily distinct, and linked to that identity.

A philosopher is white so his or her ideas are contaminated.

John Locke is widely regarded as having provided the philosophical foundations of modern liberal conceptions of tolerance. Yet he was a shareholder in a slaving company.
Immanuel Kant, often seen as the greatest of Enlightenment philosophers, clung to a belief in a racial hierarchy, insisting that

‘Humanity is at its greatest perfection in the race of the whites’

and that

‘the African and the Hindu appear to be incapable of moral maturity’.

Sian HawthorneSian Hawthorne, convenor of the undergraduate course in ‘World Philosophies’, the only philosophy degree that SOAS provides, observes:

‘Enlightenment philosophers make arguments about knowledge and reason setting us free, and laud the values of liberty, at the very moment that colonial enterprises and the slave trade are expanding. Those very same arguments are summoned to justify Europe’s so-called civilizing mission and make claims about European superiority.’

Jonathan Israel, now Professor Emeritus of History at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, lauds the Enlightenment as that transformative period when Europe shifted from being a culture

‘based on a largely shared core of faith, tradition and authority’

to one in which

‘everything, no matter how fundamental or deeply rooted, was questioned in the light of philosophical reason’.

Yet, Israel is also deeply critical. At the heart of his argument is the insistence that there were actually two Enlightenments. The mainstream Enlightenment of Locke, Voltaire, Kant and Hume is the one of which we know, and of which most historians have written. But it was the Radical Enlightenment, shaped by lesser-known figures such as d’Holbach, Diderot, Condorcet and, in particular, the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, that provided the Enlightenment’s heart and soul.

The two Enlightenments, Israel suggests, divided on the question of whether reason reigned supreme in human affairs, as the Radicals insisted, or whether reason had to be limited by faith and tradition – the view of the mainstream. The mainstream’s intellectual timidity constrained its critique of old social forms and beliefs. By contrast, the Radical Enlightenment

‘rejected all compromise with the past and sought to sweep away existing structures entirely’.

Israel finds the argument that the ‘Enlightenment is racist’, coming from a one-eyed view, the selective picking and choosing of certain individuals and quotes.

Such critics see only the more conservative mainstream figures, such as Locke, Kant and Hume, and ignore the thinkers of the Radical Enlightenment,

an approach that Israel calls

‘seriously obtuse’.

The Radical Enlightenment, he observes,

‘was condemned by all European governments and by all churches, because in principle it insisted on the universal and equal rights of men and the full emancipation of the black population.’

Israel is sympathetic to the demand that university curricula be diversified.

‘There is a strong case for studying non-European traditions as an essential part of any philosophy teaching course.’

But, he points out, such a global view began in the Radical Enlightenment itself.

‘Many radical enlighteners believed their anti-Christian naturalism had powerful roots in medieval Islamic philosophy. They also had strong affinities with Chinese Confucianism. They were free of the Eurocentrism that marked the mainstream Enlightenment of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume and Smith.’

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Preceding

Visual and aural impacts – contacts and concepts

Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms

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Additional reading

  1. The twist of politics and expression
  2. Institutional Racism
  3. Mass Media’s Deception Causing Division

Visual and aural impacts – contacts and concepts

 notes that the world reveals itself to us in a stream of sensation. Man has to face a lot of things in his life; Growing up we always go from one (unexpected) situation onto another, always bringing new and other facts and facets.

All the time we are confronted with lots of imprints, made by colours, shapes, lines, shades of light and dark, whilst at the same time we do have to endure lots of sounds.

female_touching_glassWe hear sounds shrill and bass, harmonious and discordant. Our skin touches cold and heat, hard and soft, rough and smooth. Scent passes constantly through our nostrils and in our mouths we taste bitter and sweet. {Contact, Concept and Art}

How are we willing to cope with everything that surrounds us?

Beyond out physical sensations we have the rich inner world of emotion and feeling. Joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and contentment – our inner reality is constantly fluctuating between different emotional reactions to the sensations that the world presents. {Contact, Concept and Art}

As human beings it are our sensations which bring us into life. Those visible and invisible vibrations and impulses give us feelings and joys.  We get an impulse to go somewhere or do something and that then this leads us to something different, perhaps something bigger, but we never know beforehand how acting on them will transform us and our life.

When walking around on this globe we have to see and hear, or to have a willingness to undergo the vibrations of this earth. It’s really about becoming aware of them and act on them, because the universe is always speaking to us, but lots of people are not fully aware of it. Lots of people ignore signals which are giving all the time.
We should know that all those impulses around us give some direction to our emotions, even when we would not want to be influenced by them.

This cascade of sensation and emotion is not all of our reality, however, because alongside these our minds have developed the ability to generate a parallel stream of concepts that arrange and organize our sensations into ideas that can be held onto long after the sensations that gave birth to the have faded into our even out of memory. {Contact, Concept and Art}

How do we want to look at things? What do we want to allow to influence us? How do we want to form ideas and impressions?

Our concepts take a set of sensations and create an object out of them. {Contact, Concept and Art}

Do we want what we see to be real? Or do we think it is just imagination? And how far do we want to allow our imagination cope with that what passes our eyes and mind? Every one of us experiences similar experiences differently. We might be beings all come from the same one being (Adam), and in a way we all should be partners in sameness, oneness, unity, though being absolute and irrevocably unique. There is not a single person in the world who has the exact same thoughts-feelings-experiences, i.e. story, as you, me or another. None. This insight makes all of us relevant to the history of the life of humankind. It is this uniqueness which makes us all so interesting for others as well as for ourselves. Because we for ourself have to explore and to uncover our own self and the beings around us.

Exploring and developing this uniqueness, expanding and narrating our story, gives meaning, perhaps the only meaning we really need. {The meaning of life – Finding purpose}

All the time we want to find out the truth of what we see and hear. Whilst we go from one year in the next we try to live a life and grow up with reality or what we think is reality. Meanwhile, we have to cope with our strengths and weaknesses, explore our talents and analyze our personality traits. At the same time we often fear to have to explore our own self, being confronted with that what we do not want to see: our weaknesses. Most of us want to ignore them, pretend they don’t exist, and choose to focus only on our strengths, which means we don’t do anything about our shortcomings. So they grow and continue to hold us back. doing so we create a lie, sheeting ourselves.

Facing our weakness requires us to acknowledge and accept that we’re not perfect, and that is often something we do not want to know or not want to be. We would love to be perfect and somehow we also would love to see that others would also be perfect. But they just aren’t.

Why is it that human beings accept that people, in general, aren’t perfect, yet are embarrassed to admit their own imperfections?

One word: vulnerability. Imperfection and weakness mean that we’re vulnerable.

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Preceding

Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

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Additional reading

  1. Ways of dreaming or thinking
  2. Fictional or real world
  3. The meaning of life – Finding purpose
  4. Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~
  5. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  6. Uncertainty and limitations
  7. Existence of a powerful “life consciousness” in all individuals

How to look at thoughts of philosophers and philosophical systems

In certain religious groups there are people who say one may not read philosophers their work.

Many philosophers their thought have influenced lots of people. We always should remember that their thoughts are best read in context. In the context of the lives that they lived, the times that they lived in, and the history of what came before and what happened after.

Many of the ideas of great thinkers of the past, so many centuries later might look dated to us. And our post-modern sensibilities make it easy for us to find fault, to criticize and to deconstruct these earlier works. Some even think that there is not much real value to be found in their works, whilst others think today some people give not enough interest to those ancient thinkers.

The real value for us is to hunt down the true genius that was driving the ideas. What was the inspiration, the spark that fuelled truly original thinking? We should wonder how they came to think about certain matters and how their thinking was   original or could bring something extra to that period of thinking or for later generations.

If they had not much to tell, I do not think we would still speak of them or would not be interested to read those ancient writings.

What did for example Ralph Waldo Emerson or William James bring that was new, that was passed on from them to the next generations? What made it that people were willing to listen to them or to give them so much attention? Or what did James offer that had not been thought of before and how has that affected the course of things since?

thinks

This is where the value is to be found. You won’t find answers to these questions through only reading the ideas, you have to know about culture and history and personality. {How Do You Read Philosophy?}

What we do have to question is

  • what has this person to tell us
  • in what kind of light is that person looking at things
  • how are their thought fed by the trends in their time or what was the general thinking of their time
  • in which way where such thinkers willing to listen to people of their time
  • how were they willing to place their ideas in context with other ways of thinking
  • what is are were the angles to look at things
  • how could they cope with agreement or disagreement and what were their reactions on critique

Today we have to try to approach the ancient and the present philosophers from different sides.

According

Philosophy is generally seen to be comprised of three main components; Metaphysics, which tells you what is real; Epistemology which tells you how you know what is real; and Ethics which tells you what you should value.

To his understanding

a philosophical system is complete in the sense that it fulfills all of these functions. {Why do worldviews clash?}

His generalised idea of Christians is limited to Trinitarian Christians who believe in hell to be a place of torture, and the belief that man

will abide in one or the other after death based on the way you live and the state of some invisible part of you called a soul. {Why do worldviews clash?}

He writes

Epistemologically the way Christians know what is real is that God has told human beings what is real through the Bible, so what is true is what is written in the Bible. Christian Ethics revolve around things like charity, loving thy neighbor, duty to family, etc. In a closed system like this you can always ask questions from within the system. Question: Should I steal? Answer: No. Justification: Because the Bible dictates that you don’t. But when you start to ask questions from outside of the system such as: Does God exist? Things get more challenging. {Why do worldviews clash?}

He seems to forget many Christians wonder in their life if God exists. So to call it a non-christian question is in our eyes not exactly right or forgetting that all people question matters of life, what is behind it and what is in it.

He probably agrees that

a complete philosophical system – a worldview – dictates what is real, how you know what is real and what to value about what is real. Without those agreements there is only flimsy basis for discussion. {Why do worldviews clash?}

As such we not need as such the Bible to explain that there is a god or The God. Though the problem can be when one says or thinks:

If the question is inserted into the system from the outside, a Christian could answer by saying, ‘yes, God exists because the Bible says so.’ But that argument only works if someone shares the epistemological presupposition that the Bible is the source of truth. {Why do worldviews clash?}

A Christian shall consider the credibility of the Bible being it the infallible Word of God, but a real Christian shall also be able to point to the Divine Creator God and His possessions without having to need the Bible.

also seems to know only creationist or to classify Christians as creationists or people who would not believe in any form of evolution. He also calls his view modernist whilst the Hebrews already had his modernist view then. Perhaps he should come to know some present and ancient views of Bereshith or Genesis.

He writes:

So a complete philosophical system – a worldview – dictates what is real, how you know what is real and what to value about what is real. Without those agreements there is only flimsy basis for discussion.

If we think about the modernist worldview we have a different system. Metaphysically we have a universe that is composed of matter that has evolved to a complexity that gave rise to human beings and a mysterious property we call consciousness. Epistemologically we know what is true based on ‘logical positivism’ which means adhering to certain laws of logic applied to the evidence we gather through our senses. And the ethics of modernism revolves around the inherent goodness of progress. This is also a complete philosophical system.

It looks like he does think we Christians have no sense or “laws of logic” and that because we live by old “ethics of …..” wich would not be the same as his ethics of modernism even when he considers himself a post-modernists. Seemingly believing we as Christians can not have different views about matters, or would not have similar worldviews as certain philosophers.

He argues:

As postmodernists we recognize that there are different worldviews and we value that diversity. We also recognize that we can’t impose one worldview on another because they rest on different fundamental beliefs and each person has a right to believe as they wish as long as they don’t hurt one another.

We wonder where he gets it that Christians would not say that behaviourism is something that can be true.

The pragmatists were trying to find a way that takes us beyond the deadends of clashing worldviews when debating what is true. That is why they said that it was more useful to argue the truth of something by examining its effect. It isn’t that useful to debate, for instance, whether Behaviorism is true or not.

A Christian might say no because that is not the view that the Bible tells us. (This lets us wonder if he has ever read the Bible); A modernist might say yes because that is what the evidence proves. The question that is more useful to ask is what results from a belief in Behaviorism. Does it work? When does it work? Does it work in this instance and not in that? What results from materialism, what results from a belief in the soul, a belief in freewill, a belief in God? Everything can be examined based on Pragmatic grounds. {Why do worldviews clash?}

All the time man is bombarded in his mind with the question of what should he believe, or what is true or what is real. In his postings Carreira also argued that

if a philosophy dictates “what is real,” “how you determine what is real,” and “how you value what is real,” then it is a closed system. Internally it will be completely consistent, and as long as you “believe” in these three pillars everything (to lift a phrase from Carl) on the inside will look like non-fiction (ie. true) and everything on the outside will look like fiction (ie. not true.) {Test Drive a Worldview}

Carreira continues:

A worldview is not only a set of ideas or beliefs about the world; it is a complete psycho-emotional mental filter of the world. It is a 360 panoramic view of the real. Your worldview dictates how you think about the world, how you feel about the world and how you respond to the world. It envelops us so that the world from inside what worldview looks and feels completely different than the world seen from inside another. {Test Drive a Worldview}

We totally agree with his view that it is each individual his or her worldview which shall dictate how that person thinks and how he or she is going to react to certain matters.  How a person feels about the world and how he or she shall respond to the world depends firstly on the way that person looks at the world and secondly how that person his ethics and moral ideas are formed.

We do not need the the romantic poets, philosophers and scientists to see

a world of open and unlimited possibility in which strangely marvelous and unseen natural forces were guiding the movement of life. {Test Drive a Worldview}

Christians are aware of the many sometimes incomprehensible ways of nature. For him

These natural invisible movements were continuously revealing themselves and there was a sense of awe and wonder at the marvel of life and reality. {Test Drive a Worldview}

And that is just where we say is the Power of God. There, by the wonders of nature, man is able to come to see the invisible Hand of the Divine Creator.

Carreira has been thinking about how challenging philosophical discussion can be and he thinks that part of that difficulty comes about when we are not discussing ideas within a single worldview, but are actually clashing one worldview against another.

As I see it a worldview is a belief in a complete philosophical system. Discussing within a given philosophical system is easy, discussing across one system into another gets challenging. {The Trouble with Worldviews}

Is not that the nice challenging idea of our world where everyone may think freely?

William James believed that humanity had evolved beyond the point of absolute truth. We don’t know the absolute truth; we only know part of the truth and what that truth is, is always changing. For that reason truth had to be seen as evolving; utilized for as long as it worked in those circumstances in which it worked. He, along with his Pragmatist colleagues imagined a complete revisioning of all of philosophy based on Pragmatic grounds. {The Trouble with Worldviews}

Dividing walls of “race”

Dividing walls of “race”

All human beings are created in the image of God. This makes that we are or should be, all accepting the other as being allowed to be here by God and to be co-images of God and ourselves.

The Divine Creator, Jehovah, the God above all gods, did not create more than one race. Of the kind that now usually walks on two legs, God created only one kind: a man taken from the red earth, hence his name “A·dham“.

Dr. George Gallant says

Racism, implies that our Creator made more then one race of people. There is but one race the human race. Get use to it people and stop using the word Racism. One Blood, One People, One set of Parents, Adam and Eve.

He has good reason to call for stopping to divide people in races or a sort of brands. We all come from the same original human beings, who probably were not white at all. The first man and mannin Adam and Eve (Chavah or Isha) got children and their children got again children and in the end we come from those children their children.

William D Tillman says

the majority of people have bought into the false construct of color/ethnicity equals – species (sic race). This is really a question of supremacywhite supremacy in particular. The dividing walls of “race” were erected to not only keep “the races pure” but to subjugate all to so-called white people. My real concern is how silent the church is on this.

“let no man think more highly of himself than he ought to think…”

is a principle that is espoused but today’s rhetoric indicates it’s one that rather needs to be lived. The statement,

“I don’t see race”

is another method to dismiss the systematic denigration and disenfanchisement of a whole sector of the population because it places the blame of perception of the suffering and relieves the “race-blind” of the guilt of apathy.

We always should remember we could be born in another region, another culture, or we could have been born with either lighter or darker skin, God chose what we are on the outside but the inside is the same. The inside is the most important factor of our being.

In the life and teaching of Jesus we nowhere can find that he had a particular predilection for a sort human being. The places he went to had Hebrew, Palestinian, Arab and other Eastern people walking around and also listening to him. Never gave he a sign to have a certain preference for or over one or the other person. In Jesus’ teaching is no such thing as racial preference. He teaches that all people are the same. Also for God everybody is equal and shall be equally judged.

As followers of Christ or Christians, we all should be like brothers and sisters and share that brotherly love with each other.

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Find also to read:

  1. How did the original readers understand Gen 1:1?
  2. A dark skinned Jesus
  3. Why I’m Angry
  4. What is Racism??
  5. A last note concerning civil rights
  6. Even in the so-called freeworld countries racism exist
  7. Where It All Needs to Start
  8. Need to reject an archaic, racist inspired interpretation of the Bible and animosity against other believers
  9. Speciesism and racism
  10. Martin Luther King’s Dream Today
  11. Apartheid or Apartness #1 Suppression and Apartness
  12. Institutional Racism
  13. Immigration consternation
  14. Migrants to the West #1
  15. 150 Years after the 13th Amendment
  16. Forms of slavery, human trafficking and disrespectful attitude to creation to be changed
  17. Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts
  18. Looking at an American nightmare
  19. At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights
  20. Rome mobilisation to say no to fascism and racism
  21. American social perception, classes and fear mongering
  22. A president daring to use the Bible for underlining his hate speech
  23. Trump going over the top bringing a blasphemous act
  24. Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter
  25. It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!
  26. My Multi-Cultural Childhood Could be the Answer to Racism & Xenophobia

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