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…

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How Social Media is Shrinking the Bible

The following short article from a “Christian” source recognizes and addresses a modern day problem associated with Bible engagement and technology.

Though technology has played a major role in the availability of the Word of God in ways unimaginable just a generation back, today an estimated 50% of Americans read their Bible digitally on computers, phones, and Bible apps. In addition, computer programs quickly and efficiently present the Bible in multiple translations, readily available for reading, copying, and saving with the click of a mouse; while essential tools which Bible students depend upon such as concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. are equally available on line.
Yet… what impact has technology had on Bible engagement in this digital age?

Studies conducted by the Barna Group and The American Bible Society show that there is a growing Bible literacy problem despite the technological advantages, concluding,

“today’s technology is doing as much, if not more, harm than good to overall Bible literacy.”

Scriptural sound bites and snippets necessarily reduce not only content, but also meaning and impact. There is simply no replacement for Bible study. When one repeatedly reads the Bible with the sincere desire to understand and embrace it, one becomes familiar with its themes, its teachings, and its contexts.
We are admonished to

“study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

– Editor of the Christadelphian Advocate

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Harper-Collins-Bible-best-Bible-apps-for-Android – the Word of Promise telling: The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition, is the most comprehensive study Bible available!

It turns out that electronic Bible providers are employing “a data-centric model” which regularly regurgitates those verses which are already the most tweeted or shared by their user communities. The result is basically a repeating loop of “verse of the day” Bible balm. This means those who get their Bible online will receive plenty of I can do all things through Christ… (Philippians 4:13), and, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace…(Jeremiah 29:11), but not so much of the rest of the Bible. Apparently no one is intentionally choosing a wide selection of verses to more adequately convey the wider range of biblical teaching… The prognosis is not good… the less-than-hopeful question:

“Does this mean that we lose out on doctrinal or propositional input into our Bible reading online”?

And if we do put more than therapeutic Bible verses out there, will they all merely land on “deaf ears, blind eyes, and dead screens”?
The concern is appropriate.

Constantly engaging Bible verses that make me feel good is perilously close to turning the Bible into a prophet that tells me only what I want to hear. This is the kind of prophet the real prophets warned us about. But is simply adding more verses – propositional ones – to the playlist really the solution? Isn’t there a deeper problem here?

Exposure to a wider variety of Bible verses might offer me more than therapy, but the entire approach is still based on providing would-be Bible readers little more than a morsel. The bigger issue is that we can’t rely on tweets, Facebook posts or “verse of the day” deliveries to our inbox to fulfill the promise of Bible engagement.
The social media channel as a communication medium has built-in limitations. The Bible itself is so much more than a collection of verses, so much richer than a sourcebook of one-liners… The Holy Scriptures are a gathering of complete literary works, meant to be read as a whole. These books come together to tell a story that can only be taken in, understood, and lived if it is fully encompassed, apprehended at length, and deeply embraced. Sound bites can’t do this. A constant diet of atomized fragments is a disservice to the Scriptures that God gave us.

Let us rather respect and read the Bible holistically.
Let us honor the Word of God by giving it our time and full attention.
We don’t need a shrinking Bible delivered to us with a diminished set of expectations. May we rather welcome back a full-sized Bible – the stories, wisdom, instruction, and visions overflowing with all that God has for us and all He expects of us.
Words to encourage and inspire us, yes: but also to instruct, correct, and welcome us wholly into this long and winding narrative that in the end leads us where we need to go. Only the complete Bible can do this. So read big.

This article originally appeared on Institute For Bible Reading organisation under the title “Verse of the Day‘Therapy’ is Shrinking the Bible,” October 10, 2018.

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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Sunday reflection . . . .But he who would be born again indeed,

Purplerays

‘Tis hard for man to rouse his spirit up–
It is the human creative agony,
Though but to hold the heart an empty cup,
Or tighten on the team the rigid rein.
Many will rather lie among the slain
Than creep through narrow ways the light to gain–
Than wake the will, and be born bitterly.

But he who would be born again indeed,
Must wake his soul unnumbered times a day,
And urge himself to life with holy greed;
Now ope his bosom to the Wind’s free play;
And now, with patience forceful, hard, lie still,
Submiss and ready to the making will,
Athirst and empty, for God’s breath to fill.

~ George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

Art: Meg White
Text & image source: _/_Peggy @ ECUMENICUS
https://www.facebook.com/ecumenicus/

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What Tolerance really means

In this world we can see that less and less tolerance is given by people. Lots of Christians and fundamentalist religious groups want to take the crown for not tolerating others to live with them or in their neighbourhood.

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To remember

“Tolerance: Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”

  • you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you => In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to accept such different behaviour or beliefs, if they cannot be changed.
  • changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs =  influence operating word, not force.

Victors' Corner

WHAT TOLERANCE REALLY MEANS
By Victor Uyanwanne
13/03/2015

I have always been interested in learning new words and I have usually made conscious effort towards achieving that aim. I remember way back in school when we were much younger when we used to keep “New Words and Meaning” notebooks as a deliberate strategy to enhance our knowledge of English words. Those notebooks were really helpful then in building our capacity to understanding English as a second language.

Somehow, I have carried the habit of learning new words into my adult life, but with a different strategy. Thanks to the revolution in ICT! For instance, I subscribed to an offer by my telecom service provider to send me one new English word and its meaning, every day. I have been enjoying this service for years now without fail. This service has afforded me a convenient medium of learning the meaning of…

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An Escape Mechanism

To remember

  • God = a ‘wish fulfillment; a fictional father figure projected in the sky of our imagination + created by our desire for security.’
  • Heaven = imaginary projection of our extinction + death
  • religion = psychological escape mechanism => we don’t have to face life as it really is.
  • atheism = flight from reality > projection of desire not to have to meet God one day + give account for your life.

God does not believe in atheists

escape

The new Atheists quote Sigmund Freud, that God is a ‘wish fulfillment; a fictional father figure projected in the sky of our imagination and created by our desire for security.’ On this view, Heaven is an imaginary projection of our extinction and death. And religion is simply a psychological escape mechanism so that we don’t have to face life as it really is. Well, of course, that’s all true; provided only that God does not exist. But if God does exist, exactly the same Freudian argument will show you equally convincingly that it is atheism that is the flight from reality. A projection of the desire not to have to meet God one day and give account for your life. If God does exist, then atheism can easily be seen as a psychological escape mechanism; to avoid taking responsibility for one’s life.

–John Lennox

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Scientific Proof is Unproven

Scientific Proof is Unproven

To remember

  • common misconceptions of science = idea of “scientific proof.” > Science =not in the business of “proving” theories (or laws).
  • Everything in science is tentative
  • Facts are based on our best understanding and if our understanding changes tomorrow so will our facts.

Finding the Messiah in Hebrew dictionaries – 1.

Brit In Jerusalem

I’ll carry on with more about my trip round China shortly.   My blog follows a sort of ‘Reader’s Digest’ pattern of stories that start and stop mainly on themes of my faith in Christ, travel in places of the bible and other countries that interest me.

IMG_20180615_201345529

This week I was really blessed to get this set of 4 volume Hebrew dictionaries, these used to belong to a library, I know that the Hebrew language actually gets ‘updated’ with new words for modern things, these books are from 2000.   So I don’t know how out of date they have to be to be retired!

I’m not a biblical scholar.  I have no Jewish background in my family as far as I know.  I’m a Christian who did some volunteering in Jerusalem, and I learned some Hebrew out there.   Not very much, not enough to be much useful.   I can’t remember many words…

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Do You Want to Believe?

The “WEIRD-people” from the Weird world may have very weird ideas loving to belong to the Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic world but seem often to be blinded by their politicians, like the present presidents of the U.S.A., Turkey and Russia, who are of the same breed and love the tyranny of a dictatorship where they must play the lead, over a a group of people who are caught up in human doctrines of one of their religions, be it a very conservative form in Christendom, or in Islam, or in Russian Orthodoxy mixed with Stalinism.

We may be asked to calm down, but what happened to our family members, our teachers and friends in the 1930ies and 1940ies is clearly printed in our heads and  here in Europe we see history repeating itself.

In Christendom there is also once again a growing hate to those of Christianity. The ones believing in a Trinity got their agricultural fork out again, trying to get down who believe in the Only One True God of Israel, (Jews, Jeshuaists, Non-Trinitarian Christians and Muslims). Those who say they are Christian often do not take on the attitude of Christ, who should be their rebbe and show how they prefer to live without a God Who has given mankind His commandments. They want others to believe we do not have to keep those commandments any more, and do live accordingly a life full of indecent and immoral actions and foul language.

Our best hope should not be on that sort of community but should direct with open eyes for a better world where people of all sorts of culture, colour or race can live together in a global community of loving and sharing people.

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To remember

  • We all have friends who believe things that seem crazy, but we don’t think our friends are crazy.
  • People adopt beliefs based on several factors. If those factors are different, then the people tend to adopt different beliefs.
  • Differences in factors as: region, economic class, ethnicity, social circles, information sources, + life experiences lead people to different beliefs.
  • differences show up mainly in emotion + intuition, which influence our political + moral judgments.
  • perhaps half of Americans accept utilitarian + universalist ideas, but also value loyalty, respect for authority, respect for the sacred, individual liberty, + support for the common good.
  • disagreements exist + also a few genuine crazies + haters: in a population of over 300 million, that’s inevitable.

Don’t let a tiny minority of crazies and haters blind you to the fact that most people want to be good and to do the right thing – even if their idea of “the right thing” sometimes clashes with ours.

  • Screaming at people, calling them names, and dismissing their concerns as unworthy of consideration => on-going conflict + social disintegration.

The Thousand-Year View

graphic-01-newrepublicMy latest blog post for The Jewish Journal:

After a bitterly divisive election season, there’s one question on everyone’s mind:

“How can people possibly believe that?”

What “that” is depends on who’s doing the talking. It means one thing to Trump supporters, something else to Clinton supporters, and who knows what to third-party supporters.

We all have friends who believe things that seem crazy, but we don’t think our friends are crazy. So we’re completely baffled. Are the people who disagree with us ignorant? Stupid? Hyper-emotional? Or – this seems to be the favorite – are they just plain evil?

It’s usually none of those things. The true answer is simpler and more innocent.

People adopt beliefs based on several factors. If those factors are different, then the people tend to adopt different beliefs.

In 2016 America, those factors differ a lot – by region, economic class, ethnicity, social…

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Yehowah in the Leningrad Codex

Since my childhood in the Old Roman Catholic Church I had been brought up with the Holy Name of God, though two versions of His Name were used: Jehovah (at that time written Yehowah or YHWH, later Jehovah and still later Jehovah or JHWH) and Yahweh (also later receiving the J for the Y and becoming Jahweh).

In the 1960ies the Jehovah’s Witnesses gaining more foot on the ground and the Catholic church starting loosing people to other faith groups and even having people (like me) totally abandoning the Holy Trinity, they started to create a hate against the Name Jehovah.

In a certain way we could see the growing hate against Jehovah, because most people, like still today, co-notate it with the faith group from the American organisation Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In the land of the origin of that organisation we also could see a growing hate against non-trinitarians and users of God’s Name. On the other hand around the turn of the 20th to 21st century we saw also in the United States more people coming up for God’s Name, though they refused the contemporary or modern spelling which was by then also used in most other languages and as such said God His Name was not Jehovah, because a Y did not exist yet in ancient Hebrew, instead of accepting that it is exactly the same and in modern spelling it is agreed to write Jehovah, like others also write Jesus or Jeshua and not Iesus (e.g. like in the King James Bible of 1611) or Yeshua (like some also claim Christ his name to be).

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To remember

Leningrad Codex (or Codex Leningradensis) = oldest complete manuscript of Hebrew Bible using the Masoretic Text +Tiberian vocalization = oldest complete codex of the Tiberian mesorah

Masoretic vowel points in Leningrad Codex allow for pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton​ — the four Hebrew consonants making up the divine name — ​as Yeho·wah’.

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Additional reading

  1. Another way looking at a language #5 Aramic, Hebrew and Greek
  2. Een Naam voor een God #11 Y of J Kiezen
  3. Lord in place of the divine name
  4. Lord Of The Creation
  5. Anti Jehovah sites
  6. Al-Fatiha [The Opening/De Opening] Süra 1:1-3 In the name of Allah the Merciful
  7. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #11 Muslim Idiom Translations
  8. Jehovah in the BASF
  9. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #1 Abrahamic religions

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Related

  1. The Tetragrammaton
  2. Questions and Answers About the Name of God
  3. Blog 1903 Names of God: Adonai
  4. What is the name of God?
  5. Yes, Yes; No, No; Men are men; Women are Women. Numbers 30 – part 1
  6. What’s in a name?
  7. His Name Upon Us – Numbers 6:23-27
  8. Respecting God’s name
  9. Why is God called by different names in different ages? What are the significances of God’s names? |Eastern Lightning