God isn’t dead though for many He is not relevant

In the 1960ies we often heard it said that God was dead.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was appointed pastor at Röcken by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, after whom Friedrich Nietzsche was named. Before Friedrich Nietzsche’s fifth birthday his father died in 1849. He was left to live in a household consisting of five women: his mother, Franziska, his younger sister, Elisabeth, his maternal grandmother, and two aunts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After attending a private preparatory school, the Domgymnasium, he was admitted to Schulpforta, Germany’s leading Protestant boarding school. Having graduated in 1864, he went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology.  Influenced by the textual criticism of the English and German classicists Richard Bentley and Gottfried Hermann, F.W. Ritschl, in full Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl became a classical scholar remembered for his work on Plautus and as the founder of the Bonn school of classical scholarship. It was under the tutelage of Ritschl in Leipzig that he further developed and became the only student ever to publish in Ritschl’s journal, Rheinisches Museum (“Rhenish Museum”). Ritschl assured the University of Basel that he had never seen anyone like Nietzsche in 40 years of teaching and that his talents were limitless and as such would be the best candidate to receive a professorship in classical philology that fell vacant in 1869 in Basel, Switzerland.

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882...

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882; One of five photographies by photographer Gustav Schultze, Naumburg, taken early September 1882. Public domain due to age of photography. Scan processed by Anton (2005)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his mature writings Nietzsche was preoccupied by the origin and function of values in human life.With his protestant background one can wonder if his expression “God is dead” was not misinterpreted.

Many people seem to assume that this implies God was once a living creature, and he has since passed away. But this is a misconception. Nietzsche was an atheist, and thus never believed that a God existed in any form except as a figment of the human imagination. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

Though we do find this man writing a lot about God and looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition, which according to him made suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God’s intention and as an occasion for atonement. For him this clinging to a flattering doctrine of personal immortality, could also seen as man having created its god to feel safe and sure, but those who did not believe in a god or God also tried to cling to an other “true” world, also offering symptoms of a declining life, or life in distress.

But for Nietzsche when there  is no god man also has not need of a god and man did not have to create a “slave” and “master” world, but should be himself the master. Facing the gut (“good”), schlecht (“bad”), and böse (“evil”) was something we made up ourselves as a nonmoral reference to those who were privileged, the masters, as opposed to those who were base, the slaves. For him his generation had come in a timespan where religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century positivism.

With the collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness would remain. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of nihilism: “God is dead.” Nietzsche thought, however, that most people could not accept the eclipse of the ascetic ideal and the intrinsic meaninglessness of existence but would seek supplanting absolutes to invest life with meaning.{ on Friedrich Nietzsche in the Encyclopaedia Britannica}

Many do forget that as a thinker it might well be that Nietzsche also had come into conflict with the trinitarian thought and the sayings in the Scripture that there is only One true God Who is One and an eternal Spirit, not having bones, flesh or blood, whilst so many people around him worshipped a god with flesh, bones and blood who was born and who died. All such contradictions with what is written in the Old and the New Testament could have muddled his mind.

Eventually the faithful get so worried about the well-being of God, that they build an armour to protect him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

When Nietzsche like others would have thought of that in such saying, he also could see the first sign that people were losing faith in God, also noticing around him how many people had lost faith in Him and did not trust God to take care of himself and able to endanger their safety.

The wannabe-philosopher of Finnish origin continues

Still at first, God is safe inside the armour and people continue to worship him. Over time though, God gets pissed off at the whole situation and leaves, or simply suffocates, leaving the armour for people to worship. People keep worshipping the hollow armour, and religion becomes a meaningless ritual with no substance to it. This is what “God is dead, and we have killed him” means. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

An “Autobiographical” philosopher also looks at the German philosopher, extremely critical of Christianity, but sees, like us, that we may not just take it as a sort of atheist statement which would be the “ultimate truth”. For Gabriel J. Mitchell

“God is Dead” simply means “The Christian god is becoming increasingly irrelevant to philosophy and culture”.  {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Mitchell writes:

In popular culture the phrase is often mistaken as an anti-Christian statement. Some sort of declaration of Atheism. This is most obviously manifested in Christian content like the film God’s Not Dead. In the movie, a disgruntled atheist professor demands his students declare the death of God and embrace atheism. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

With his background and his protestant family it would be strange that with his pretty bold statement that would be going against his own family’s belief and bring a serious anti-Christian message.
The saying „Gott ist tot“ or “God is dead” also known as “the death of God” first appeared in Nietzsche’s 1882 collection “Die fröhliche Wissenschaft” or “The Joyful Wisdom” also known as The Gay Science,  also translated as “The Joyful Pursuit of Knowledge and Understanding”. The German Wissenschaft never indicates “Weisheit” or “wisdom”, but concerns any rigorous practice of a poised, controlled, and disciplined quest for knowledge, typically translated as “science”. Nietzsche speaks about “what if” which does not mean “it is”.

As such Nietzsche writes

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ […] Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ — [The Joyful Wisdom §341]

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra).jpg

A statue of the Buddha from Sarnath, 4th century CE

A demon or sick person often is seen as a mad person or some one not by his senses. That mad man also can look at different deities and ascetics and sages like Gautama Buddha, probably a very attractive figure for Nietzsche because of all the philosophic thoughts of that teacher who lived in northern India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries before the Common Era.

We find the first occurrence of the famous formulation “God is dead,” first in section 108.

After Buddha was dead, people
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a
cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:
but as the human race is constituted, there will
perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which
people will show his shadow.—And we—we have
still to overcome his shadow! {— §108}

FW82.jpg

The Joyful Wisdom or The Gay Science, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887.

Section 125 depicts the parable of the madman who is searching for God. He accuses us all of being the murderers of God.

“‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers…”

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? {Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann}

Mitchell explains

The line is part of The Parable of the Madman a section from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science. It depicts a maddened individual running around a village asking where he can find God only to declare that God must be dead. In his ever creative style Nietzsche is using this madman as an outlet to explore an idea. Particularly he’s interested in the shifting values of European culture during his lifetime. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

More and more people took distance from religion, most people confusing God with Church. Having found so many lies in church they considered “God” also being a “fat lie”. Though many wondered what their life was to be and if there was nothing behind it or something hidden for them.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also had pondered the death of God, first in his Phenomenology of Spirit where he considers the death of God to

‘not [be] seen as anything but an easily recognized part of the usual Christian cycle of redemption’

But there some thought Jesus Christ to be the God, and when Jesus is God and Jesus died than really God would have died. Naturally Jesus is not God, because God is a Spirit Who has no beginning and not end and to Whom man can do nothing. In case Jesus is God and has died God would be dead and this did hurt Hegel, who writes about the great pain of knowing that God is dead

‘The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, (the feeling which was uttered by Pascal, though only empirically, in his saying: Nature is such that it marks everywhere, both in and outside of man, a lost God), purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’.

Nietzsche recognizes the crisis that the death of God represents for existing moral assumptions:

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”

Nietzsche saw how man went away from the faith in God and by doing so was looking for new answers or better answers than the churches could give. When not any more believing in the beautiful masterly concept of creation by the Divine Maker belief of cosmic or physical order also fell to the ground.

Nietzsche saw Europe was slowly transitioning into a sort of cultural Nihilism. As advancements in science and technology lead to more and more questioning of the status quo, Philosophical values were beginning to shift. What Nietzsche is getting at here isn’t a declaration of the truth value of Christianity. In fact truth is a topic Nietzsche is extremely critical of. Instead he’s pointing out the weakening of Christian influences on society. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Clearly the church was loosing its grip on the citizens. The ability to have the Bible in print and available to lots of people, made them also aware that for years those churches had lied about many things. Those who really went to study the Scriptures where confronted with many things the church said which were not written at all in the Bible.
An other problem arose by the growing knowledge and advancement in the sciences. Several people wanted to play for god themselves.

Later on people can take a look inside the armour and see there is no God there, and say God never existed in the first place. Whether or not God actually exists or existed at any point as an entity in the universe is not as relevant as the fact that there is an inherent need in most people to have faith in God. That in itself does change how people behave, hopefully for the better.

To put this hollow armour analogy in a more abstract way, is that at first people had a genuine faith in God whether or not this faith was reciprocated by an actual God. Over the course of time this genuine God was replaced by a man-made image of God. Man got rid of the real thing in favour of a man-made facsimile. I suppose the underlying motivation is that if man made God, man can also control him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

Seeing how man went away from God Nietzsche probably was very well aware that this could bring man in trouble.

Given Nietzsche’s strong animosity towards religion, you would think people realizing that ‘God is Dead’ would make him happy. After all, Nietzsche was dedicated in his quest to try and rid the individual of dogmatic and supernatural beliefs. Surely, people disregarding religion would be a comforting sight to Nietzsche. But this was not the case. Nietzsche was deeply troubled by the lack of a God, he feared that this may lead to the destruction of our society. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

The end of Christianity for Europe might bring desolation and chaos. Churches had fostered on human dogma‘s and now people had come to see how different they are to Biblical dogma’s. But when one finds that a church has lied so much would one go for an other church and not face the same problem? Mankind always have nuzzled dogmatic beliefs that are widely held and accepted by society and do not want to do away with so many traditions.

Many of these beliefs go unquestioned, and thus we live in a sort of ‘herd’ similar to sheep (the term sheeple is probably the best representation of this). By overcoming the herd perspective, a man can free himself and achieve new heights. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

When there is no God or when man himself is god, then man may be the master of everything (does he think). When there is no God,like so many think, then man loves to be as a god being the super being or Ubermensch, to which nothing is to small or to big and everything can be made possible. When it is not possible to do something today than it will be possible tomorrow or in the future, so why worry?

The Ubermensch is supposed to act as the answer to the problem of nihilism. Since God is dead, that means there is no objective truth or morality. Thus, an Ubermensch acts as his own ‘God’, abandoning the herd instinct and determining his own morality. He is neither slave nor master, as he does not impose his will on others. He is a master of self-discipline. He must be willing to embrace suffering and learn from it. In a way, the Ubermensch is the next step in human evolution. It’s a new intuition, perspective, and greatness for mankind. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

For sure, man has to take a long way before he shall reach such a state. He also seems to forget that is what the Word of God demands from man, that man work at themselves transforming their character to an ideal being without faults. Only problem that than poses, is to know what would be faults, and what would be the right things to strive for. For a Bible Student no such problems arise because he can find all answers in the Bible. But those who do not want to take a serious look at that Library of ancient works, still many questions shall stay unanswered.

++

Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  2. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  3. Christian values and voting not just a game
  4. 3rd question: Does there exist a Divine Creator
  5. Is there no ‘proof’ for God? (And why that statement is not as smart as you might think.)

+++

Further reading

  1. Moral Collapse Didn’t Begin Yesterday. Occult Paris
  2. Everything and Nothing
  3. No Lives Matter
  4. The Nil God
  5. Wake up; There is no God
  6. The death of God (and politics?)
  7. Because God is not efficient in revealing himself to us, He must not exist.
  8. With God vs Without
  9. God
  10. O God…
  11. Lunch n’ Bats
  12. Collecting our thoughts: opening prayer
  13. A walk on the sea
  14. The End of the World
  15. A Defense of Religion (From an Atheist)
  16. Seraphim Rose: “large numbers of Catholics and Protestants are hardly to be distinguished from unbelievers “
  17. On Nihilism
  18. Dostoyevsky’s Übermensch in Crime & Punishment
  19. God’s Heartbreak
  20. Can You Be A Happy Nihilist?
  21. Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics
  22. The New Nihilism
  23. A Journey Toward A Theory Of Stupidity 3 | The Grandfather Of Stupidology Part 1
  24. The Weaponisation Of Popular Culture
  25. Chapter 6
  26. What We Can Gain From Detachment
  27. Nietzsche and Buddhism
  28. Buddhism, Nietzsche, Jung, Christianity, and Plato: Religious and Philosophical Themes in Westworld
  29. Identification
  30. Who I am and why I’m here
  31. Übermensch
  32. Nietzsche #7 – Der Übermensch
  33. Nietzsche: Eternal Recurrence (Part 3)
  34. Nietzsche, a philosophical biography (Rüdiger Safranski, 2000)
  35. Übermensch by Mathew Babaoye
  36. Editorial 23: Frank Castle, Ubermensch
  37. How to become Superman: Nietzsche’s overwhelming concept and questions to ask yourself
  38. The Ubermensch as an Archetype

+++

Advertisements

Did the internet fueled a heightened sense of unrest among people?

Buy your copy of The Wired Soul in the Bible Gateway StoreTricia McCary Rhodes (@soulrest) who wrote the book, The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age (NavPress, 2016) finds that

Most people would say they live with an internal angst that they can’t always put their finger on.

She thinks

This is because the Internet has changed our very way of being in this world, compelling us to be perpetually “on” — from our cars to our computers, our tablets to our smartphones, our desks to our living rooms or dining tables, our churches to our libraries to our schools. This 24/7 connection means we’re never really free and we always feel behind. The Internet also continually entices us to explore its options through hyperlinks and ads so we can spend a lot of time on things for which we have little to show, adding to our unrest.

We also see that lots of youngsters are continually on social media, though when we hear them many feel very lonely. But every time busy on the net makes that most of us are rarely, if ever, alone with our own minds and souls.

Even when we do find a few minutes of quiet, we’re driven to check our devices for emails, texts, etc.; to surf the Web or to post on social media.

I might add that even if you’ve managed to remain a Luddite — one who resists technology — you’re surrounded by people who don’t, so you’re affected more than you may realize.

Tricia McCary Rhodessays Tricia McCary Rhodes.

It looks like many today want to stay connected with the world 24/7 and do find it their duty to be up to date with the headlines, though nobody still find the time to go deeper into the material. It all has become very superflucious. Superficiality abounds.

The author remarks

Distraction, which David Wells calls “the affliction of this age,” troubles them like a pesky fly buzzing around their head that won’t go away. Most people just give up after a few minutes of this and feel guilty or embarrassed at their lack. It’s always been hard to focus in prayer; the technology has upped the ante exponentially.

As Christ-followers, we can find guidance for life in the Bible. From it and from our worldly research material we know we can only avoid being shaped by our culture through the renewal of our minds; a word that means complete renovation (Romans 12:2).

From a brain science perspective, this happens as we engage in godly habits or focus and apply God’s truth often enough and long enough to ensure those cells fire together until they’re wired together and a deep pathway between them is formed. This means that the renewal of our minds—a work requiring God’s grace and guidance—is more about what we do than what we know; or in other words, more about the spiritual habits we keep than the amount of biblical information we might attain.

Read more about it in:

The Wired Soul: An Interview with Tricia McCary Rhodes

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

Exercising restraint for sharing

It seems very difficult to get Christian people to share a place with others on the same platform. The idea of bringing religious news from different view-points could be really interesting for both parties, the readers as well as the writers.

No one wants to write blog posts and have them sink into the bottomless pit of the internet. We as Christians are no different. We want people to read what we want to tell. Many like Facebook and spend lots of time posting notes in that system, but they do forget they only reach a few already connected people of a circle which can grow, but always shall have to find readers from their own circles and ‘friends of friends’.

Why do so many keep unresponsive to come to gather with other believers? What is it that held back people to join hands and make something new to happen? We should not be deterred by a few small setbacks. Many people may scrambler back as soon as they are asked to join forces and to come out in the wide world.

Freedom to join and to make fertile

Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Personalizando WordPress 1.5 (Photo credit: juanpol)

Having the opportunity to come on a more open system with WordPress, having the liberty to start an own website or blog or making an effort to join ranks and bring writers together on one place to talk about certain specific fields. The best way to attract readers is to read and comment on others’ blogs, allowing them to find your main blog, under your own name. But why not put in an extra dimension, not only to let yourself be found on your own blog, but giving hands with others to try to make a website which can be interesting for many, trying to find different subjects put together?

Those studying the Bible could find it interesting to find religious news at one place they could visit regularly or subscribe to. It would be lovely to see “Stepping toes” growing to become such a place where several writers could bring different ideas about ethical, philosophical and religious matters.

Backgrounds to choose

English: The Bible Students' Convention in Ski...

The Bible Students’ Convention in Skien, Norway, 1923 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who are free Bible Students have the advantage that they are a lay-based community where people can act independently. That independence can be good but it may not be that small units are formed, which excludes themselves from others, or do not want to know at all of other groups or denominations. It also would be wrong to say as a religious layman that we do not need theological seminaries or people who pursue studies in the humanities and add minors or majors in philosophy or ancient history, or even major in Biblical studies.

Some serious Bible Students even may think a study of philosophy, derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom”, could interfere with the study of the Bible and could bring the faith in God in danger. We do believe such fear is unfunded. It is not because philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God that a person interested in reading philosophical works would not be interested in supernatural powers, gods or the God of gods.

Brains to use

God has given men brains to use. He provided them with a system to think and to allow to order their mind. Every human being should question the things. The Creator God has given us life and wanted us to do something with it. Therefore we do have to reason and wonder why we live, why certain events occur. God allowed people to bring their ideas together in a field of science about the thinking of man. That field tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavours to make them critical thinkers. According to some it employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth. We should have some philosophers to go deeper into that matter of reason to think and why we should question so many questions. But there is a lot to ask and a lot to say.

Limitation of man

But when we look at that field of ‘wisdom‘ we always should remember that it only comes from people. They may have been atheists, deists or theists, believers in something or some one, but always they got their capabilities to think and write from the Creator who gave them those abilities. Though no human person is been made perfect, so everyone of us has his or her limitations. As such when we read each others work we should keep that in mind. Never may we put ourself above somebody else nor may we put somebody else above the Creator God.

The Bible informs us:

“It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

History testifies that trying to ignore that limitation has not produced good results. Humans by nature have limitations. Additionally, their experience in life is relatively brief and is usually confined to ones culture or one environment. The knowledge they possess is thus restricted, and everything is interconnected to such an extent that they constantly find aspects that they had not adequately considered. Any philosophy that they originate will reflect these limitations.

We all are connected with the time and culture in which we live. We all ere dependent on the upbringing we got and on the experiences and lessons we wanted to take out of life. There exists a way that is upright before a man, but we get blinded by the things around us, and whatever we try to do we shall all have to encounter the ways of death which  are the end of it afterwards (Proverbs 14:12)

Learning from others

Having the knowledge that we are only just small elements in that big universe, we should be humble enough to recognise that we can and should learn a lot from others around us. The willingness of sharing ideas is a matter of brotherly love. Being prepared to offer your ideas and those of others, to other people around you, even to those you might not know, shows your interest in other human beings. By searching for good ideas, by which you can learn but also others could learn, and the preparedness to share them with others, you can show your love to your neighbour and your willingness to show respect for the Creation of the Most High, where we should try to help each other to become better humans.

We can help each other by giving information and by sharing our knowledge. It is true that the wisdom of the wise men may perish, and we shall also see that the intelligence of the intellectual men will be shoved aside. (1 Corinthians 1:19-25) Many books full of human ideas have disappeared in oblivion. The writers are already long gone, but there are still some few ideas hoovering around. Many wise man, interesting scribes and good debater of this world (the system of things) are already long forgotten, some of those writings having taken with several people to set them thinking. We should know they can give us some ideas, they may set us off to start a debate. Because the Creator has gifted many people they will have told also reasonable things which could help us to grow. We can make use of them. We can listen and meditate about those writings. though we may never forget to put them in the light of the most important writings the world has received.

The book of books to be placed first

Philosophical Studies

Philosophical Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at the evolution of science, read some old ‘wisdom books’ we can notice that lots of those creative writings in the end did not pull the right string, and many of them had ideas which are already long time ago surpassed. Many of those older writings, wisdom of the old times has become foolish in the world of today. We all should be aware that what we consider to be so today might be not so any more in a few years time. (Look for example at the smallest element of an object which is not any more the molecule or the atom.)

When it is about the universe, its creation and Who is behind everything the world through its wisdom did not get to know the Divine Creator God. God saw good through the foolishness [as it appears to the world] of what is preached to save those believing. The Most High Creator has given The Writings which can bring enough wisdom to have a good life and to find the way to even a better life than we do have hear at the moment, on earth. In those Words given by god we should go and look for the most accurate teaching we can have. In the Bible we can find all the answers we do need to make the best of our life. The Book of books gives us in many writing styles in different ways of telling over and over the same message, so that we can not have any excuse that after reading them we could not understand.

Many people might find those old Writings ‘passé’ and laugh at the wording. They do not understand that a foolish thing of God [as the world views it] is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God [as the world may see it] is stronger than men

“19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-25 NIV)

Wisdom on its head

In the passing of time, the history of humankind, we see that God turned conventional wisdom on its head. The Creator of allthings, showed by the works of Creation how many times man was wrong with his ideas how to handle the world. So-called experts became exposed as crackpots. when we do write we also should consider that. We should know that we can not have all wisdom in us, and we may be utterly wrong in certain facts. Also the other person may be right in many facts but may also have it at the wrong end in other facts. Therefore we should be humble and patient when we look at writings from others. We should be aware there can be lots of good in it but also lots of bad. When there is something we do not agree with, that should not mean that it is bad. That what is contrary to our opinion can be wiser than our ideas.  Also the opposite may be true, things which others consider wrong about our way of thinking can be right at the end. We should always look at the wise spectrum which we receive in front of us and be thankful that we can read such a diversity of opinions. This diversity can be more richness than many people think. We should use it more than the critics of this world.

Knowing that not all wisdom can be found it the worldly human writings, we should be content to find find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age. Knowing that God has exposed it all as pretentious nonsense what many have written in the past, we should always turn to His Book of Wisdom, the book of books, the Holy Scriptures which we call in short: the Bible.

Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—[preaching], of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

Going right on preaching

While atheists laugh at the ideas of a supernatural being, Jews clamour for miraculous demonstrations and doubters or those who do find themselves contemporary thinkers, go in for philosophical wisdom, we should go right on proclaiming Christ,’ the Crucified’ and let the world know that it was a man of God who died at the wooden post to look a fool. We know the sign of having this man taken out of death is a sign for what can happen to us. Jews treat this like an [anti]-miracle — and many civics pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God Himself, Christ Jesus, the son of man and son of God, is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” God has provided in the Bible, the most widely circulated book in the world, a clear statement of his purpose. He has sent his witnesses to discuss it with all who will listen. How foolish for any creature to think that he has wisdom greater than that of God! What a sad mistake it would be to choose such deceptive human philosophy in preference to acquiring true wisdom as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the second-greatest person in the universe, next to God himself!

Danger of unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation

In an attempt to reconcile the Bible with philosophy many, like the third-century theologian Origen, relied heavily upon the allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures. More theologians assumed that Scripture always had a spiritual meaning but not necessarily a literal one. As one scholar noted, this allowed Origen “the means of reading into the Bible whatever non-biblical ideas were congenial to his own theological system, while professing (and no doubt sincerely imagining himself) to be a particularly enthusiastic and faithful interpreter of the thought of the Bible.”

This unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation blurred the lines between Christian doctrine and Greek philosophy. For example, in his book entitled On First Principles, Origen described Jesus as ‘the only-begotten Son, who was born, but without any beginning.’ And he added:

‘His generation is eternal and everlasting. It was not by receiving the breath of life that he is made a Son, by any outward act, but by God’s own nature.’

Origen like many after him violated the basic Scriptural principle: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” — 1 Corinthians 4:6.

We should be careful not to mix human writings, be it philosophical or theological with Biblical writing.

Disciples of Christ gathering

Those who call themselves Christians, should be followers of Christ. As such they should be eager to get to know the teachings of their Master teacher Christ Jesus, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua of the tribe of King David. His words are written down in the New testament which is complementary to the Old Testament or Hebrew Writings.

Coming together, looking at others, going out to preach, we should always remember that it should not be our aim to prejudge others based on their religious convictions. Among our fellow worshippers are many who at one time sincerely embraced false religious beliefs.

In the New Testament we have the example of the apostle Paul who had established common ground but knew that his listeners were educated in Greek philosophy and unfamiliar with the Scriptures. He adapted his approach in several ways. First, he presented Biblical teachings without directly quoting from the Scriptures. Second, he identified himself with his listeners, at times using the words “us” and “we.” Third, he quoted from Greek literature to show that certain things he was teaching were expressed in their own writings.

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

We should remember those first followers of Christ and see that they also where willing to listen to others and did dare to use their sayings to let them see how they thought and where they went wrong. Today we also can use those worldly sayings, the many writings of people who are respected by the world. We can and may present the many thoughts which circle the world, be confronted by them, loo at them, think about them, criticise them whenever needy, use them for our advantage, and continue our path on or continuous learning process.

So, some may not find it appropriate to find different denominations their ideas placed together on one platform, we do believe we can learn from each other, as well do show interest in each other and know what is happening in this world.
It is not because we are serious Bible Students and active Christians that we should not look at others their writings, ignore the many ideas which are uttered in this world. It is also not that we should not be allowed to meet with others who do not think exactly the same as us. No, by coming together and by willing to share thoughts, we all can feed each other, and be helpful to develop as human beings.

Not trivial

Andrew Perry notes the problems of confessional bias and liberal unbelief that can subvert the unwary student, then concludes:

“It might therefore seem surprising that we advocate degree level Biblical Studies as a university choice.

“There is much of lasting value in such a choice; a value for life. First, there is the grounding in Hebrew and Greek which is of obvious benefit. Second, there is a vast amount of historically pertinent information to be had about the Bible—information that does not call into question beliefs about the Bible.

“Accordingly, any challenges to faith can be met head-on and handled. Here a study of Philosophy is valuable for the analytical skills it imparts; these skills help a student pick apart the challenges to faith. Furthermore, for every critical viewpoint on a matter, there is always a conservative counterpoint. So, while there are dangers, there are also paths to follow.”

If even one in fifty Christadelphian university students took a minor in philosophy, ancient history or ancient languages, and used that knowledge to the service of our faith, the flow-on effects would not be trivial.

Welcome to all

May we welcome you, and let us do hope we can share many thoughts, being little cogwheels of this world system in which we all together would like to look for a better world for every one, be it a believer, non-believer or other believer.

+

Find also to read:

  1. Words to push and pull & Words to bring message
  2. Wisdom lies deep
  3. Many Books, yet One
  4. Unsure about relevance Bible
  5. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  6. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  7. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  8. Why believing the Bible
  9. Appointed to be read
  10. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  11. Getting to know the Truth
  12. Bible for you and for life
  13. The Bible is a today book
  14. Possibility to live
  15. Bible like puddle of water
  16. Loving the Word
  17. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  18. Science and God’s existence
  19. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  20. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  21. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  22. History of Christianity
  23. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  24. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  25. Change
  26. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  27. Power in the life of certain
  28. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  29. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  30. Chief means by which men are built up
  31. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  32. Bringing Good News into the world
  33. Feed Your Faith Daily

+++

  • October Series of the Month: Kant’s Questions (routledge.com)
    “Have the courage to use your own understanding! – that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant
    The Enlightenment is one of the most important and contested periods in the history of philosophy. The problems it addressed, such as the proper extent of individual freedom and the challenging
  • The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much (coriwong.com)
    Hardly anyone has heard of philosophical counseling, but now that I’ve started my own philosophical counseling and consulting business, I’ve had loads of opportunities to describe the “how’s” and “why’s” of this form of philosophical practice. I start by emphasizing that, at the heart of the matter, philosophical counseling entails thinking about our lives and experiences in ways that help us become better people who think, live, and feel better along the way. Even though I think that’s a pretty compelling description of what’s at stake, it’s been met with a variety of responses.
  • Philosophers, those bloated parasites… (naughtthought.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy…the very world bears a halo so tarnished with the fingernail scratches of a desperate hold that its meaning is as dim as it is persistent.Philosophy begins in wonder, in disappointment, with anything except instantaneous experience (according to Laruelle). So say the philosophers. Though few comments have seemed as honest as Lyotard’s – that philosophy is at best graffiti on the ruins of the world.
    +
    There is also too much to be said about the conceptual engineer figure of philosophy according to Deleuze – the false modesty of ‘just being a brick layer’ but Deleuze does not think he is just a brick layer. He thinks the philosopher can fold the unknown outside into thought. That’s a power beyond brick handling.
  • “For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving” (kingslandrogue.wordpress.com)
    For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving towards existence on a philosophical or supra-historical plane.
  • Sartre and some faux intellectuals – An obnoxious view on obnoxious people (semifeminist.wordpress.com)
    I guess coming from a science background, I’d rather hear things about what people do.  If there’s a contradiction between what a person says and what a person does, then the essence of what they say is lost on me.  Show me your faith by your actions… :D :D :D (pssst it’s a reference to James)
    +
    Ok it’s cool you made some great observations about society and humans. But what have you done about it? Have you presented any model that could change an aspect of society?
    +
    Walk the talk. Do the deed. Say what you will. It’s that simplicity we need.
  • Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’ (therelateblog.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is made up of a range of different branches each discussing different topics which makes it a tricky word to define! For example, metaphysics looks at questions about realty whereas aesthetics considers beauty.
    +
    There are many other famous philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Aristotle, Hick, Spinoza and Nietzche. How many can you name?
  • Why Take Philosophy A Level? (scribblingsofasimpleton.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is not, I repeat not, what you would call a “doss” subject. People often assume that Philosophy is a subject you can take because it’s easy. Anyone that says or believes that couldn’t be more wrong. To be brutally honest, Philosophy is hard. And I mean really hard. Universities look at it at the same academic level as Physics or Maths.
    +
    Philosophy requires an inordinate amount of brain-power and a Philosophy student will need to question everything-including their own existence. It is not a subject for the faint-hearted.
  • Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence? (theguardian.com)
    David Birnbaum

    David Birnbaum: ‘There must be an answer. How is it possible that so many brilliant people, over thousands of years, have missed it?’ Photograph: Brian Finke for the Guardian

    In the summer of 2012, a number of philosophers at British and American universities received a bulky, unmarked package in the post. It contained a 560-page book, written in English but with the Latin title Summa Metaphysica, by an amateur whose name they didn’t recognise: David Birnbaum. It isn’t unusual for philosophy departments to get mail from cranks, convinced they have solved the riddle of existence, but they usually send stapled print-outs, or handwritten letters; Summa Metaphysica stood out “for its size and its glossiness”, says Tim Crane, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge. The book was professionally typeset. It even included endorsements from Claude Lévi-Strauss, the legendary French anthropologist, who described it as “remarkable and profound”, and from the Princeton physicist John Wheeler, who once collaborated with Einstein. It would later transpire that 40,000 copies were in circulation, a print run any academic philosopher might kill for.

  • Essential Readings on Universalism (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I thought it might be helpful to others to share the essential stuff that I have read and consider worthy of consideration:
    +
    As a Catholic theologian, Balthasar could not and would  go beyond the hope that God would save all, but that we must hope and pray for universal salvation, he fervently believed.
  • On being an attractive woman and being taken seriously in philosophy (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    I also use twitter to connect with philosophers around the world, and find it a generally supportive and stimulating space to communicate with like-minded people. But I received a troubling tweet in response to a (non-sexual) photo I posted recently. The tweet was by a male philosopher. He said that philosophers are not supposed to be pretty.These experiences have made me wonder whether being perceived as pretty, to some, will also mean that I will be taken less seriously in philosophy. Clearly, the tweeter’s comment was not well thought out. It was a tweet. But  do we still have distorted understandings about what philosophers are “supposed to be” or “supposed to look like”?