Introduction -- The significance of story -- Morphogenic fields -- The universe story and Christian story -- Morphic resonance : two stories converge -- The "kingdom of God" -- Emerging capacities -- Meditation -- The power of intention -- The fields converge -- A field of compassion -- Manifesting a field of compassion -- Engaging the grace we imagine.
O papel da Igreja foi fundamental no processo de constituição do território no Novo Mundo. Neste artigo, explora-se a forma como se implementaram no Novo Reino de Granada (hoje Colômbia) as “Instruções para a fábrica e decoração das igrejas” de Carlos Borromeo de 1577, documento considerado como a consolidação arquitetônica do Concilio de Trento. A análise parte da comparação dos principais preceitos contidos nas Instruções com os contratos de fabricação das igrejas celebrados pelo Visitador Luis Henríquez entre os anos 1599 (...) e 1605 no território da Província de Tunja. Dentro da empreitada religiosa e de unificação da Coroa espanhola no território americano, a doutrina dos indígenas americanos tornou-se um projeto crucial e, portanto, a fabricação das igrejas e a concentração da população. A igreja era o ponto de partida para a conformação de novos assentamentos para indígenas sob a responsabilidade de um padre, chamados “povoados de índios”. A força do projeto secular espanhol deixou suas marcas na forma destas igrejas de doutrina construídas e que, 400 anos depois, permitem realizar uma reflexão sobre a imposição do simbolismo e da hierarquia eclesiástica em Colômbia. Palavras-chave: Arquitetura religiosa. Novo Reino de Granada. Carlos Borromeo. Igrejas de doutrina.In the territorial constitution of the New World the role of the Church was crucial. In this article, we investigate the implementation in the new kingdom of Granada (the current Colombia) the “Instructions to the factory and decoration churches” by Charles Boromeo, 1577, a document considered as architectural consolidation of the Council of Trent. This analysis is grounded in the comparison between the Borromeo's Instructions and the numerous contracts assigned by Luis Henriquez in the period of 1559 and 1605, in the territory of the province of Tunja. The indoctrination process of the indigenous American people became the main project in the religious enterprise and unification of Spanish Crown through the construction of sturdy churches and concentration of this population around them. The church was the start point for urban conformation of new indigenous settlements named “povoados de índios”, upon the responsibility of a priest. The force of Spain’s secular project left its mark in the shape of such “churches of doctrine” constructed across the territory in the XVII century, which allow today a reflection about the symbolic imposition of a new ecclesial hierarchy in Colombia during this period. Keywords : Religious architecture. New Kingdom of Granada. Charles Borromeo. Churches of Doctrine. (shrink)
John Dewey has been portrayed as a sort of villain in Rosenow's (1997) article which appeared in this journal, apparently because he was unfairly opposed to God and to religion, and also because he deliberately usurped religious language to 'camouflage' his secular ideas. By drawing mainly upon similar sources but with some important additions, I wish to challenge the four major concerns raised in Rosenow's article and in doing so aim to offer an alternative interpretation. It is understood here that (...) Dewey's approach to religion was not so much religious as it was 'spiritual' and while developing and changing throughout his writings, his ideas on spirituality nevertheless were thoroughly entwined with his other views, especially those dealing with education, science and democracy. (shrink)
This article tries to make sense of the concept of the highest good (eternal bliss) in Søren Kierkegaard by comparing it to the analysis of the highest good found in Immanuel Kant. The comparison with Kant’s more systematic analysis helps us clarify the meaning and importance of the concept in Kierkegaard as well as to shed new light on the conceptual relation between Kant and Kierkegaard. The article argues that the concept of the highest good is of systematic importance in (...) Kierkegaard, although previous research has tended to overlook this, no doubt due to Kierkegaard’s cryptic use of the concept. It is argued that Kierkegaard’s concept of the highest good is much closer to Kant’s than what previous research has indicated. In particular, Kant and Kierkegaard see the highest good not only as comprising of virtue and happiness (bliss), but also as being the Kingdom of God. (shrink)
Jesus' ethics emisaged not the indiudual —as so much of modern scholarship has mistakenly supposed—but restored Israel as a communnity brought into being through appropriate response to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom.
It is only when the man of faith is oriented exclusively toward what the apostle called "the word of the cross," which requires that he "give an account of his dealings with the world," that the archaic structures of society are really thrown into a crisis.
In this paper I argue that the effects of sin for our cognition of God primarily consist in a lack of knowledge by acquaintance of God and the relevant ensuing propositional knowledge. In the course of my argument, I make several conceptual distinctions and offer analyses of 1Cor 13:9-12 and Rom 1:18-23. As it turns out, we have ample reason to think that sin has had and still has profound consequences for our cognition of God, but there is no reason (...) to think that sin has taken away all knowledge of God or that sin has resulted in a loss of specific cognitive faculties that are oriented toward knowledge of God. (shrink)
The starting-point is the distinction between concept and conception. Our conceptions of gold, for instance, are the different understandings we get when we hear the word ‘gold’ whereas the concept of gold consists in the scientific determination of what gold is. It depends on the context whether it is more reasonable to claim a concept or to look for fitting conceptions. By arguing against metaphysical realism and for non-metaphysical realism, I will elaborate on some philosophical reasons for dealing with conceptions (...) instead of concepts of God, and secondly, I will discuss how such conceptions should be critically assessed. (shrink)
In this essay dedicated to the memory of D. Z. Phillips, I propose to do two things. In the first part I present his position on the grammar of God and the language game in some detail, discussing the confusion of "subliming" the logic of our language, the contextual genesis of sense and meaning, the idea of a world view, language game, logic, and grammar internal to each context, the constitution of the religious context, and the grammar of God proper (...) to that context. In the second part I present my appreciative critical reflection by arguing that the conception of context and language game must be made more dialectical, that the grammar of God needs more systematic metaphysical analysis, and that a greater sense of the radical transcendence of God over a language game is necessary in order to avoid reductionism always inherent in any contextual approach. (shrink)
There is a well known debate between those who defend a traditional (or classical) concept of God and those who defend a process (or neoclassical) concept of God. Not as well known are the implications of these two rival concepts of God in the effort to understand religious experience. With the aid of the great pragmatist philosopher John Smith, I defend the process (or neoclassical) concept of God in its ability to better illuminate and render as intelligible as possible mystical (...) experience. (shrink)
Mathematics and the Mind of God is the synopsis of a leture held at a symposium under this title at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1995. It takes a critical position with respect to the suggestion that there is a shortcut from the exact sciences to theology. It is true that mathematics is the pure form in which the exactness of these sciences can be expressed. The fundamental principle of it, however, the structurability of our world of experience, is (...) not expressible in mathematical form. It belongs to the subject matter of metaphysics, in the sense of rational relation of principles. Mystical experience and theological reflection are even beyond the realm of metaphysics, because they claim to transcend natural human reason. Jumping directly from science to theology therefore gives rise to many misunderstandings which are detrimental to both. (shrink)
The author examines Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion to discover a variant of the usual teleological argument that abandons reliance on analogical reasoning. This second version, never refuted in the Dialogues, is termed "pragmaticist" in Peirce's sense. It relies on an abductive hypothesis that claims not logical proof but the power of instinctual conviction. The Dialogues' espousal of sound common sense may then be viewed as an imperfectly articulated precursor of Peirce's pragmaticist argument for the reality rather than the existence (...) of God. (shrink)
The text discusses the importance of religion as a symbolic construct which derives from fundamental human needs. At the same time, religious symbolism can function as an explanation for the major crises existent in the lives of individuals or their communities, even if they live in a democratic or a totalitarian system. Its presence is facilitated by the assumption of the biographical element existent in the philosophical and theological reflection and its extrapolation in a biography which concerns the communities and (...) its governmental resorts. It is in this context that we discuss the way in which the myth concerning the death of God can influence the formation of political ethics relevant for the contemporary man. From the analysis of the signification of the death of God in the contemporary Judaic theology and philosophy emerges a series of important elements for the creation of a political ethics situated between biblical morals and the extermination of the innocents in the 20th century. (shrink)
The existence of God is once again the focus of vivid philosophical discussion. From the point of view of analytic theology, however, people often talk past each other when they debate about the putative existence or nonexistence of God. In the worst case, for instance, atheists deny the existence of a God, which no theists ever claimed to exist. In order to avoid confusions like this we need to be clear about the function of the term 'God' in its different (...) contexts of use. In what follows, I distinguish between the functions of 'God' in philosophical contexts on the one hand and in theological contexts on the other in order to provide a schema, which helps to avoid confusion in the debate on the existence or non-existence of God. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne’s argument in The Existence of God discusses many probabilities, ultimately concluding that God probably exists. Swinburne gives exact values to almost none of these probabilities. I attempted to assign values to the probabilities that met that weak condition that they could be correct. In this paper, I first present a brief outline of Swinburne’s argument in The Existence of God. I then present the problems I encountered in Swinburne’s argument, specifically problems that interfered with my attempt to arrive (...) at values for the probabilities discussed by Swinburne. Finally, I suggest that Swinburne’s argument would be more persuasive if he assigned exact values to his probabilities. (shrink)
Paley’s ‘proof’ of the existence of God, or some supposed version of it, is well known. In this paper I offer the real thing and two objections to it. One objection is Hume's, and the other is provided by Darwin.
This essay compares and contrasts nine different conceptual models of God: atheism, agnosticism, deism, theism, pantheism, polytheism, henotheism, panentheism, and eschatological panentheism. This essay justifies employment of the model method in theology based on commitments within philosophical hermeneutics, philosophy of science, and the theological understanding of divine transcendence. The result is an array of conceptual models of the divine which have reference, but which make indirect rather than literal claims. Of the analyzed models, this essay defends “eschatological panentheism” as the (...) most satisfying model for Christian constructive theology. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical investigation of the theological assumptions that lie within three forms of modern feminist ethics, with a view to challenging feminist ethics to enter the new theological possibilities opened up in postmodernity for the conceiving of god. The first part of the paper considers the conceiving of god in modern feminisms, in which theology becomes ethics. The consequences of this development are considered. The second part of the paper investigates the turn into postmodernity which hears the (...) saying of the death of god and the critique of onto-theology. This disturbance to the foundations of feminist ethics is understood as part of a wider critique of humanism manifest particularly in gender theory. That the end of the modern human subject might allow a conceiving of god through an understanding of the performative is the restored orthodoxy to which the paper points. (shrink)
After reviewing Kant’s well-known criticisms of the traditional proofs of God’s existence and his preferred moral argument, this paper presents a detailed analysis of a densely-packed theistic argument in Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason. Humanity’s ultimate moral destiny can be fulfilled only through organized religion, for only by participating in a religious community (or “church”) can we overcome the evil in human nature. Yet we cannot conceive how such a community can even be founded without presupposing God’s existence. (...) Viewing God as the internal moral lawgiver, empowering a community of believers, is Kant’s ultimate rationale for theistic belief. (shrink)
I first examine John Duns Scotus’ view of contingency, pure possibility, and created possibilities, and his version of the celebrated distinction between ordained and absolute power. Scotus’ views on ethical natural law and his account of induction are characterised, and their dependence on the preceding doctrines detailed. I argue that there is an inconsistency in his treatments of the problem of induction and ethical natural law. Both proceed with God’s contingently willed creation of a given order of laws, which can (...) be revoked and replaced with a new order of laws. In the case of ethical natural law God promulgated the Decalogue, for example; in the case of nature, there are physical laws that can be known by induction. Scotus exalts the freedom of God and the mutability of ethical natural law in order to explain exceptions to it disclosed by revelation (for example, the Old Testament command to Abraham to kill Isaac). Yet he treats ethical natural laws as (mostly) not universal and immutable. In contrast, he holds that we can arrive at knowledge of the universal and immutable laws of nature, except for those regularities that result from free will. Finally, I present several ways of characterising this tension between Scotus’ doctrines. (shrink)
The last half century has seen both attempts to demythologize the idea of God into purely secular forces and the resurgence of the language of “God” as indispensable to otherwise secular philosophers for describing experience. This volume asks whether “piety” might be a sort of irreducible human problematic: functioning both inside and outside religion.S. Clark Buckner works in San Francisco as an artist, critic, and curator. He is the gallery director (...) at Mission 17 and publishes regularly in Artweek and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. Matthew Statler is the Director of Research at the Imagination Lab Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland. His current research is focused on practical wisdom as it pertains to organizational phenomena such as strategy making and leadership. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. (shrink)
In this book, controversial and world-renowned theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, tackles the issue of theology being sidelined as a necessary discipline in the modern university. It is an attempt to reclaim the knowledge of God as just that – knowledge. Questions why theology is no longer considered a necessary subject in the modern university, and explores the role it should play in the development of our “knowledge” Considers how theology is often excluded from the knowledges of the modern university because these (...) are constituted by an understanding of time necessary to make economic and state realities seem inevitable Argues that it is precisely this difference that makes Christian theology an essential resource for the university to achieve its task - that is, to form people who are able to imagine a different world through critical and disciplined reflection Challenges the domesticated character of much recent theology by suggesting how prayer and the love of the poor are essential practices that should shape the theological task Converses with figures as diverse as Luigi Giussani, David Burrell, Stanley Fish, Wendell Berry, Jeff Stout, Rowan Williams and Sheldon Wolin Published in the new and prestigious Illuminations series. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philosophy (...) and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medieval Islamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, Herbert Davidson provides (...) a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility. (shrink)
If God is morally perfect then He must perform the morally best actions, but creating humans is not the morally best action. If this line of reasoning can be maintained then the mere fact that humans exist contradicts the claim that God exists. This is the ‘anthropic argument’. The anthropic argument, is related to, but distinct from, the traditional argument from evil. The anthropic argument forces us to consider the ‘creation question’: why did God not create other gods rather than (...) humans? That is, if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect then why didn’t He create a world populated exclusively by beings that are perfect in the same way that He is—ontological equivalents— rather than choosing to create humans with finite natures and all the suffering that this entails? (shrink)
Hans Jonas developed in ‘Past and Truth’ (1991) a demonstration of the existence of God based on the ‘truth of past things’. And in ‘The Concept of God after Auschwitz’ (1984) he created a new myth of divine self-alienation in order to take away God’s responsibility for human misery. Both these texts were conceived as an alternative to a more Hegelian, objective idealist perspective on theology. This article shows that Jonas’s alternative does not fully succeed in this respect because his (...) arguments bring him back to an idealist perspective. His proof of God is revisited and explained using new insights recently developed by Robert Spaemann, whose interpretation of the proof makes it clear that many important critics of Jonas are too quick to reject his claims. The arguments of Jonas now seem to show a new strength even though they still fail to give an alternative to an objective idealist theological framework. (shrink)
The paper offers a survey of the debate on the introduction, in the Preamble of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, of references to God and Europe’s Christian tradition. It examines the question of European identity and values which motivates these proposals in relation to (1) the nature of the EU as an essentially political construction; (2) the issue of human rights in the EU; (3) the protection of cultural and religious diversity within the EU. The study shows that (...) the confessionalization of Europe promoted by strong churches on the Continent, which are legitimate actors of civil society, betray a failure to understand the logic of the European construction. To the extent to which they represent an attempt to secure a privileged position with respect to other religious or non-religious actors, they run against the functional principles and values of the Union. (shrink)
Once it is appreciated that it is not possible for an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God to exist, the important question arises: What does exist that is closest to, and captures the best of what is in, the traditional conception of God? In this paper I set out to answer that question. The first step that needs to be taken is to sever the God-of-cosmic-power from the God-of-cosmic-value. The first is Einstein’s God, the underlying dynamic unity in the physical universe which (...) physics seeks to depict by means of a true, unified, physical “theory of everything”. Science has already achieved some theoretical knowledge of this God-of-cosmic-power. The second is what is of most value in our human world, and in the world of sentient life more generally. Having cut God in half in this way, our fundamental problem, intellectual and practical, becomes: How can the God-of-cosmic-value (as it is represented on earth at least) exist and best flourish within the God-of-cosmic-power? Or, in other words: How can what is of value associated with human life – and sentient life more generally – exist and best flourish within the physical universe? Clearly acknowledging that this is our fundamental problem, in academic inquiry, and in all that we do, might help what is of value in life to flourish rather better than it does at present. (shrink)
This cogently argued and richly illustrated book rejects the dichotomy between the God of Abraham and the God of the philosophers to argue that the two are one. In God of Abraham, one of our leading philosophers of religion shows how human values can illuminate our idea of God and how the monotheistic idea of God in turn illuminates our moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and even ritual understanding. Throughout Goodman draws on a wealth of traditional, philosophical, historical, and anthropological materials, (...) and particularly on a wide range of Jewish sources. He demonstrates how an adequate understanding of the interplay of values with monotheism dissolves many of the longstanding problems of natural theology and ethics and guides us toward a genuinely humanistic moral and social philosophy. (shrink)
This book is the fullest study in English for many years on the role of God in Spinoza's philosophy. Spinoza has been called both a 'God-intoxicated man' and an atheist, both a pioneer of secular Judaism and a bitter critic of religion. He was born a Jew but chose to live outside any religious community. He was deeply engaged both in traditional Hebrew learning and in contemporary physical science. He identified God with nature or substance: a theme which runs through (...) his work, enabling him to naturalise religion but - equally important - to divinise nature. He emerges not as a rationalist precursor of the Enlightenment but as a thinker of the highest importance in his own right, both in philosophy and in religion. (shrink)
Monotheism is usually considered Judaism's greatest contribution to world culture, but it is far from clear what monotheism is. This work examines the notion that monotheism is not so much a claim about the number of God as a claim about the nature of God. Seeskin argues that the idea of a God who is separate from his creation and unique is not just an abstraction but a suitable basis for worship. He examines this conclusion in the contexts of prayer, (...) creation, sabbath observance, repentance, religious freedom, and love of God. Maimonides plays a central role in the argument both because of his importance to Jewish self-understanding and because he deals with the question of how philosophic ideas are embodied in religious ritual. (shrink)