Robert S. Corrington has misgivings about the use of the word "naturalism" to describe his view of reality; in fact, more recently he has been using "deep pantheism" and variants.1 Nevertheless, "naturalism" remains an apt word, conjuring the creative depths of the world around us, and we should continue to use it to describe Corrington's philosophical-theological system—without unduly apologizing for its inevitably circular semantic content, and despite the risk that his view might be known by its name instead of its (...) content. The variant of naturalism for which Corrington is so well known is called (by him) ecstatic naturalism, and he has shown it to be an important version of religiously and axiologically .. (shrink)
At last someone has called a spade a spade. To think God is literally a personal being is idolatry. And when you are dead you live on not in any otherworldly place but in the goodness you offer to the world. Sadly—and I really mean this as a condemnation of theologians—this plain-speaking, spade-calling truth teller professionally identifies as a philosopher and is not recognized as a theologian. A sizeable minority of theologians agrees with this brash thinker on God and life (...) after death, of course; not all theologians are supernaturalists. But the widespread commitment among theologians to support ecclesiastical institutions and to nurture the faith of religious believers prevents most professional theologians .. (shrink)
The journey of liberal theology in the last couple of centuries is akin to the person who enters a mirror maze with high hopes of finding a graceful and quick way through. Beginning with a clear plan about how to navigate the maze, he winds up confused, disoriented, surrounded by useless self-images. He unwittingly passes through the same places over and over again, never gaining a relevant perspective for guiding decisions about where to go next. For some of these lost (...) souls, the overseer of the maze comes to the rescue, perhaps after sensing rising panic, and for the sake of public safety escorts the exhausted liberal theologian out of the maze and into the sunshine, whereafter the shattered explorer swears .. (shrink)
Abstract. Don Browning's intellectual artfulness is particularly evident in three areas: as analyst of basic assumptions in intellectual systems, as fundamental ethicist, and as mediating theologian. His work in each area has been extraordinarily fruitful, both theoretically and practically. In each area, however, his skillful handling of complex issues also has subtle limitations. This paper identifies those limitations, analyzes them as facets of an articulate but preemptive defense of a preferred theological outlook, and thus as a limited failure of Browning's (...) otherwise broadly successful implementation of a critical hermeneutical method. (shrink)
William Alston’s Theory of Appearing has attracted considerable attention in recent years, both for its elegant interpretation of direct realism in light of the presentational character of perceptual experience and for its central role in his defense of the justificatory force of Christian mystical experiences. There are different ways to account for presentational character, however, and in this article we argue that a superior interpretation of direct realism can be given by a theory of perception as dynamic engagement. The conditions (...) for dynamic engagement are such that there can be no absolute discontinuity between individual perceptual experiences and more public forms of inquiry, and this requirement has radical consequences for the prima facie justificatory force of religious experience. (shrink)
Wentzel van Huyssteen's Alone in the World? (2006) presents an interpretation of human uniqueness in the form of a dialogue between classical Christian theological affirmations and cutting-edge scientific understandings of the human and animal worlds. The sheer amount of information from different thinkers and fields that van Huyssteen absorbs and integrates makes this book extraordinary and, indeed, very rich as a work of interdisciplinary theology. The book commands respect and deserves close attention. In this essay I evaluate van Huyssteen's proposal (...) as well as the method he uses to produce it. Special attention is given to the concept of embodiment. Van Huyssteen's concept of embodiment is substantially correct in most respects and largely consistent with the scientific and theological pictures of human nature. In a few respects, however, his interpretation of the bodily character of human life appears to be insufficiently thoroughgoing relative to our best contemporary knowledge of human nature from the natural sciences. (shrink)
The plurality of models of ultimate reality is a central problem for religious philosophy. This essay sketches what is involved in mounting comparative inquiries across the plurality of models. In order to illustrate what advance would look like in such a comparative inquiry, an argument is presented to show that highly anthropomorphic models of ultimate reality are inferior to a number of competitors. This paper was delivered as a keynote address during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.