Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic—much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to (...) class='Hi'>worship properly; forced worship would be unfitting. My principal claim is that no being worthy of worship could exercise the power to make others worship it, since the act of making another worship would necessarily make one unworthy of worship. (shrink)
At first glance, the properties being omniscient and being worthy of worship might appear to be perfectly co-instantiable. (To say that some properties are co-instantiable is just to say that it is possible that some object instantiate all of them simultaneously. Being entirely red and being a ball are co-instantiable; being entirely red and being entirely blue are not). But there are reasons to be worried about this co-instantiability, as it turns out that, depending on our commitments with respect (...) to certain kinds of knowledge and notions of personhood, it might be the case that no being—God included—could instantiate both. In this paper, I lay out and motivate this claim before going on to consider a variety of responses—some more plausible than others—that may be offered by the theist. (shrink)
David Gauthier and Edward McClennen have claimed that it could be rational to form an intention to A because it maximizes utility to intend to A, and that acting on such an intention could be rational even if it maximizes utility not to A. Michael Bratman has objected to this way of thinking, claiming that it is equivalent to the familiar rule-utilitarian mistake of rule-worship. The purpose of this paper is to argue that, so long as one is aware (...) at the time of forming an intention to A that it maximizes utility not to A, then acting on that intention need not be rule worship, but the result of a rational refusal to reconsider an issue which has already been adequately considered. (shrink)
Although worship has a pivotal place in religious thought and practice, philosophers of religion have had remarkably little to say about it. In this paper we examine some of the many questions surrounding the notion of worship, focusing on the claim that human beings have obligations to worship God. We explore a number of attempts to ground our supposed duty to worship God, and argue that each is problematic. We conclude by examining the implications of this (...) result, and suggest that it might be taken to provide an argument against God's existence, since theists generally regard it is a necessary truth that we ought to worship God. (shrink)
In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we (...) have obligations to worship God. (shrink)
Although one would not have guessed it from the amount of attention that the topic has received from recent philosophers of religion, the God of theism is first and foremost a being that is worthy of worship. In the paper that forms the target of Crowe’s discussion we attempted to shed some much-needed light on worship. Our focus was not on the question of whether theists hold that human beings are obliged to..
Worship is a topic that is rarely considered by philosophers of religion. In a recent paper, Tim Bayne and Yujin Nagasawa challenge this trend by offering an analysis of worship and by considering some difficulties attendant on the claim that worship is obligatory. I argue that their case for there being these difficulties is insufficiently supported. I offer two reasons that a theist might provide for the claim that worship is obligatory: (1) a divine command, and (...) (2) the demands of justice with respect to God's redemption of humanity. I also challenge the soundness of some of the analogies they employ in their argument. (shrink)
Philosophers and social scientists have explored the ritual practices and the experience of worship, but there has been relatively little discussion of what makes something worthy of worship.However, we find a characteristically sophisticated examination of the issue by Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone episode "The Little People" (3rd Season, March 30, 1962). By considering the example of “The Little People” and a few variations, we can clarify the role power plays in making something worthy of worship. (...) The episode presents a scenario where a relative, although great, advantage in strength is not sufficient to make something worshipable. But what of far greater powers, such as that of creating the universe—is such power sufficient? If not sufficient, is great power necessary for something to be worthy of worship? Does omnipotence impart the bearer with the power to make others properly worship it? (shrink)
Christian bioethics springs from the worship that is the response of the Church to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such worship is distinctively political in nature, in that it acknowledges Christ as Lord. Because it is a political worship, it can recognize no other lords and no other prior claims on its allegiance: these include the claims of an allegedly universal ethics and politics determined from outside the Church. However the Church is called not just to be (...) a contrast society, but also to witness to the freeing of the world from salvific pretensions in order that it may embrace its proper temporality. The implications of this for the distinctiveness of Christian bioethics are brought out in three movements: first, the Church's itself learning how it is to conceive bioethics; second, the Church's role in unmasking the idols of secular bioethics; and third, the Church's witnessing to the freeing of medicine from idolatrous aspirations. (shrink)
Xenophanes claimed that God is a ball, which means that he is a perfect body. This idea is well developed in Jagannatha worship, who is a central Deity in Orissa, India. It’s a round form of Krishna, who is usually depicted in a human like form. Jagannatha, his brother Baladeva and sister Subhadra are justified as round forms because of their specific manifestation of ecstasy, that, according to aesthetical theory (rasa tattva) happened to them. Yet there are many other (...) explanations of the Jagannatha’s roundness. Round form personifies unity and diversity principle in Jagannatha worship, whose image was dear in Orissa duringlong historical period to different religious groups: Vaishnavas, Shaivaites, Jains, Buddhists and even some Muslims. Orissa also has a blending of different cultures, sub-cultures and traditions. Even now, it has 62 distinct tribal groups, that makes a largest collection of diverse tribes in a single state. As the legend goes, Jagannatha made His first appearance in the tribe of Savaras thousands of years ago. Up until now, there are cooks in the Jagannatha kitchen that are called sauviras. In worship of Jagannatha we find the model of axiological globalism, when the difference in the vision of the reality does not obscure the interior mood of wholeness, unity. (shrink)
This essay examines the suitability of poetry as a vehicle for prayer, worship and meditation. It takes two specific examples of Lenten courses based on poetry: one based on depictions of the events of Holy Week and one based on a discussion of the problem of suffering in a world created by a loving God. It also looks at the liturgical use of the arts in Holy Week services.
In this reply to Tim Bayne and Yujin Nagasawa, I defend the possibility of a maximal-excellence account of the grounding of the obligation to worship God.I do not offer my own account of the obligation to worship God; rather I argue that the major criticism (that is raised against maximal-excellence accounts) fails. Thus maximal-excellence can ground an obligation to worship God.
A free man's worship.--Mysticism and logic.--The place of science in a liberal education.--The study of mathematics.--Mathematics and the metaphysicians.--On scientific method in philosophy.--The ultimate constituents of matter.--The relation of sense-data to physics.--On the notion of cause.--Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description.
How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of the 'fellow citizens of God's people'. The book presents the first in-depth theological investigation of the phenomenon of 'political worship' by exposing the political nature of worship and the worship dimension of politics. -/- In a careful analysis of biblical and traditional conceptions of worship, Wannenwetsch demonstrates how (...) the genuine political character of worship neutralizes attempts to politicize or de-politicize it. In the imprinting of the experience of divine reconciliation on the Christian body, worship challenges the deepest antagonisms of political theory and practice: antagonisms of 'private and public', 'freedom and necessity', and 'action and contemplation'. -/- Further questions discussed include the conditions of true consensus, forgiveness as a political virtue, the accountability of political rhetoric and self-justification, how 'reversible role-taking' can avoid losing the otherness of the other, and how the rhetoric of 'responsibility' can be saved from hubris or depression. Particular practices or dimensions of worship (confession, preaching, praising, intercession, observance of holy days) are examined and their heuristic and formative potentials explored in relation to these topics. A special feature of the study is a strong ecumenical and international focus. -/- The book brings into conversation a variety of traditions (including Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox) and contemporary voices. An original contribution to Christian ethics, the book addresses systematic and practical theology as well as political theory, while indicating the essential interplay of these disciplines. (shrink)
How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of the 'fellow citizens of God's people'. The book presents the first in-depth theological investigation of the phenomenon of 'political worship' by exposing the political nature of worship and the worship dimension of politics. -/- In a careful analysis of biblical and traditional conceptions of worship, Wannenwetsch demonstrates how (...) the genuine political character of worship neutralizes attempts to politicize or de-politicize it. In the imprinting of the experience of divine reconciliation on the Christian body, worship challenges the deepest antagonisms of political theory and practice: antagonisms of 'private and public', 'freedom and necessity', and 'action and contemplation'. At the same time, the 'spill over' of worship into every sphere of life instils a healthy suspicion of post-liberal conceptualizations of role-mobility. In the experience of 'hearing in communion', an encounter with a word that does not deceive announces the end of the rule of the hermeneutics of suspicion. -/- Further questions discussed include the conditions of true consensus, forgiveness as a political virtue, `political rhetoric' between accountability and self-justification, how 'reversible role-taking' can avoid losing the otherness of the other, and how the rhetoric of 'responsibility' can be saved from hubris or depression. Particular practices or dimensions of worship (confession, preaching, praising, intercession, observance of holy days) are examined and their heuristic and formative potentials explored in relation to these topics. A special feature of the study is a strong ecumenical and international focus. -/- The book brings into conversation a variety of traditions (including Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox) and contemporary voices. An original contribution to Christian ethics, the book addresses systematic and practical theology as well as political theory, while indicating the essential interpenetration of these disciplines. (shrink)
The transfiguration reminds us that Christian worship is on the way to the cross. . . . We rise from it to resume the way to the cross in a world full of suffering. But we have seen who Jesus really is and he has shown us that we do not need to be afraid.
All of the ingredients for what has become known as Anselmian perfect being theology were present already in the thought of St. Augustine. This paper develops that thesis by calling attention to various claims Augustine makes. It then asks whether there are principled reasons for determining which properties the greatest possible being has and whether an account of what contributes to greatness can settle the question whether the greatest possible being is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and (...) Jacob. The paper develops Augustine’s answer to the first question by extracting several principles he endorses that generate a hierarchy of greatness. It addresses the second question by discussing the requirements of worship and of creation. (shrink)
The value of solidarity, which is exemplified in noble groups like the Civil Rights Movement along with more mundane teams, families and marriages, is distinctive in part because people are in solidarity over, for or with regard to something, such as common sympathies, interests, values, etc. I use this special feature of solidarity to resolve a longstanding puzzle about enacted social moral rules, which is, aren’t these things just heuristics, rules of thumb or means of coordination that we ‘fetishize’ or (...) ‘worship’ if we stubbornly insist on sticking to them when we can do more good by breaking them? I argue that when we are in a certain kind of solidarity with others, united by social moral rules that we have established among ourselves, the rules we have developed and maintain are a constitutive part of our solidary relationships with one another; and it is part of being in this sort of solidarity with our comrades that we are presumptively required to follow the social moral rules that join us together. Those in the Polish Revolution, for example, were bound by informally enforced rules about publicity, free speech and the use of violence, so following their own rules became a way of standing in a valuable sort of solidarity with one another. I explain why we can have non-instrumental reasons to follow the social moral rules that exist in our own society, improve our rules and even sometimes to break the otherwise good rules that help to unite us. (shrink)
This paper discusses archaeological, historical, and contemporary ethnographic evidence for the use of the San Pedro cactus in northern Peru as a vehicle for traveling between worlds and for imparting the “vista” (magical sight) necessary for shamanic healers to divine the cause of their patients' ailments. Using iconographic, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic evidence for the uninterrupted use of this sacred plant as a means of access to the Divine and as a tool for healing, it describes the relationship between San Pedro, (...) ancestor worship, water/fertility cults and also the common symbolic associations between San Pedro and wind-spirits. It closes by suggesting that the more than 2000 year time-depth of using this plant as a means for accessing the realms of Spirit and as a tool for healing should serve to challenge the unfortunate tendency in the contemporary United States to consider this plant as a “recreational drug.”. (shrink)
. Remarks made by Lutheran leaders in Africa indicate that the churches have not been responding to the crisis of the HIV/AIDS pandemic sufficiently. In this essay I ask how the churches would be better prepared to act and also, more broadly, how the churches act to begin with. The dialogue between religion and science can assist us with both tasks as we consider the challenge of HIV/AIDS as a focus for this dialogue. First, analysis by social scientists can uncover (...) what problems face any effort to motivate churches to actâand, for that matter, any individual member of a church group. I argue, further, that we can discover the difficulties associated with producing action by religious communities by looking not at abstract theological ideas but by investigating the way those ideas are conveyed in worship. I explore the worship patterns of Lutherans to show what sort of view is actually produced by the week-to-week messages of liturgical texts. I contend that a different approach both to worship and to action can be produced by reconsidering our views of reality as seen through the eyes of contemporary science. (shrink)
Romantic sensibility and political necessity led Humphry Davy, Britain's most prominent scientist in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, to pantheism: nature worship, involving for him a fervent belief in the immortality of the soul. Rapt with a vision of sublimity, from mountain tops or balloons, men of science in succeeding generations also found in pantheism a reason for their vocation and a way of making sense of their world. It should be seen as an alternative both to (...) active participation in church life (like Faraday's) and to a gritty agnosticism (like Huxley's), indicating again how subtle and complex relationships were between science and religion in the nineteenth century. (shrink)