Coming into the 21st century, Korean religious (Christian) societies seem to lose the hope for social transformation. There are few voices to speak out for the common good especially on behalf of the helpless people. Prevailing is a relativist social ethic, which is ironically based on absolutist understandings of religious beliefs, that each social group deserves its own share, and any request for an ultimate ethical calling sounds obtrusive and extravagant. This is one of the worst aspects in our contemporary (...) religious ethics. This paper suggests that the legacy of the Korean minjungtheology be reconsidered seriously in order to overcome the present predicament of religious social ethics. With a specific hermeneutic eye of minjungcentrism, we could establish a postmodern religious responsibility that avoids both relativism and absolutism and yet encourages an absolute calling for justice and liberation in the midst of historical relativity. (shrink)
This paper attempts to reinterpret the idea of minjung messiah, a major doctrine of Korean minjungtheology, in order to reveal its nondualistic understanding of Christian eschatology, by using process non-substantialist metaphysics. In a dialogue with process panentheism, minjungtheology gets philosophical languages to articulate its organic ideas of the relationships between historical liberation and eschatological salvation, minjung’s self-transcendence and divine providence, and history and the Kingdom of God.
One not infrequently hears rumors that the robust practice of natural theology reeks of epistemic pride. Paul Moser’s is a paradigm of such contempt. In this paper we defend the robust practice of natural theology from the charge of epistemic pride. In taking an essentially Thomistic approach, we argue that the evidence of natural theology should be understood as a species of God’s general self-revelation. Thus, an honest assessment of that evidence need not be prideful, but can (...) be an act of epistemic humility, receiving what God has offered, answering God’s call. Lastly, we provide criticisms of Moser’s alternative approach, advancing a variety of philosophical and theological problems against his conception of personifying evidence. (shrink)
Analytic theology is often seen as an outgrowth of analytic philosophy of religion. It isn’t fully clear, however, whether it differs from analytic philosophy of religion in some important way. Is analytic theology really just a sub-field of analytic philosophy of religion, or can it be distinguished from the latter in virtue of fundamental differences at the level of subject matter or metholodology? These are pressing questions for the burgeoning field of analytic theology. The aim of this (...) article, then, will be to map out several forms that analytic theology might (and in some cases actually does) take before examining the extent to which each can be thought to be distinct from analytic philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This paper explores the “cultural-linguistic” dimensions of Hans Frei’s theology. I make the case that several of the pragmatic and sociological concerns usually identified as distinctive marks of Frei’s later theology of the 1980s are, in fact, central to his work as far back as the early 1960s. Moreover, I demonstrate that such “cultural-linguistic” insights present important continuous threads in the development of his theology from early to late. Attending to this dimension illuminates the trajectory of Frei’s (...) thinking as consistently Wittgensteinian in sensibility, and deeply indebted to his career-long conversation with Karl Barth’s theology. If successful, this reading should clarify the ways in which Frei’s early work is more innovative, and his later work less derivative, than is often recognized. (shrink)
In this chapter, I hope to show, by referring to two specific literary examples, that works of literature can demonstrate the possibility of Natural Theology and can prompt their readers’ thinking along Natural Theological lines by allowing them to have experiences which mirror the structure of those dealt with by Natural Theology.
In this article I offer an extended, critical review of the analytic theology project. In the first part of the article, I investigate the origins and rise of analytic theology. I also offer some initial insights into the nature of analytic theology, based on some of what its chief proponents understand analytic theology to be. In the second part of the article, I summarize and evaluate some of the major contributions that already have been made within (...) analytic theology. In the third and final section of the article, I evaluate the analytic theology project as a whole, testing its compatibility with certain methods and movements within the Christian theological tradition. Based on this discussion, I then begin to narrate the advantages of construing analytic theology more narrowly, as a dogmatic project committed to articulating and defending Christian doctrine in rational pursuit of genuine theological knowledge and truth. My final claim is that analytic theologians should continue to engage in bold, speculative inquiry into the nature of the divine as well as related divine matters, and thus remain committed to developing and defending theology as a dogmatic and speculative enterprise. By doing so, analytic theologians will help fortify and elevate the contemporary theological enterprise as a whole. (shrink)
This volume collects for the first time in a single volume all of Kant's writings on religion and rational theology. These works were written during a period of conflict between Kant and the Prussian authorities over his religious teachings. His final statement of religion was made after the death of King Frederick William II in 1797. The historical context and progression of this conflict are charted in the general introduction to the volume and in the translators' introductions to particular (...) texts. All the translations are new with the exception of The Conflict of the Faculties, where the translation has been revised and re-edited to conform to the guidelines of the Cambridge Edition. As is standard with all the volumes in this edition, there are copious linguistic and explanatory notes, and a glossary of key terms. (shrink)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and (...) Johan De Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
We argue there is a deep conflict in Paul Moser’s work on divine hiddenness. Moser’s treatment of DH adopts a thesis we call SEEK: DH often results from failing to seek God on His terms. One way in which people err, according to Moser, is by trusting arguments of traditional natural theology to lead to filial knowledge of God. We argue that Moser’s SEEK thesis commits him to the counterfactual ACCESS: had the atheist sought after God in harmony with (...) how God reveals himself, she would have had access to filial knowledge of God. By failing to incorporate arguments or propositional evidence for God’s existence, Moser’s account leaves the doubting seeker without any evidential reason to think that either SEEK or ACCESS is true. Without this rational motivation in place, the doubting seeker is unlikely to seek after God in the way ACCESS describes. We argue that natural theology provides an evidential epistemic aid to motivate persons to seek God the way ACCESS describes. Thus, Moser is mistaken. Such arguments can be evidentially helpful in coming to know God. In conclusion, we explain how our reply naturally fits how we form and maintain trusting interpersonal relationships with others. (shrink)
A concept of Pagan Theology has been producing a number of discussions throughout the last decade and particularly in the last few years both inside and outside Pagan community. In this paper, the author analyzes three aspects of the phenomenon of Pagan Theology and discussions emerged around it. The first aspect is the genesis of the idea of Pagan Theology. It includes an examination of academic and religious roots of this research programme. The second aspect is a (...) view on Pagan Theology from the perspective of the academia. While for some scholars Pagan Theology appears to be a legitimate field of study and/or research programme in Pagan Studies, others describe it is an attempt of Pagan intervention in the academia. Finally, the third aspect is a discussion on Pagan Theology emerged among Pagans, whose reflections of this topic are very ambiguous too. In spite of this fact, the author concludes that the idea of Pagan Theology was a necessary stage of development, both in the conceptualization of contemporary Paganism itself and in Pagan Studies at the same time. (shrink)
Natural theology's name can be misleading, for it sounds like what is being done is a kind of theology, not philosophy. But natural theology is better understood to be primarily philosophical rather than theological for it is, most generally, the ...
Robert Merrihew Adams has been a leader in renewing philosophical respect for the idea that moral obligation may be founded on the commands of God. This collection of Adams' essays, two of which are previously unpublished, draws from his extensive writings on philosophical theology that discuss metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues surrounding the concept of God--whether God exists or not, what God is or would be like, and how we ought to relate ourselves to such a being. Adams studies (...) the relation between religion and ethics, delving into an analysis of moral arguments for theistic belief. In several essays, he applies contemporary studies in the metaphysics of individuality, possibility and necessity, and counterfactual conditionals to issues surrounding the existence of God and problems of evil. (shrink)
Radical Orthodoxy is a new wave of theological thinking that seeks to re-inject the modern world with theology. The group of theologians associated with Radical Orthodoxy are dissatisfied with conteporary theolgical responses to both modernity and postmodernity Radical Orthodoxy is a collection that aims to reclaim the world by situating its concerns and activities within a theological framework. By mapping the new theology against a range of areas where modernity has failed, these essays offer us way out of (...) the impasses that postmodernity represents. (shrink)
I display the historical roots of perfect being theology in Greco-Roman philosophy, and the distinctive reasons for Christians to take up a version of this project. I also rebut a recent argument that perfect-being reasoning should lead one to atheism.
This paper examines the cognitive foundations of natural theology: the intuitions that provide the raw materials for religious arguments, and the social context in which they are defended or challenged. We show that the premises on which natural theological arguments are based rely on intuitions that emerge early in development, and that underlie our expectations for everyday situations, e.g., about how causation works, or how design is recognized. In spite of the universality of these intuitions, the cogency of natural (...) theological arguments remains a matter of continued debate. To understand why they are controversial, we draw on social theories of reasoning and argumentation. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to provide a broad overview and analysis of the evolution of natural theology in response to influential critiques raised against it. I identify eight main lines of critique against natural theology, and analyze how the defenders of different types of natural theology differ in their responses to these critiques, leading into several very different forms of natural theology. Based on the amount and quality of discussion that exists, I argue that (...) simply referring to the critiques of Hume, Kant, Darwin, and Barth should no longer be regarded as sufficient to settle the debate over natural theology. (shrink)
This article examines Martin Luther’s view of Natural theology and natural knowledge of God. Luther research has often taken a negative stance towards a possibility of Natural theology in Luther’s thought. I argue, that one actually finds from Luther’s texts a limited area of the natural knowledge of God. This knowledge pertains to the existence of God as necessary and as Creator, but not to what God is concretely. Luther appears to think that the natural knowledge of God (...) is limited because of the relation between God and the Universe only one side is known by natural capacities. Scholastic Theology built on Aristotelianism errs, according to Luther, when it uses created reality as the paradigm for thinking about God. Direct experiential knowledge of the divinity, given by faith, is required to comprehend the divine being. Luther’s criticism of Natural theology, however, does not appear to rise from a general rejection of metaphysics, but from that Luther follows certain ideas of Medieval Augustinian Platonism, such as a stark ontological differentiation between finite and infinite things, as well as the idea of divine uniting contradictions. Thus the conflict between faith and reason on Luther seems to be explicable at least in part as a conflict between two different ontological systems, which follow different paradigms of rationality. (shrink)
This is an analysis of the interpretation of Christian theology that is found in G. W. F. Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion. Hodgson argues that these lectures are among the most valuable resources from the nineteenth century for theology as it faces the challenges of modernity and postmodernity. The author is also editing and translating the critical edition of the lectures, which are being published concurrently by Oxford University Press.
Philosophical theology is aimed primarily at theoretical understanding of the nature and attributes of God and of God's relationship to the world and its inhabitants. During the twentieth century, much of the philosophical community had grave doubts about our ability to attain any such understanding. In recent years the analytic tradition in particular has moved beyond the biases that placed obstacles in the way of the pursuing questions located on the interface of philosophy and religion. The result has been (...) a rebirth of serious, widely-discussed work in philosophical theology. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology attempts both to familiarize readers with the directions in which this scholarship has gone and to pursue the discussion into hitherto under-examined areas. Written by some of the leading scholars in the field, the essays in the Handbook are grouped in five sections. In the first, articles focus on the authority of scripture and tradition, on the nature and mechanisms of divine revelation, on the relation between religion and science, and on theology and mystery. The next section focuses on philosophical problems connected with the central divine attributes: aseity, omnipotence, omniscience, and the like. In Section Three, essays explore theories of divine action and divine providence, questions about petitionary prayer, problems about divine authority and God's relationship to morality and moral standards, and various formulations of and responses to the problem of evil. The fourth section examines philosophical problems that arise in connection with such central Christian doctrines as the trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, original sin, resurrection, and the Eucharist. Finally, Section Five introduces readers to work that is being done in Jewish, Islamic, and Chinese philosophical theology. (shrink)
This book is the culmination of Heinrich Meier's acclaimed analyses of the controversial thought of Carl Schmitt. Meier identifies the core of Schmitt's thought as political theology--that is, political theorizing that claims to have its ultimate ground in the revelation of a mysterious or supra-rational God. This radical, but half-hidden, theological foundation unifies the whole of Schmitt's often difficult and complex oeuvre, cutting through the intentional deceptions and unintentional obfuscations that have eluded previous commentators. Relating this religious dimension to (...) Schmitt's support for National Socialism and his continuing anti-Semitism, Meier compels the reader to come to terms with the irreconcilable differences between political theology and political philosophy. His book will give pause to those who have tended to gloss over the troubling aspects of some of Schmitt's ideas. With editions in German, French, Italian, and now English, Meier's two books on Schmitt have dramatically reoriented the international debate about Carl Schmitt and his significance for twentieth-century political thought. "Standing far above the rest . . . is Heinrich Meier's new study, Die Lehre Carl Schmitts , which covers all of Schmitt's writings. . . . Meier's work has forced everyone to take a second look at the assumptions underlying Schmitt's better-known writings and reconsider some that have been ignored."--Mark Lilla, reviewing the German edition in The New York Review of Books. (shrink)
This article approaches Judaism through Rabbi Bradley S. Artson’s book, God of Becoming and Relationships: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology. It explores his understanding of how Jewish theology should and does cohere with central features of both process theology and Robert S. Hartman’s formal axiology. These include the axiological/process concept of God, the intrinsic value and valuation of God and unique human beings, and Jewish extrinsic and systemic values, value combinations, and value rankings.
Nihilism is the logic of nothing as something, which claims that Nothing Is. Its unmaking of things, and its forming of formless things, strain the fundamental terms of existence: what it is to be, to know, to be known. But nihilism, the antithesis of God, is also like theology. Where nihilism creates nothingness, condenses it to substance, God also makes nothingness creative. Negotiating the borders of spirit and substance, theology can ask the questions of nihilism that other disciplines (...) do not ask: Where is it? What is it made of? Why is it so destructive? How can it be made holy, or overcome? Genealogy of Nihilism rereads Western history in the light of nihilistic logic, which pervades two millennia of Western thought and is coming to fruition in our present age in a virulently dangerous manner. From Parmenides to Alain Badiou, via Plotinus, Avicenna, Duns Scotus, Ockham, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze and Derrida, a genealogy of nothingness can be witnessed in development, with devastating consequences for the way we live. Conor Cunningham's elaborate and sophisticated theology, spanning the disciplines of philosophy, science and popular culture, permits us to see not simply how modernity has formulated its philosophies of nothing, but how these philosophies might be transfigures by the crucial difference theology makes, and so be reconcilable with life and the living - with the very gift which being is. (shrink)
The paper proposes a novel understanding of how Aristotle’s theoretical works complement each other in such a way as to form a genuine system, and this with the immediate (and ostensibly central) aim of addressing a longstanding question regarding Aristotle’s ‘first philosophy’—namely, is Aristotle’s first philosophy a contribution to theology, or to the science of being in general? Aristotle himself seems to suggest that it is in some ways both, but how this can be is a very difficult question. (...) My answer is in some respects a version of one that goes back at least to the middle ages—i.e., that first philosophy is concerned with the gods (and to that extent offers a theology) because the gods are causes and principles of beings precisely insofar as they are beings. The more original aspect of my position lies in my claim that the sort of tension found in the Metaphysics is likewise to be found in many of Aristotle’s physical works. Thus, for example, the De caelo is (I argue) concerned generally with natural beings (= beings susceptible of change), but its discussions are focused largely on the heavenly bodies and the Aristotelian elements insofar as they admit of change with respect to place. Here I claim that the particular objects of discussion are dealt with precisely because they are causes and principles of natural beings as such. Something similar goes, I claim, for the De generatione et corruptione, the general concern of which is a particular species of natural being—i.e., natural beings susceptible of generation and corruption. In this way, I argue, Aristotle successively deals in his theoretical works with those causes and principles of (say) a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a natural being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a perishable natural being, and so on for the lower genera under which the species horse is subsumed. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Introduction: what is remythologizing?; Part I. 'God' in Scripture and Theology: 1. Biblical representation (Vorstellung): divine communicative action and passion; 2. Theological conceptualization (Begriff): varieties of theism and panentheism; 3. The new kenotic-perichoretic relational ontotheology: some 'classical' concerns; Part II. Communicative Theism and the Triune God: 4. God's being is in communicating; 5. God in three persons: the one who lights and lives in love; Part III. God and World: Authorial Action and Interaction: 6. (...) Divine author and human hero in dialogical relation; 7. Divine communicative sovereignty and human freedom: the hero talks back; 8. Impassible passion? Suffering, emotions, and the crucified God; 9. Impassible compassion? From divine pathos to divine patience; Conclusion: always remythologizing? Answering to the Holy author in our midst; Select bibliography; Index of scriptural references; General index. (shrink)
According to Richard Gelwick, one of the fundamental implications of Polanyi’s epistemology is that all intellectual disciplines are inherently heuristic. This article draws out the implications of a heuristic vision of theology latent in Polanyi’s thought by placing contemporary theologian David Brown’s dynamic understanding of tradition, imagination, and revelation in the context of a Polanyian-inspired vision of reality. Consequently, such a theology will follow the example of science, reimagining its task as one of discovery rather than mere reflection (...) on a timeless body of divine revelation. The ongoing development of a theological tradition thus involves the attempt to bring one’s understanding of the question of God to bear on the whole of the human experience. The pursuit of theology as a heuristic endeavor is a bold attempt to construct an integrated vision of nothing less than the entirety of all that is, without absolutizing one’s vision, and without giving up on the question of truth. (shrink)
Semën Frank (1877–1950) considered the Universe as the “all-unity.” According to him, everything is a part of the all-unity, which has a divine character. God is present in the world, but his nature is incomprehensible. In this article I analyze two consequences of Frank’s panentheistic view of the relation between science and theology. Firstly, the limits of scientific knowledge allow recognition of the mystery of the world and the transcendence of God. Secondly, Frank claimed that nature is a “trace” (...) of God and the manifestation of the absolute reality, i.e. the all-unity. As a result, both science and theology lead to the knowledge of God, although we cannot understand His essence. (shrink)
Philosophy in the English-speaking world is dominated by analytic approaches to its problems and projects; but theology has been dominated by alternative approaches. Many would say that the current state in theology is not mere historical accident, but is, rather, how things ought to be. On the other hand, many others would say precisely the opposite: that theology as a discipline has been beguiled and taken captive by 'continental' approaches, and that the effects on the discipline have (...) been largely deleterious. The methodological divide between systematic theologians and analytic philosophers of religion is ripe for exploration. The present volume represents an attempt to begin a much-needed interdisciplinary conversation about the value of analytic philosophical approaches to theological topics. Most of the essays herein are sympathetic toward the enterprise the editors are calling analytic theology; but, with an eye toward balance, the volume also includes essays and an introduction that try to offer more critical perspectives on analytic theology. (shrink)
Over the past sixty years, within the analytic tradition of philosophy, there has been a significant revival of interest in the philosophy of religion. More recently, philosophers of religion have turned in a more self-consciously interdisciplinary direction, with special focus on topics that have traditionally been the provenance of systematic theologians in the Christian tradition. The present volumes Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology, volumes 1 and 2 aim to bring together some of the most important essays on six central (...) topics in recent philosophical theology. Volume 1 collects essays on three distinctively Christian doctrines: trinity, incarnation, and atonement. Volume 2 focuses on three topics that arise in all of the major theistic religions: providence, resurrection, and scripture. (shrink)
My primary aims in this paper are to give an overview of a recent movement which goes by the name of ‘analytic theology’, to locate that movement within the larger context of contemporary philosophy of religion, and to identify some of the weakness or objections that analytic theology will need to address moving forward. While I think that some of these objections have merit, I also think that the promise of analytic theology’s contribution to theology more (...) broadly is, in my view, sufficiently robust that we should continue to engage in it as a theological enterprise. (shrink)
In this paper I aim at explaining how analytic philosophical theology developed into a thriving field of research. In doing so, I place analytic philosophical theology into a larger intellectually narrative that is deeply influenced by the philosophy of Enlightenment. This larger framework shows that analytic philosophical theology aims at providing answers to concerns raised by a philosophical tradition that shaped fundamentally the making of our modern Western secular world.
This article suggests that second-wave feminist theology between around 1968 and 1995 undertook the quintessentially religious and task of theology, which is to break its own idols. Idoloclasm was the dynamic of Jewish and Christian feminist theological reformism and the means by which to clear a way back into its own tradition. Idoloclasm brought together an inter-religious coalition of feminists who believed that idolatry is not one of the pitfalls of patriarchy but its symptom and cause, not a (...) subspecies of sin but the primary sin of alienated relationship. The first moment of feminist theology’s criticism of patriarchal power is not that it is socially unjust, but that it has licence to be unjust because it is idolatrous. Yet, neither opponents of feminist theology who dismiss it on the grounds that it is a secular import into the tradition, nor feminist students of theology and religion, have paid sufficient attention to feminist theology’s counter-idolatrous turn as the religious ground of women’s liberation. Here, the freedom and becoming of women is dependent on the liberation of the religious imagination from captivity to a trinity of idols: the patriarchal god called God who is no more than an inference from the political dispensation that created him; the idol of the masculine that created God in his own image and the idol of the feminine worshipped as an ideational object of desire only as the subordinated complement of the masculine and as a false image that becomes a substitute for the real, finite women whose agency and will it supplants. (shrink)
The economic theory of the consumer, which assumes individual satisfaction as its goal and individual freedom to pursue satisfaction as its sine qua non, has become an important ideological element in political economy. Some have argued that the political dimension of economics has evolved into a kind of “secular theology” that legitimates free market capitalism, which has become a kind of “religion” in the United States [Nelson: 1991, Reaching for Heaven on Earth: The Theological Meaning of Economics. (Rowman & (...) Littlefield Publishers, Inc, Savage, Maryland); 2001, Economics as Religion: From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond (The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania); Thurow: 1983, Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics (Random House, New York); Milbank: 1990, Theology and Social Theory, Beyond Secular Reason (Basil Blackwell, Cambridge, Massachusetts)]. Consumer theory in its ideological form provides an important base for this religion and is no longer merely a positive framework for understanding consumer choice or estimating market demand. The paper explores the view of the human being, the “anthropology,” that is implicit in the economic theory of the consumer and compares its “theological” implications with the corresponding theological anthropologies in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The paper outlines the assumptions of consumer theory and then focuses on three aspects of the theory from a critical theological perspective: the individual in community, property ownership, and human destiny (or “eschatology” in theological terminology). The principal conclusion is that consumer theory, viewed from this perspective, leads to a reductionist and existentially harmful view of human beings. The maximization of individual satisfaction raises genuine ethical issues when viewed as a political and religious value. The paper argues that the issues could be ameliorated if economists would include more explicit treatment of a social dimension and ethical alternatives in consumer theory and if theologians would give greater attention to economic theory. (shrink)
The London suicide bombings of July 7, 2005 were partly the revolt of moral earnestness against a liberal society that, enchanted by the fantasy of rationalist anthropology, surrenders its passionate members to a degrading consumerism. The "humane" liberalism variously espoused by Jürgen Habermas, John Rawls, and Jeffrey Stout offers a dignifying alternative; but it is fragile, and each of its proponents looks for allies among certain kinds of religious believer. Stanley Hauerwas, however, counsels Christians against cooperation. On the one hand, (...) he is right to resist, insofar as liberalism illiberally excludes theology from public discourse. On the other hand, not all humane liberalism does this: Stout's, for example, is genuinely polyglot, requiring not a common secularist language but a common ethic of communicating. Such a liberal ethic and its attendant anthropology merit the support of Christians: there may be more to be said about the Kingdom of God than respect, tolerance, and fairness, but there will not be less. The Christian has good theological reasons to expect some concord with other inhabitants of secular space. Ethical distinctiveness is no measure of theological integrity; and neither theology ( pace Barth) nor biblical narrative ( pace Richard Hays) should be expected to do all of the ethical running. If Christians are to be thorough in their moral theology and intelligible in their public statements, then they must borrow non-theological material, formulate abstract concepts, and engage in casuistical analysis. Nevertheless, if an anxious insistence on distinctiveness is a mistake, concern for theological integrity is not. When the moral theologian borrows ethical material from elsewhere, he should integrate it into a theological vision structured by the Christian salvation-historical narrative, which will sometimes modify the meaning of what is incorporated. So in affirming humane, polyglot liberalism, the moral theologian will at the same time make salutary qualifications. One of these is the assertion of the need of liberal institutions to own and promote their moral and anthropological commitments. In such a confessionally liberal society, universities in general, and the Arts and Humanities in particular, would recover their vocation to form citizens in communicative virtues and to offer them a dignifying, morally serious vision of human being that could save future generations from a degrading consumerism on the one hand and violent over-reaction on the other. (shrink)
Norman Kretzmann expounds and criticizes Aquinas's theology of creation, which is `natural' in that Aquinas developed it without depending on the data of Scripture. Because of the special importance of intellective creatures like us, Aquinas's account of the divine origin and organization of the universe includes essential ingredients of his philosophy of mind. The Metaphysics of Creation is a continuation of the project Kretzmann began in The Metaphysics of Theism; as before, he not only explains Aquinas's natural theology, (...) but advocates it as the best available to us. (shrink)
A remarkable but little studied aspect of current evolutionary theory is the use by many biologists and philosophers of theological arguments for evolution. These can be classed under two heads: imperfection arguments, in which some organic design is held to be inconsistent with God's perfection and wisdom, and homology arguments, in which some pattern of similarity is held to be inconsistent with God's freedom as an artificer. Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might (...) expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution. (shrink)
In one of its most urgent folds, Catherine Keller's Cloud of the Impossible juxtaposes negative theology with relational theology for the sake of thinking constructively about today's global climate of religious conflict and ecological upheaval. The tension between these two theological approaches reflects her desire to unsay past harmful theological speech but also to speak into the present silences about the possibility of a future that is not only to be feared. Suffusing Keller's Cloud is the related possibility (...) of living out one's life in conversation with a religious tradition having accepted the nonknowing character of its wisdom. Here, I develop the notion of “hypothetical faith” as an epistemic posture that commits itself to some particular religious tradition even as it acknowledges the unverifiability of that tradition's deepest truths. Understood as operating at the opposite end of the testability spectrum from science, religion-as-hypothesis provides a way of saying and unsaying one's tradition at the same time. (shrink)
This article tells the story of Christian natural theology from the late 18th century to our own time by locating the key moments and thinkers, who have shaped how natural theology has been practiced in the past and how it is now being re-assessed and developed. I will summarize certain key elements that unite all forms of natural theology and assess briefly two basic criticisms of natural theology.
Karl Rahner is one of the great theologians of the twentieth century, known for his systematic, foundationalist approach. This bold and original book explores the relationship between his theology and his philosophy, and argues for the possibility of a nonfoundationalist reading of Rahner. Karen Kilby calls into question both the admiration of Rahner's disciples for the overarching unity of his though, and the too easy dismissals of critics who object to his "flawed philosophical starting point" or to his supposedly (...) modern and liberal appeal to experience. Through a lucid and critical exposition of key texts including Spirit in the World and Hearer of the Word , and of themes such as the Vorgriff auf esse , the supernatural existential and the anonymous Christian, Karen Kilby reaffirms Rahner's significance for modern theology and offers a clear exposition of his thought. (shrink)
By the time Hobbes wrote Leviathan, he was a theist, but not in the sense presumed by either side of the present-day debate concerning the sincerity of his professed theism. On the one hand, Hobbes’s expressed theology was neither merely deistic, nor confined to natural theology: the Hobbesian God is not merely a first mover, but a person who counsels, commands, and threatens. On the other hand, the Hobbesian God’s existence depends on being constructed artificially by human convention. (...) The Hobbesian God is not a natural person; he exists as a person only insofar as he is by fiction represented. Like the state and pagan gods, he is an artificial person by fiction. The upshot is that Hobbes was a sincere theist and that his seventeenth-century critics were right to think that, in their sense, he was an atheist: he did not steadfastly believe in an independently existing deity who precedes human convention. Hobbes was agnostic on this question. He nevertheless believed that God is brought into being as an artificial person. This ‘personal theology’ not only involved a heretical interpretation of the Trinity, it also came to play a significant role in his moral and political philosophy. (shrink)
This paper examines a remarkable document that has escaped critical attention within the vast literature on John Rawls, religion, and liberalism: Rawls's undergraduate thesis, "A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: An Interpretation Based on the Concept of Community" (1942). The thesis shows the extent to which a once regnant version of Protestant theology has retreated into seminaries and divinity schools where it now also meets resistance. Ironically, the young Rawls rejected social contract liberalism for reasons (...) that anticipate many of the claims later made against him by secular and religious critics. The thesis and Rawls's late unpublished remarks on religion and World War II offer a new dimension to his intellectual biography. They show the significance of his humanist response to the moral impossibility of political theology. Moreover, they also reveal a kind of Rawlsian piety marginalized by contemporary debates over religion and liberalism. (shrink)
Which Trinity? : the doctrine of the Trinity -- In contemporary philosophical theology -- Whose monotheism? : Jesus and his Abba -- Doctrine and analysis -- "Whoever raised Jesus from the dead" : Robert Jenson on the identity of the Triune God -- Moltmann's perichoresis : either too much or not enough -- "Eternal functional subordination" : considering a recent evangelical proposal -- Holy love and divine aseity in the theology of John Zizioulas -- Moving forward : theses (...) on the future of Trinitarian theology. (shrink)
In A Third Window Robert Ulanowicz exposes the explanatory weaknesses of both classical and statistical methods in scientific inquiry. His book, however, does much more than that. While being completely grounded in empirical science, it also outlines a worldview, or a metaphysics, that renders intelligible the fact of chance and emergent novelty. Ulanowicz establishes his position by comparing his third window onto nature with two others conventional scientific approaches. The purpose of this essay is to point out the value of (...) Ulanowicz’s approach for improving the quality of conversation between science and theology. (shrink)