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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Faith and the problem of certainty

When it comes to faith, achieving certainty does not help. If something remains clear all by itself without requiring of you any attempt to be certain, then it has properly found a long term stability. But when a person feels the need for certainty then without realizing it they merely paint themselves into a mental corner where they can no longer think honestly and openly.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

US vs. THEM; THIS vs. THAT


Religious devotion to Theology tends to divide people; however a scholarly dispassionate devotion to theology tends to unite. I think the reason for this is because religious people, without realizing it, tend to think in an “us opposed to them” mentality. In other words they tend to think in terms of “This is what WE believe and that is what THEY believe.” They then go forward to champion their own tradition.

But scholars, on the other hand are not opposed to changing their mind when the facts warrant, and scholars are usually less concerned about breaking with the pack when the facts require it. In deed in many scholarly circles it is considered a real accomplishment if you can formulate a different insight and win over those of a former view with the facts. So they tend to be more open to changes in perspectives, and open to entire paradigm shifts when warranted.

Einstein was considered a kook at first; traditional views of physics were well accepted. What he proposed would change everything. He was actually black listed for a while and could not obtain a teaching position because of his non standard views. Fortunately for him, the world of physics was approaching a brick wall and when they hit it, so to speak, Einstein’s views that he had published were reconsidered. The rest is history and today physics has moved well beyond where Einstein brought it.

But such changes have yet to really become the norm for theists. People of faith still tend to be overly focused on “US VERSUS THEM” even when they do not realize that is what they are doing.

One of the reasons I like being a part of the New Covenant Group is that they want to give voice to all points of view and want to face all the questions without creating barriers as much as possible. When we discuss theology we are not interested so much in the US VERSUS THEM mentality, we want to pursue the THIS VERSUS THAT mentality.

When dealing with people who have different opinions about God, Jesus, the bible and such things, we do not believe that THEY are the enemy. If there are any problems those problems are not in THEM or in US, those problems are in THIS or THAT.

If you are trying to make more sense of Christian thought, I would encourage you to reconsider if you are operating on an “US VERSUS THEM” modality or a “THIS VERSUS THAT” modality.