The Diseased Imaginings of a Tainted Mind
Reading a document I came across this line. It follows on from a debate that suggests that nothing in our faith(as opposed to religion) can be proved empirically, and that this leads us all to make value-judgements based on our understanding of our faith. There is often a core of belief that we have chosen to be of the utmost importance, and that there are things on the edges of our own personal faith that we are, in a sense, agnostic about. We accept them, but our faith does not live and die by them.
This is one of those problems that’s been bugging me since I began reading a blog post about why, theologically, we _need_ a literal Adam. Annoyingly I couldn’t find the blog post again in order to take the points individually, but the general debate is based on the problem outline by Peter Enns in a blog post about his new book.
The problem seems to be that without Adam, Sin looses it’s force. It’s something that is not transmitted to everyone in a physical way. Of course, for this idea, we have to thank Augustine, and the way in which he approached and outline the concept of Original Sin.
I have, elsewhere, spoken about how I find the concept of Original Sin as expounded by Augustine unhelpful,and in the modern world incomplete. It was only when confronted, theologically, with the idea that Evolution that I began to explore what this implication truly means.
For me, of course, Evolution doesn’t pose a theological problem in that way, and I hadn’t really explored what problems others had with evolution. It seems to be that the reason why some people deny, or have difficulties accepting Evolution is that it means that their understanding of Sin falls down without Adam.
This article is quite an interesting one for me, touching as it does on so many parts of my own personal interest. I don’t have time to write a full description of it, so you will just have to read it yourselves.
*Another Take on the Flood Story in Genesis*
For a long time, the story of the flood in Genesis has been a source of theological problems for most theologians. On the face of it, it essentially shows God getting annoyed with the world, and drowning them en-masse apart from Noah and his family.
I’ve been wrestling with this passage, trying to see what it is that it has to tell us, in light of what we know about God, and what we know about context.
Today, the 20th of July, 2012, a group of three experts have delivered a report to the Church In Wales that is full of over 50 recommendations on how the Church In Wales can modernise itself in order to survive for the future.
The Report can be found here
As a Priest, newly ordained in the Church In Wales, this document is of special interest to me. I have therefore taken precious time out of my day in order to spend some time reading it, because it is important.
I am technically a pacifist.
Technically. I believe that resorting to violence means that you have lost. I see no reason to own a gun. I see no reason to carry a knife, even when I felt threatened. The most I have ever felt the need to learn to protect myself was Choi Kwang Do in my late teens, and then it was for defense. Then again, I am lucky. I live in a country that is stable, that is peaceful. The most that I can expect to happen to me (statistically) is to be mugged, or have my house robbed. Given my nature, I may suffer ill at the hands of another as I try to intervene to save someone else (indeed, I have done in the past).
It is easy to be a pacifist when your beliefs are not tested.
Breaking with tradition, I’m uploading my sermon about the nationals now. This is a draft but may very well remain unchanged, depending on the time that I have.
The readings for this sermon are :
Acts 3:12-19, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36-48
29. ‘A brother, being tempted by a demon, went to a hermit and said
‘Those two monks over there who live together live sinfully’. But
the hermit knew that a demon was deceiving him. So he called
the brothers to him. In the evening he put out a mat for them,
and covered them with a single blanket, and said, ‘They are sons
of God, and holy persons.’ But he said to his disciple, ‘Shut this
slandering brother up in a cell by himself; his is suffering from
the passion of which he accuses them.’
Source : Ward, Benedicta: The Desert Fathers London: Penguin Classics, 2003, p. 43
A response based on the reading of this article.
An interesting piece which strikes a chord for me as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time discussing theology with people. I was happily nodding along in agreement with it, much of the actions is something that I see in others (of course never in myself, oh no), and then I came to point 7.
7. Be perpetually non-committal: Be in fear of what others will think. Be in fear of being offensive. Call it grace, call it tolerance, call it whatever, but don’t ever take any definite stand. In every situation be timid, walk on theological eggshells, and never, ever, ever act as if your view is the right view to the exclusion of others. Qualify everything you say with, “this is just my opinion” or, “to me…”
Dear People who use “Christians think/say/believe”,
Can you please, please, please cite your source? It’s getting both boring, and tiresome to not only have to correct you repeatedly, but to also have to ask you “Where did you hear that?” or, “Who told you that?”, or say “Do we now?”.
I know that there is a current media image about what Christians Believe and it’s not really helped by some some people, however, please be aware that Christianity is a belief that is made up of denominations. Tarring everyone with the same brush is much like saying Everyone in the West Believes or Everyone in Russia thinks. It is both inaccurate, and factually incorrect. Being as most of these articles seem to come from people who claim that they are basing whatever anti-Christian/anti-faith rant on the line in question, it would be useful for the rest of the world if you could actual verify your facts about Christianity to the point where you named a denomination.
Random question. Would a clone suffer from “Original Sin” Also, byextension, would it have a soul? – A Question I was asked by a friend. My Answer is below.Random question. Would a clone suffer from “Original Sin” Also, byextension, would it have a soul?
An interesting question. One I quess that by the time I’ve answered this, your going to wish you hadn’t asked.
First, we need to define “Original Sin”. To do that, I’m going to make a few assumptions. The first is that your talking about the popular understanding of “Original Sin”. This is the one that is taken primarily from the thought of St. Augustine. This is taking to assume that Original Sin begins with what is known as the “fall”narrative in Genesis 2:8-3:28, and talks about Eve being convinced by a snake to eat a piece of fruit from the tree. This brings about the loss of intimacy with God (they are thrown out of the Garden), and they are made to toil and suffer, and of course, death enters the world. St. Augustine explored this and found that it was through intercourse that the Man passed the “stain” of Original Sin onto his offspring. St. Augustine believed that sexual desire was “bad”,like many Christians of his time, but his influence is one that Christianity has struggled to throw off.
The Secular Society And Me
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Secular Society this morning. Mostly off the back of the rising insanity that comes from having a Conservative government, which is only to be expected. Thankfully, in the UK, it is only moderate insanity, and we only get things like Erik Pickles trying to make prayer before a council meeting legal, but that is actually by-the-by to what I want to think about.
I have been reading a book on Babylonian and Assyrian Myths and Ledgends, and they have sparked some interesting theological links. I thought that it would be best to make some small posts as I went through the book, so that I didn’t forget the ideas.
When Abraham left the city of Ur and struct out on his own there is much of that culture that may have come with him from the native religion of Babylonia. Nannar was the chief God of Ur, a moon God, who’s names are given as “the lord and prince of the gods, supreme in heaven, the Father of All”. A very similar list of names to those attributed eventually to Yahweh.
I have been reading J. N. D Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines (Fith Edition), and have come accross a rather interesting piece that comes from the writing of Origen, as he explains the mystical beginnings of the world.
Before the ages they were all pure intelligences, whether demons or souls or angels. One of them, the Devil, since he possessed free will, chose to resist God, and God rejected him. All the other powers fell away with him, becoming demons, angels and archangels according as their misdeeds were more, or less, or still less, heinous. Each obtained a lot proportionate to his sin. There remained the souls; these had not sinned so grievously as to become demons or so venially as to become angels. God therefore made the present world, binding the soul to the body as punishment… Plainly He chastises each to suit his sin, making one a demon, another a soul, another an archangel.’
p 181. Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines (Fifth Edition) Continuum, London, 2008.
I have said for a long while that I would upload my final year essays. Many of them might be of use to some people. They are Christian in basis, but the topics are varied. There are essays that cover scriptural studies of the Antichrist, through to ethical studies of the place of the Bible in Ethics, and of course the ethics of homosexuality. There is an interfaith essay on the current state of the Pagan-Christian dialogue, and what future hope there is for this dialogue to improve, if any, as well as a look at the place of Baptism in the Christian faith, and through a study of the 4th century liturgy where our symbols have come from. Finally, there is the dissertation that surprised many. The one that looks at culture, and asks if theology can truly be taken from it with any legitimacy. The Dissertation asks this question with direct reference to the book Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, and gives examples of how theology might interact with the theology that is currently being explored in popular culture.