Religious Lanuage - new ideas

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  • Religious Language - New Ideas
    • Rudolf Bultmann
      • Felt that it was important to demythologise the gospel accounts. In part, he was anxious to give to Christianity and to the Gospels a credibility that had been lost in the face of the challenges of modern philosophy and science.
        • He was also concerned to emphasise the personal nature of a relationship with God, which he felt had been lost in the emphasis on a Transcendent, Immutable God.
      • Bultmann ignores the claim of Christianity to being a historical phenomenon. He argues that demythologizing the faith will regain its credibility, and shift the emphasis to a personal relationship with God.
        • However, the mainstay of Christianity's claim is its basis in History. Another part of that claim is that God forgives - Bultmann appears to base the whole of Religious life in living authentically, apparently without the need for God's forgiveness.
    • Heigegger
      • Heidegger had said that Man's essential nature was "to exist". He believed that Man always lives by existentials - the activities, states and relations that make up the encounters in his life.
        • The nature of humanity lay in its relationships with the world. In these relationships, a person can be authentic, or inauthentic. Authenticity involves taking each situation and showing a person's true nature.
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
      • Bonhoeffer was another Christian scholar anxious to restore Christianity's credibility in the face of the challenges of the modern age. He felt that it was essential that Christians face up to the atheistic culture that surrounded them, rather than hide in the supernatural God of tradition.
        • He argued that the central theme of Christianity was its message of the involvement of God in the world, "getting his hands dirty".
    • The Sea of Faith
      • This movement, with its founder Don Cupitt, argues that talk of God is not simply meaningless. Cupitt goes further and speaks of a God that is simply a construct of the mind.
    • Process Theology
      • began with Alfred N. Whitehead. He argued that reality is not static, but rather in a state of development. He went on to argue that if creation was in a state of process, then God was to be considered as a part of this process.
        • "God is not to be treated as an exception to all metaphysical principles… He is their chief exemplification". God is that reality that ensures the continuation of the processes of creation. God is not an "imperial ruler", but works "slowly and quietly by love" - the "fellow sufferer who understands".
      • Whitehead and others have inspired a new movement in Christian Theology called Panentheism. This is the belief that God is constantly interacting with, and interdependent on,  the Universe.
        • . Matthew Fox talks of God as being a “great underground river” of the unconscious mind. This unity between the created order and its creator owes a lot to ancient Celtic Spirituality, and is marked by a close concern for the environment.
    • Pantheism
      • This belief is characteristic of Hinduism - it is the belief that God is in everything, and everything is in God. Hindus respect all living things as containing “a spark from God”, and Creation is engaged in a journey back to the God-head through constant re-incarnation.
        • While the reincarnation belief is not a part of traditional western religious thought, many philosophers have sympathies with the pantheist idea, and talk of God as being Creation-in-itself.


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