Anti Christian Essays

Since God both created the world which is accessible to philosophy and revealed the texts accessible to theologians, the claims yielded by one cannot conflict with the claims yielded by another unless the philosopher or theologian has made some prior error.Since the deliverances of the two disciplines must then coincide, philosophy can be put to the service of theology (and perhaps vice-versa). First, philosophical reasoning might persuade some who do not accept the authority of purported divine revelation of the claims contained in religious texts.This, we might add, seems to be one reason why the methodological rift between so-called “analytic” and “non-analytic” philosophers has to some extent been replicated as a rift between analytic philosophers of religion and their counterparts in theology.

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According to the Thomistic model, philosophy and theology are distinct enterprises, differing primarily in their intellectual starting points.

Philosophy takes as its data the deliverances of our natural mental faculties: what we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.

Thus, an atheist who is unwilling to accept the authority of religious texts might come to believe that God exists on the basis of purely philosophical arguments.

Second, distinctively philosophical techniques might be brought to bear in helping the theologian clear up imprecise or ambiguous theological claims.

The latter belief, inspired by Wittgenstein, holds that language itself only has meaning in specific practical contexts, and thus that religious language was not aiming to express truths about the world which could be subjected to objective philosophical scrutiny.

A third reason is that a great many academic theologians also became skeptical of our ability to think and speak meaningfully about God; but, rather than simply abandon traditional doctrines of Christianity, many of them turned away from more “metaphysical” and quasi-scientific ways of doing theology, embracing instead a variety of alternative construals and developments of these doctrines—including, but not limited to, metaphorical, existentialist, and postmodern construals.

We take these three as our focus because, unlike (for example) doctrines about providence or the attributes of God, these are distinctive to Christian theology and, unlike (for example) the doctrine of original sin or the Real Presence of Christ in the eucharist, these have been the subject of a great deal of discussion over the past couple of decades.

In the history of Christian theology, philosophy has sometimes been seen as a natural complement to theological reflection, whereas at other times practitioners of the two disciplines have regarded each other as mortal enemies.

We also leave aside a variety of important but less-discussed topics in philosophical theology, such as the nature of divine revelation and scripture, original sin, the authority of tradition, and the like.

(For discussions of work falling under some of these topics, see the Related Entries section below, as well as the works under the “General” heading in the bibliography.) From the beginning, Christians have affirmed the claim that there is one God, and three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom is God. E., the Council of Toledo framed this doctrine as follows: and three persons …


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