Friday, May 18, 2007

I can't think of a title

We were discussing predestination ands freewill at Sunday school and one of the students ask a question about predestination and freewill. If you’re not chosen then how about the unchosen? How about freewill? How can there be freewill if there’s predestination? I saw Hegel looking at me and winking, “Dialectics! They are running in circles. Blame old Aristotle and his syllogism. Tell them about dialectics so that they will be able to get out of these absurd discussions.” I had no choice but to give my views. “See here, you can’t get out of this predestination and freewill if you think of them as canceling each other out. The Bible teaches the two facts, but the Bible also does not teach that they are opposing facts! The problem is our reasoning. Let’s try this: Predestination is divine prerogative and freewill is human prerogative. How can divine and human prerogatives merge? They can’t. What will happen is a higher idea or truth will come out and that higher truth and idea is already happened! It’s the Christ, the synthesis of the divine and the human—salvation.” I can be passionate when I’m discussing and then I looked at my audience, it struck me that I was speaking German—too abstract. I am sorry.

Crazy…how Bible cross referencing sometimes creates more trouble and confusion. Add the limitation of the “either-or” way of thinking and what you have is a disaster. A faith so hard to maintain, especially for enquiring mind, that other just abandon it for the lack of coherence. How can a system of faith be coherent if it justifies itself strictly by the authority of an imperfect book (imperfect in a sense that they are not the original autographs) sometimes disregarding revelations in experiences and nature?

That’s why there are efforts to make Christian Theology an “answering theology” (Tillich) lest it lost its relevance.

I read essays discussing Bultmann’s demythologizing efforts and now I understand his efforts. According to Bultmann, you can remove all the myths in the Bible and find that there’s still the Kerygma or the message. In fact the mythologies in the Bible are language, a tool (Wittgenstein) to understand God and that tool is now deficient. Wittgenstein talked about the ladder being thrown out once the top is reached and a new ladder is necessary—this is it, throw the old ladder. The mythologies in the Bible cannot be taken literally but must be understood in a linguistic way. I was shocked ( a non theologs) when I first heard about Bultmann’s program but then I asked myself, is my faith grounded on mythical biblical stories or is it grounded on the message? The message is the core of the bible.

Even the word God is problematic. I once read that one of the reasons why the missionary efforts in China failed is because missionaries did not allow the use of the local transliteration for God thinking that it would be blasphemous. How the Chinese could understand God then? The word God has no meaning, according to Tillich, unless we understood God as the ground of our being. The term God is a convention that, unfortunately limits rather represents God. When Tillich speaks of understanding God he has these words to say “Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional you learned about God, perhaps even the word itself.”

I mean, if one cannot get past the absurd circular discussions of doctrines one must be willing to discard it for a higher understanding of the experience of God. The Bible should lead us to God but if it becomes a stumbling block, a whirlpool where instead of finding harmony in it, one finds a never ending cycle of repetitions and circular arguments, its time to look for other compliments for erudition—other people’s experience and understanding of God.


Joey said...

Hi George,

Fascinating post.

In case you don't know I nominated you the thinking blogger award meme. Checkout your technorati logo, and click at the blogs that link here.

George said...

I'm a little overwhelmed. BUt thanks anyway.