Quotes That I Have Gathered – W

Waking up

In the Thomas gospel that was dug up in Egypt some forty years ago, Jesus says, “He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am, and I shall be he.” Now, that is exactly Buddhism. The word “Buddha” means “the one who waked up.” We are all to do that ‑ to wake up to the Christ or Buddha consciousness within us.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

War

Survival of the fittest: a pitiless struggle for domination between individual and individual, between group and group. Who is going to devour whom? . . . Such is the fundamental law of fuller being. In consequence, overriding every other principle of action and morality, we have the law of force, transposed uncharted into the human sphere. External force: war, therefore, does not represent a residual accident which will become less important as time goes on, but is the first agent of evolution and the very form in which it is expressed. And, to match this, internal force: citizens welded together in the iron grip of a totalitarian regime.

It is against this barbaric ideal that we have spontaneously rebelled: and it is to escape slavery that we too have had to have recourse to force. It is to destroy the ‘divine right’ of war that we are fighting.

Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy pp. 15, 16.

War, organized war, is not a human instinct. It is a highly planned and cooperative form of theft. And that form of theft began ten thousand years ago when the harvesters of wheat accumulated a surplus, and the nomads rose out of the desert to rob them of what they themselves could not provide. The evidence for that we saw in the walled city of Jericho and its prehistoric tower. That is the beginning of war.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

Genghis Khan and his Mongol dynasty brought that thieving way of life into our own millennium. . . Yet that attempt failed. And it failed because in the end there was nothing for the Mongols to do except themselves to adopt the way of life of the people that they had conquered. . . . The fact is that agriculture and the settled way of life were established steps now in the ascent of man, and had set a new level for a form of human harmony which was to bear fruit into the far future: the organization of the city.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

People who are vigorous and brutal often find war enjoyable, provided that it is a victorious war and there is not too much interference with rape and plunder. This is a great help in persuading people that wars are righteous. . . . If we could feel genuinely that we are the equals of our neighbors, neither their betters nor their inferiors, perhaps life would become less of a battle, and we should need less in the way of intoxicating myth to give us Dutch courage.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Wisdom

After instinct and intellectual ferment have done their work there is a decision which determines the mode of coalescence of instinct with intelligence. I will term this factor Wisdom.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Wisdom is persistent pursuit of the deeper understanding, ever confronting intellectual system with the importance of its omissions.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

These three elements, Instinct, Intelligence, Wisdom, cannot be torn apart.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

The life of wisdom must be a life of contemplation combined with action.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Wisdom, the point of

Campbell believed in a “point of wisdom beyond the conflict of illusion and truth by which lives can be put back together again.”

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure Work

The principles that Gandhi derived from Rusking:

1. That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.

2. That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s, inasmuch as all have the same right of earning their livelihoods from their work.

3. That a life of labor ‑ the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman ‑ is the life worth living.

Work and Rest

When I am at rest, I accuse myself of neglecting mywork; and when I am at work, of having disturbed my repose. The only remedy in these uncertainties is prayer, entreating tobe shown God’s holy Will at evry moment, that He may tell us what to do and when and how to do it.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Works

It is always good to be doing what we can, for then God is wont to pity our weakness and assist our feeble endeavors. . . . Thus should we exercise ourselves unto godliness; and when we are employing the powers that we have, the Spirit of god is wont to strike in and elevate these acts of our soul beyond the pitch of nature and give them a divine impression; and after the frequent reiteration of these, we shall find ourselves more inclined unto them, they flowing with greater freedom and ease.

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Quotes That I Have Gathered – T, U, V

Theism

In my view, when theistic faith is equated with uncritical supernaturalism, there is an inevitable conflict between science and religion, because a theistic understanding of man and nature is an interpretation of the meaning of God’s relationship to the world and is not “fact” (in the empirically verifiable sense that science uses the term).

J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic

Theodicy

Nicolas Corte, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life and Spirit, says there are two types of theodicy:

1. “Scale of nature” tracing line from Nature to Man to God

2. Intellectual and moral factors in man pointing to God, e.g. existentialists

Corte says Teilhard was of the first category as a scientist in direct contact with the evidence. The same evidence pointing to evolution points to the continuity of principle all the way up the scale.

Theologies, in conflict

Those grasped by a fresh and convincing insight are likely to believe that all those who do not join them are against them.

John B. Cobb, Jr., An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Cobb cites two passages: Jesus is reported to have said: “Anyone who is not for me is against me” (Mt. 12:30), and “Anyone who is not against us is for us” (Lk. 9:50). He notes that the former reflects an attitude that arises with an early stage of theological development, and the latter reflects that of a latter stage of development. As an example, “process theologians have learned to find points of agreement and mutual support in the counterculture, in the ecological movement, in the “new physics”, among the feminists, among Roman Catholics inspired by Teilhard de Chardin and the Second Vatican Counsel, among those seeking inter‑religious dialogues, and in the various movements for indigenization of Christianity and for liberation of oppressed people around the world.”

Theology

Theology is a living thing, having to do with our very existence as Christians and as churches . . . A living theology must speak to the actual questions men in Asia are asking in the midst of their dilemmas; their hopes, aspirations and achievements; their doubts, despair and suffering. . . . A living theology is born out of the meeting of a living church and its world. East Asia Christian Conference statement, quoted in Minjung Theology

Theology is a form of reflection that is secondary to the primary activity of the community of faith: prayer, witness, service, prophecy, martyrdom, and celebration. Theology does not create itself. It is a critical, constructive commentary on something else.

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

The object of theology “must be the Ground of our being. . . . Although reason cannot grasp being‑itself, it is essentially related to being‑itself. This formulation enables Tillich to maintain that revelation does not destroy reason, but fulfills it.

Guyton B. Hammond on Tillich’s theology, Man in Estrangement

For Bultman, the task of theology is that of developing an understanding of human existence in faith.

Norman Perrin, The Promise of Bultmann

If mythology offers a way of narrating experience, giving it the power of story, theology provides a way of testing that experience. Furthermore, Christian theology ‑ because of the incarnation ‑ will always want to root an experience of the sacred in the particular and down‑to‑earth, being wary of vague, undifferentiated encounters with the profound.

Belden C. Lane, “The Power of Myth: Lessons from Joseph Campbell,” The Christian Century, July 5‑12, 1989

The present with its contemporary empirical models has to be the place where we, as Christians, must make our Christological response. Proclamation and theology must always have a time index. Unless we recognize this, we are putting our faith in a purely ideological, abstract or magical kerygma: “Jesus is the Lord.”

Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus

One finds that he can authentically abandon neither his faith in the modern experiment nor his faith in the God of Jesus Christ. Anyone who experiences at all such a seemingly unenviable condition finds the attempt to theologize pure necessity.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

Linguists (e.g. Ian Ramsey, Frederick Ferre, and Max Black) [distinguish] between ‘picture (or scale) models’ and ‘disclosure (or analogue) models.’ Such a distinction allows one to affirm that theological models do not purport to provide exact pictures of the realities they disclose (picture models). Rather, theological models serve to disclose or re‑present the realities which they interpret (disclosure models). . . Theologies do not ‑ or would not ‑ claim to provide pictures of the realities they describe ‑ God, humanity, and world; they can be shown to disclose such realities with varying degrees of adequacy.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

[8‑24‑90: Again, this seems to be true for the reason that we perceive nothing directly. All that we perceive is “received” even as raw data through the filter of the physical properties of light, sound, or chemical or physical structure, it is transmitted to the brain through the bodily sense network, and even when the data is recorded, it is never pure, but is attached to attendant existing and preexisting data and interpretations in the light of experience and present emotion. Any perception, therefore, is not a direct imprint of the original event perceived, but more an apprehension of that event, and always to some degree remote from that event. It is always an approximation, and it is always personal. To forget that perception is part of the life process, a becoming, approaches idolatry and dogmatism. Knowledge is never an equation with the world. That is why I believe knowledge is most accurate when it approaches the dynamic of life through a dialectic which recognizes its limitations as well as its life.]

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order, quotes Wilhelm Pauck: “Orthodox theologies give rise to more orthodoxies; liberal theologies give rise to neo‑orthodoxies.”

I have the feeling that the Christian theologians are reluctant to come in through the door I have tried to open. I have tried to relate Chrstianity to the sacredness of all life. It seems to me this is a vital part Christianity as I understand it. But the Christian theologians, many of them, confine Christianity to the human form of life. It does not seem to me to be correct. It lacks the essential universalization that I associate with Jesus. Why limit reverence for life to the human form?

Albert Schweitzer

Theology, academic

Academic theology is hardly able to address even the most massive and pressing issues of our day, such as those of justice and peace lifted up for focused attention by the World Council of Churches.

John B. Cobb, Jr., An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

No doubt it was once liberating for theology to get out from under rigid ecclesial control. But being housed in the mental world of the modern university presents its own, often less visible, restrictions and obstacles.

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Theology, consequences of the enlightenment

The polish writer Czeslaw Milosz believes that Russian writers, especially Dostoyevski, saw the long‑term consequences of the Enlightenment, of a rationalism, faith in science, and progress. He claims that Dostoyevski, writing from a kind of Russian minjung perspective, foresaw an inevitable collision between these “enlightened” ideas and Christian truth. One hundred years after Dostoyevski, we live in a period in which it seems quite evident that ideas he warned us about are leading toward something unspeakably destructive. The palace of science has not been our salvation. Technology has been put to demonic purposes. Hope for progress is something that hardly anybody seriously affirms anymore. And we’re left with a kind of emptiness, a spiritual hunger that Dostoyevski himself felt and anticipated, and a sense that his message of Christianity, which is the coming of God into the life of humankind, in a man who suffered and died to infuse humanity with the spirit of God, is what has to be reclaimed. Would it not be ironic if in the next century a revival of Christianity occurred stemming from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Theology, contextual

Theology has to be contextual.

Jung Young Lee, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

If scholarship and theology were as ‘objective’ as they sometimes appear, one might argue for a division of labor. But it has been black theology, Latin American theology, and feminist theology in particular that have taught us that this solution is inadequate. By Western theology’s very excellence it inhibits Christians in other situations from affirming the different understanding and wisdom gained through diverse situations.

John B. Cobb, Jr., An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Theology, and faith

Those who study theology, some say, must face hard battles because of the doubts that arise when they engage in close study and research into Christian doctrine and its history. I cannot speak of this from experience, for I myself have never for a moment known such a state of mind. I always told myself: Should everything else fail, one thing will remain. We poor weak men may continue his work, and our life, our thought, our aims, and all our actions will thus be hallowed. Isn’t that enough ‑ more than enough ‑ for true joy true blessedness and peace? Because I have been so certain of his spiritual presence, doubts and temptations have never assailed me. Now you will say: Such religion is lacking in humility. You are treating the Savior as an equal; you are not a broken and contrite man. I believe that contrition and humility come imperceptibly. Who could step into the shadow of a great mountain without feeling insignificant?

Schweitzer, Sermon, “Christ in Our Life,” 1904

Theology, method of correlation

Tillich’s “method of correlation” is an attempt to correlate Christian concepts of man with modern culture’s interpretation of the human situation.

Guyton B. Hammond, Man in Estrangement

Tillich’s theological method seeks to correlate the “answers” of the Christian message with the “questions” posed by man’s contemporary self‑analysis.

Guyton B. Hammond, Man in Estrangement

“Yet, . . . Christian theology should not surrender to modern thought. . . . She should reconcile them by elevating them at the same time beyond themselves as agape does, and as great apologetic theology has always done. There are questions left in each of the ideas of estrangement and reconciliation, questions for which the Christian message is the ultimate answer.”

Tillich quoted by Guyton B. Hammond, Man in Estrangement

Theology, Liberation

Liberation theology is principally a way of looking at the gospel and the Christian tradition from the perspective of the poor, so everything in that tradition ‑modes of discipline, forms of prayer, sacraments, devotional exercises and so on ‑ can all be seen and reclaimed and purified.

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Dr. Vincent Harding, Illif School of Theology, asks in his seminar presentation January 1989, “From Central America with Love,” “How can one remain a follower of Christ and a member of the number one nation?” And “There is great power in being vulnerable, poor, and oppressed: it leaves one freer to express love.” [And in my experience as judge, freer for others to give expression of love.]

Theology, liberative

Over the past twenty‑five years, I have come to believe that the religion of ordinary people, the “simple folk,” though often misused for domination, holds enormous potential for liberation. This means a principle theological task becomes sorting out the liberative from the manipulative elements in a religious heritage.

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Theology, Revisionist

The revisionist model holds that a contemporary fundamental Christian theology can best be described as philosophical reflection upon the meanings present in common human experience and language, and upon the meanings present in the Christian fact.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order, proposes a critical correlation of the result of the investigation of the two principal sources of theology: Christian texts and common human experience and language. He criticizes Tillich as coming up short in correlating only Christian answers to contemporary situations: “If the “situation” is to be taken with full seriousness, then its answers to its own questions must also be investigated critically. . . . Tillich’s method does not actually correlate; it juxtaposes questions from the “situation” with answers from the “message”.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order, sets out five theses of a revisionist model of theology:

1. The two principal sources for theology are Christian texts and common human experience and language.

2. The theological task will involve a critical correlation of the results of the investigation of the two sources of theology.

3. The principal method of investigation of the source “common human experience and language” can be described as a phenomenology of the “religious dimension” present in everyday and scientific experience and language.

4. The principal method of investigation of the source “The Christian tradition” can be described as an historical and hermeneutical investigation of classical Christian texts. [This recognizes that textual sources had as their own sources other textual sources, human experience and language.]

5. To determine the truth‑status of the results of one’s investigations into the meaning of both common human experience and Christian texts the theologian should emply an explicitly transcendental or metaphysical mode of reflection.

Theology, Western

The “De‑Europeanizing” of Christianity is one of the things at stake in the emergence of minjung theology. Emerging from this shell reminds us how once a basically Hebrew perspective on reality, having to do with love and faith and community, became translated into the Hellenistic perspective. Christianity was thus understood primarily in terms of doctrinal formulations; this has become so commonplace it seems completely natural to us. “What is it to be a Christian? It’s to believe ABCD.”

Harvey Cox, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective

Thou

The Indians addressed all of life as a “thou” ‑ the trees, the stones, everything. You can address anything as a “thou,” and if you do it, you can feel the change in your own psychology.

Joseph Campbell

Thought

As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.

Albert Schweitzer

Tolerance

Intolerance is the besetting sin of moral fervor. The first important pronouncement in which tolerance is associated with moral fervor, is in the Parable of the Tares and Wheat.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Plato above all men introduced into the world this further essential element of civilization. . . . The moral of his writings is that all points of view, reasonably coherent and in some sense with an application, have something to contribute to our understanding of the universe, and also involve omissions whereby they fail to include the totality of evident fact. The duty of tolerance is our finite homage to the abundance of inexhaustible novelty which is awaiting the future, and to the complexity of accomplished fact which exceeds our stretch of insight.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Consider some of Plato’s phrases about his own ideas:

If, then, Socrates, we find ourselves in many points unable to make our discourse of the generation of gods and the universe in every way wholly consistent and exact, you must not be surprised. Nay, we must be well content if we can provide an account not less likely than another’s; we must remember that I who speak, and you who are my audience, are but men and should be satisfied to ask for no more than the likely story.

Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god” (Micah 4:5) Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods, speaks of the messianic time as a next step in history, not its abolition, in which there will be peace: peace between men and peace of man with nature (Isaiah 11:6‑9, 35:5‑10; Hosea 2:18) and an end even to religious fanaticism, the source of so much strife and destruction. Even peace among nations:  The idea that all nations are to be equally loved by God and that there is no favorite son is beautifully expressed also by Isaiah 19:23‑25.”

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, speaks of Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty as to the speed and direction of the electron, and says it is a poor choice of name:

We should call it the principle of tolerance. And I propose that name in two senses. First in the engineering sense. Science has progressed step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance. But second, I also use the word passionately about the real world. All knowledge, all information between human beings can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. . . . It is a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that here in Gottingen, scientists were refining to the most exquisite precision the Principle of Tolerance, and turning their backs on the fact that all around them tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair. . . .

It is an irony of history that at the very time this [realization that all knowledge is limited] was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter‑conception: a principle of monstrous certainty.

Transcendence

Transcendent properly means that which is beyond all concepts, all thought, beyond the categories of being and non‑being.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

In the Sanskrit there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping‑off place to the ocean of transcendence: “Sat”: being; “Chit”: consciousness; “Ananda”: bliss or rapture. Campbell says he was unsure of being and consciousness but knew his bliss, so he hung onto bliss that it would bring him both consciousness and being. “I think it worked.”

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

The effect of the experience of transcendence can be either negative or positive. When transcendence becomes a mere escape from this world into “another world”, it is negative because that transcendence, while cathartic, produces no changes in the concrete everyday life. The minjung thus become fatalistic.

The experience of transcendence can also produce positive effects. First it produces among the minjung the wisdom and the power to survive. To see the world as it is, may give power to endure its hardships. Second, the experience gives the minjung the courage to fight for change and freedom. The minjung possess the capacity both to be involved in political revolutionary activities and to transcend them at the same time.

Suh Kwang‑Sun David, Minjung Theology

Transcendence is not movement into some metaphysical world out there or into “Spirit,” but is deeply rooted in the historical experience of the human. The previously presumed dichotomy between body and spirit had to be reexamined. His understanding of God’s incarnation was deepened in more concrete and existential terms. God was not carried piggy‑back to Korea by the first missionaries. Rather God is working and revealing his will in and through the minjung of Korea, especially the minjung’s history and culture. Beginning to do theology in this way is exciting “for you feel theology with your body and dance with it before you think it.”

Suh Kwang‑Sun David, Minjung Theology

Ego boundaries must be hardened before they can be softened. An identity must be established before it can be transcended. One must find one’s self before one can lose it.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Tillich: “The ability to transcend any given situation implies the possibility of losing one’s self in the infinity of transcending one’s self.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

The immanence of God might be identified with such human qualities as the presence of love, the quality of life and the affirmation of being.  One touches God first in that very human experience.  But once we cross the barrier from the limitations of our humanity into the infinity of the source of being itself, then transcendence becomes the word that symbolizes the endless depths of life that are then available.  Immanence stands for the point of contact between the human and the divine. . . . Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, pp. 130, 131.

Transcendent authority

If meanings and values were just something emerging from the subject himself ‑ that is to say, if they were not something that stems from a sphere beyond man and above man ‑ they would instantly lose their demand quality. They could not longer be real challenges to man, they would never be able to summon him up, to call him forth.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy quoting Viktor Frankl

The life of the individual is not determined solely by the ego and its opinions or social factors, but quite as much, if not more, by a transcendent authority. . . . I do not hold myself responsible for the fact that man has, everywhere and always, spontaneously developed religious forms of expression, and that the human psyche from time immemorial has been shot through with religious feelings and ideas. Whoever cannot see this aspect of the human psyche is blind and whoever chooses to explain it away, or to “enlighten” it away, has no sense or reality.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy quoting Carl Jung

Trinity

[Joachim of Floris, twelfth century] viewed the Trinity in a historical perspective as revealed in three successive historical periods: the period of the Holy Father, the period of the Holy Son and the period of the Holy Spirit. He developed a clear historical theology. He said that man was a slave in the period of the Holy Father, and was a son in the period of the Holy son, and then became a friend who had spiritual freedom in the period of the Holy Spirit. Thus, in the third spiritual period, all the people surpass the institutional church and the literal word of the Bible, and their souls and bodies become filled with wisdom and happiness in the historical reality of this world. . . . His statement that “the poor must suffer from hunger again whenever the altar is adorned” reveals his deep insight into the irrational entanglement between the ruler and the oppressed minjung.

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

More recently, historical theology has been presented in terms of the activity rather than just the presence of the three persons of the Trinity by the English theologian R.P.C. Hanson. For him, God develops his own presence and activity in this way: the Holy Son surpasses the Holy Father, and in turn the Holy Spirit surpasses the Holy Son, and moves in an eschatological direction. Finally, he says that the Holy Spirit will be poured out over all the people at the end. This is the paradigm of minjung theology.

Truth

But for truth we must turn our backs on the “false secondary power by which we multiply distinctions” and feel intimately the pulsing movement of life itself.”

Bergson, Introduction to Creative Evolution

Truth is one; the sages call it by many names.

Hindu scripture, quoted by Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

The person who thinks he has found the ultimate truth is wrong. Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure By their openness, people dedicated to the truth live in the open, and through the exercise of their courage to live in the open, they become free from fear.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Maurice Merleau‑Ponty, The Primacy of Perception and Other Essays, spoke of the “immense task” which faced him in showing that “ideal truth” was founded in “perceived truth” ‑ and that the idea of truth itself is an “ideal” implied in the least perception and is not the free creation or independent intuition of a “pure,” fully reflexive consciousness detached from the real world of perceptual experience. Merleau‑Ponty’s world is not a dualism of idea and real, but a “dialectic of ambiguity.”

8‑27‑90 Precisely because of the limits of man, and the fact that he receives all contact with the world through a filter and interprets it through symbols, always inexact, never equations, we have in our experience “paradox” and “mystery”. How can knowledge, with language as its base, ever adequately apprehend reality, including the reality of the experience of power greater than ourselves ‑ God. Therefore paradox and mystery may most dynamically represent the power and becoming that embodies life.

9‑27‑90 For many of the reasons Bergson points out, truth can never be an equation between an idea and reality. We need our ideas about reality to apprehend in some aspect that reality for purposes of thinking about reality and talking about it. But truth is more than talking about reality. It is living in consonance with reality and not in opposition to it ‑ it is more than thought, although it includes thought. To approximate truth, it must not contain reality by definition, but it must become one with reality. To relegate truth to an all‑encompassing definition is to wring from reality its vitality and make of our truth an idol. Here science, philosophy and religion should not conflict if each understands its limits. To the extent that each recognizes its compartmentalization of reality for its own changing and incomplete purposes, it can leave open our receptivity to reality.

Satyagrah is an Indian word used by Gandhi for his nonviolent resistence of oppression. It means “firm insistence upon truth and love.”

My countrymen impute the evils of modern civilization to the English people and, therefore, believe that the English people are bad, and not the civilization they represent. My countrymen, therefore, believe that they should adopt modern civilization and modern methods of violence to drive out the British.

Gandhi

My personal faith is absolutely clear. I cannot intentionally hurt anything that lives, much less fellow human beings, even though theymay do the greatest wrong to me and mine. Whilst,therefore, Ihold the British rule to be a curse, I do not intend harm to a single Englishman or to any legitimate interest he may have in India. . . . I know that in embarking on nonviolence I shall be running what might be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been wonwithout risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed upon another, far more numerous, far more ancient and no less cultured than itself, is worth any amount of risk.

Gandhi

I believe it is possible to introduce uncompromising truth and honesty in the political life of the country. . . . I would strain every nerve to make Truth and Nonviolence accepted in all national activities.

Gandhi

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour isnow, always, and indeed then most truly when it seems most unsuitable to actual circumstances.

Albert Schweitzer

No less strong than the will to truth must be the will to sincerity. Only an age which can show the courage of sincerity can possess truth which works as a spiritual force within it.

Albert Schweitzer

No one who opens the sluices to let a flood of skepticism pour itself over the land must expect to be able to bring it back within its proper bounds. Of those who let themselves get too disheartened to try any longer to discover truth by their own thinking, only a few find a substitute for it in truth taken from others. The mass of people remain skeptical They lose all feeling for truth, and all sense of need for it as well, finding themselves quite comfortable in a life without thought, driven now here, now there, from one opinion to another.

Albert Schweitzer

Examine different philosophical measures of truth: correspondence, utility, logical proof, etc. How can we know truth? What role faith?

See Perception

Truth, and the church

According to Augustine the absolute and permanent truth is the monopoly of the church, and only the church spreads the absolute truth. But, according to Joachim of Floris, the truth grows and spreads itself from a bud to a stem and then to flowers and fruits as history develops. . . . In accepting the viewpoint of Augustine the church turned away from the Holy Spirit and the minjung.

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

Truth, withholding

The expression of opinions, feelings, ideas and even knowledge must be suppressed from time to time in the course of human affairs. What rules, then, can one follow if one is dedicated to the truth?

1. Never speak falsehood.

2. Bear in mind that the act of withholding the truth is always potentially a lie, and that in each instance in which the truth is withheld a significant moral decision is required.

3. The decision to withhold the truth should never be based on personal needs, such as a need for power, a need to be liked or a need to protect one’s map from challenge.

4. Conversely, the decision to withhold the truth must always be based entirely upon the needs of the person or people from whom the truth is being withheld.

5. The assessment of another’s needs is an act of responsibility which is so complex that it can only be executed wisely when one operates with genuine love for the other.

6. The primary factor in the assessment of another’s needs is the assessment of that person’s capacity to utilize the truth for his or her own spiritual growth.

7. In assessing the capacity of another to utilize the truth for personal spiritual growth, it should be borne in mind that our tendency is generally to underestimate rather than overestimate this capacity.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Values

Being human means being in the face of meaning to fulfill and values to realize. It means living in the polar field of tension established between reality and ideals to materialize. Man lives by ideals and values. Human existence is into authentic unless it is lived in terms of self‑transcendence.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy quoting Viktor Frankl

Values become integrative forces in life only when an individual exercises his or her freedom and responsibility. . . . Refusing to exercises one’s freedom to make choices about values is synonymous with refusing to be responsible. Indeed, habitually irresponsible behavior is one of the signs of disintegrating mental health.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy

What man actually needs is not homeostasis, but what I call Noodynamics, i.e., that kind of appropriate tension that holds him steadily oriented toward concrete values to be actualized, toward the meaning of his personal existence. This is also what guarantees and sustains his mental health; escaping from stress situations would even precipitate his falling prey to the existential vacuum.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy quoting Viktor Frankl

Virtue

. . . [T]hough a man may know very well what is virtue or wickedness, yet if he does not love virtue, he is not virtuous, for he obeys vice. But if he loves virtue he follows after it . . . And to him virtue is its own reward, and he is content therewith, and would take no treasure or riches in exchange for it.

Theologia Germanica

Let your conduct be single, moderate, and without affectation of either good or evil, but be really firm in the cause of virtue, and so decided that no one can hope to lead you astray.

Francois Fenelon

For virtue is nought else but an ordained and a measured affection, plainly directed unto God for Himself.

The Cloud of Unknowing

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Quotes That I Have Gathered – S

Sacred place

A sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour or so a day . . . where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is a place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen. . . .You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Put on music . . . read a book. In your sacred place you get the “thou” feeling of life that these people had for the whole world.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Salvation

The human needs salvation. Salvation is possible only when the individual accepts his or her need to be liberated from inhibiting idols. . . . Salvation is a state achieved through the integrating forces of both the human and the holy. Philomena

Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy

Right living, and not right belief, are the essence of salvation. Those who accept that will find themselves closest to the Buddhists, and to those Christians who, like Abbe Pire, say “What matters today is not the difference between believers and nonbelievers, but that between those who care and those who do not care.”

Schillebeeckx?

Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus, sees a dilemma: “Is ‘Christian salvation’ vested in the Jesus who lived here on earth, or solely in the crucified‑and‑risen one?”

Satyagraha

Rom, here in Broken Bow, told me November 21, 1991 the meaning of Satyagraha. I had understood it to be “soul‑force”. That word, however, lacks concreteness which can speak to concrete experience. What is the soul? How does one promote it? How does it relate to forgiveness? What is forgiveness? Rom defined Satyagraha as satya ‑ truth and love + graha ‑ firm insistence: a firm insistence upon truth and love.

Schlesinger, in his series on world leaders, Gandhi, remarks how Gandhi was introduced to South Africa by being thrown out of the first class compartment of the train and off the train:

He spent that night in the unlit waiting room of the Maritzburg station, shivering fromthe cold but too afraid to ask the baggage attendant for his coat. Should he stay and fight for his rights, or should he give up and go back to India, or should he just swallow the insults and complete his legal case? He chose to stay and fight against race prejudice. It was a night that changed the course of his life. . . .

When Gandhi arrived in Pretoria he immediately sent a letter of protest to the railway company and called a meeting of the Indian community. Now, burning with the urgency of his cause, he was no longer too frightened to speak in public. Yet, strangely, his emphasis was not on protest but self‑improvement. Indians must combat the accusations made against them on the grounds of their way of life by proving the charges false. They must be as sanitary as possible, learn English (he offered to teach them), and cooperate with each other.

To see the universal and all‑pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest creatures as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford tokeep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics and . . . those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.

Gandhi

Gandhi’s policy as a Satyagrahi, or someone who practices Satyagraha, was not only to refrain from violence but also to be courteous to and think well of opponents, officials and jailers. This, he said, could be the hardest part of Satyagraha. They were not fighting against individuals, however, only against the evils of the system.

Schlesinger on Gandhi

A Satyagrahi is not afraid to trust his opponent, Gandhi said. . . . Neither does he take advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses.

Schlesinger on Gandhi

Science and Faith

The restless modern search for increased accuracy of observation and for increased detailed explanation is based upon unquestioning faith in the reign of Law. Apart from such faith, the enterprise of science is foolish, hopeless.

Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Galileo had always held that the ultimate test of a theory must be found in nature:

“I think that in discussions of physical problems we ought to begin not from the authority of scriptural passages, but from sense‑experiences and necessary demonstrations. . . Nor is God any less excellently revealed in Nature’s actions than in the sacred statements of the Bible.

Urban VIII objected that there can be no ultimate test of God’s design, and insisted that Galileo must say that in his book: “It would be an extravagant boldness for anyone to go about to limit and confine the Divine power and wisdom to some one particular conjecture or his own.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

There can be no living science unless there is a widespread instinctive conviction in the existence of an Order of Things, and, in particular, of an Order of Nature.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

Faith in reason is the trust that the ultimate nature of things lie together in harmony which excludes mere arbitrariness. It is the faith that at the base of things we shall not find mere arbitrary mystery. . . . This faith cannot be justified by any inductive generalization. It springs from direct inspection of the nature of things as disclosed in our own immediate past experience.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

Science and God

It is almost impertinent to talk of the ascent of man in the presence of two men, Newton and Einstein, who stride like gods. Of the two Newton is the Old Testament god; it is Einstein who is the New Testament figure. He was full of humanity, pity, a sense of enormous sympathy. His vision of nature herself was that of a human being in the presence of something god‑like, and that is what he always said about nature. He was fond of talking about God: “God does not play dice,” “God is not malicious.” Finally Niels Bohr one day said to him, “Stop telling God what to do.” But that is not quite fair. Einstein was a man who could ask immensely simple questions. And what his life showed, and his work, is that when the answers are simple too, then you hear God thinking.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man Paul

Davies, God and the New Physics, ends his book:

I began by making the claim that science offers a surer path than religion in the search of God. It is my deep conviction that only by understanding the world in all its many aspects ‑ reductionist and holistic, mathematical and poetical, through forces, fields, and particles as well as through good and evil [his notion of religion?] ‑ that we will comet o understand ourselves and the meanign behind this universe, our home.

[Is this what Bergson decried in Creative Evolution when he criticised such reductionistic thinking as reducing all of life to objects, shapes and forms and ignoring other forms of knowledge? What about also coming to God through our experiences, both the experience of the wonder of the world and in experience of our own limitations, through our recognition that we are out of control and through seeing the work of God in the lives of others.? Davies’ notion of religion seems overly restrictive, especially if viewed with Eric Fromm’s definition of religion.]

Science, and Philosophy

If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc hypotheses, it must become philosophical and must enter upon a thorough criticism of its own foundations.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

With scientific thought being based upon quantification, it is no wonder that scientists placed their principles upon a materialistic basis and thereafter ceased to worry about philosophy.

Whitehead

Bertrand Russell, My Philosophical Development: “Science is at no moment quite right, but it is seldom quite wrong, and has, as a rule, a better chance of being right than the theories of the unscientific.”

Science and Spirituality

Science has not diminished human beings nor divorced us from divinity. The new discoveries of science “rejoin us to the ancients” by enabling us to recognize in this whole universe “a reflection magnified of our own inward nature; so that we are indeed its ears, its eyes, its thinking, and its speech ‑ or, in theological terms, God’s ears, God’s eyes, God’s thinking, and God’s Word.”

Joseph Campbell, Introduction to The Hero’s Adventure

Science and mythology do not conflict. Science is breaking through now into the mystery dimension. It has pushed itself to the edge between what can be known and that which cannot because it is a mystery transcending all human research: the source of life. We speak of the divine as the transcendent energy source.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, quotes William Blake in Augeries of Innocense:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

Only recently has science discovered the reality of paradox. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. He quotes J. Robert Oppenheimer on the necessity of a paradoxical answer to the question of whether an electron’s position changes with time: If we ask whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say “no”; if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say “no”; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say “no”; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say “no”. The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of a man’s self after his death; but they are not the familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth century science.

Having been successful in discovering natural laws, scientists in their world view have made an idol out of the concept of natural law, just as they made an idol out of the notion of measurement. . . . The religious have not wanted their religion shaken by science, just as the scientific have not wanted their science to be shaken by religion.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Science, Matter and Spirit, Physics and Biology

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, explores the example of Syetard, who first conceived of chain reaction, patented it to preclude publication, then wrote to Roosevelt concerning the nuclear age and inevitability of war, and finally unsuccessfully strove to demonstrate to Japan the power of the bomb without loss of life. At that point Syetard gave up physics and turned to biology at the Salk institute. “Physics had been the passion of the last 50 years, and their masterpiece. But now we knew that it was high time to bring to the understanding of life, particularly human life, the same singleness of mind that we had given to understanding the physical world.”

Scripture

Scripture is not a textbook of systematic theology despite the attempt of countless generations of scholars to make it so. Rather, it is an account of the historical experiences of a people. When asked about God, the biblical writer answers, “Here is a story. . . . ” Robert McAfee Brown, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective.

The sayings of the New Testament and of Christian writers like Augustine are true if taken phenomenologically and dialectically; namely, as expressing one side of the actual, concrete experience which men have of the world. But they have been interpreted undialectically as if they were the total expression of man’s relationship with the world.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

To continue to believe a literalist theory of scriptural inspiration seems no longer an option to anyone who has investigated the results of modern historical study of the scriptures.

Secular religion

For Muentzer, the struggle for social reformation needs the inner purification of the person, and personal religious salvation itself cannot be realized without revolutionary action. . . . He moved toward an understanding of the universal church of the Holy Spirit. In this respect, he is a pioneer of the theology of secularization and of the contemporary theology of the minjung.

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

Bonhoeffer stands by the Old Testament and John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He is not prepared to have the virgin birth, the Trinity or anything else boldly stated as revelation ‑ without relating their meaning to the present world in a fully incarnational Christology. It is thus, not only mythological concepts based upon the matrix of thought in the first century that trouble him, but the need to reinterpret in a secular sense the concepts of ‘repentance, faith, justification, rebirth and sanctification’.

Edwin Robertson, The Shame and the Sacrifice

There are varied forms of secularism:

1. materialistic secularism: wealth and possessions bring us happiness (e.g. advertisements for goods and services)

2. hedonistic secularism: fulfillment of life through pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain

3. pragmatic secularism: that which is workable is good (the theme, “Don’t set your sights too high, but be realistic in your goals” marks the value to be sought)

4. spiritual secularism: places emphasis on the life of the creative mind with stress on the arts ‑ a religion of culture.

Secularism has in common that man and nature form the whole of reality.

J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic

The ‘faith of secularity’ is that fundamental attitude which affirms the ultimate significance and final worth of our lives, our thoughts, and actions, here and now, in nature and in history.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

Christian faith can render intellectually coherent and symbolically powerful that common secular faith which we share.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

Compare “Humanism”

Self, and other

Schweitzer was asked why he gave up theology and music: “I decided early that my life up to the age of about thirty would be to do as I wished; but that after that, it would be for my fellow man. . . . I wanted to apply in a material way a Christian concept of love, and medicine seemed the obvious course.

Best of Playboy Interviews, Dec. 1963

8‑25‑90 Campbell speaks of following one’s bliss, and he also speaks of self‑denial, integrity of self necessary for integrity of relationship. Dr. Peck also speaks of the need to have a healthy ego before one can perforate (in Dr. Suchocki’s language) those boundaries both into the subconscious and in union with the world. Asimov also speaks of the brain being first an instrument of preparation before it can be an instrument of service. Finally, AA speaks of the need to give to self before one can have anything to give to others.

Self‑denial

Kim Chi‑ha: “I separate my body and mind from every comfort and easy life, circles of petit bourgeois dreams, and secular swamps without depth. This is the total content of my faith ‑ I know that only vigorous self‑denial is my way. Let us leave as a wayfarer, leaving everything behind. This is the revolution which I have to show and realize with my life itself. The delusion is finished, ‘Ah, a sad and painful act of a spider which goes up in a single line in the air. . . . ‘”

Suh Kwang‑Sun David, Minjung Theology

The secret to life is that satisfaction comes from abandoning the self. . . . The most miserable people are self‑focused. They worry about getting their share. They keep checking themselves.

David K. Reynolds, Constructive Living

It may seem to many that the ultimate requirement ‑ to give up one’s self and one’s life ‑ represents a kind of cruelty on the part of God or fate, which makes our existence a sort of bad joke and which can never be completely accepted. Yet the exact opposite is the reality. It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic and lasting, solid, durable joy in life. And it is death that provides life with all its meaning. This “secret” is the central wisdom of religion.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

You must forge yourself an identity before you can give it up. You must develop an ego before you can lose it. There are many people who possess a vision of evolution yet seem to lack the will for it. They want, and believe it is possible, to skip over the discipline, to find an easy shortcut to sainthood.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Self‑examination

When the light of truth has risen within us, then we see clearly what is there. Then we love ourselves without partiality,without flattery, as we love our neighbor. In the meantime, God spares us by revealing our weakness to us just in proportion as our strength tosupport the view of it increases. We discover our imperfections one by one as we are able to cure them. Without this merciful preparation that adapts our strength to the light within, we should be indespair. Those who correct others ought towatch the moment when God touches their hearts; they must bear a fault with patience til they perceive His spirit reproaching them within. Then theymust follow His providence that gently reproaches them, so that theymay feel that it is less God than their own hearts that condemns them. The more self‑love we have, the more severe are our censures. . . . The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others.

Francois Fenelon

We are beginning to realize that the sources of danger to the world lie more within us than outside, and that the process of constant self‑examination and contemplation is essential for ultimate survival.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Self‑government

To prepare for home‑rule, individuals must cultivate the spirit of service, renunciation, truth, nonviolence, self‑restraint, patience.

Gandhi

Political self‑government . . . is no better than individual self‑government and therefore is to be attained by precisely the same means that are required fro individual self‑government or self‑rule.

Gandhi

Self‑love

Self‑love must be uprooted, and the love of God take its place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are. Then the same principle that enables us to see our imperfections will destroy them. When the light of truth has risen within us, then we see clearly what is there. Then we love ourselves without partiality, without flattery, as we love our neighbor.

Francois Fenelon

Sex

Sex is not a matter of commitment but one of self‑expression and play and exploration and learning and joyful abandon.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The supposed uncontrollable sexual urges of the body are in fact the reflection of the compulsive drives of an empty, isolated, threatened ego, trying to fill up its emptiness or protect its unstable, unreal self and the world against the shattering impact of genuine feeling. What are called sexual problems are problems of the total personality . . . When genuine, sex is a privileged expression of love. . . . Sex in its genuine form as sensuous love is sacramental in its power to move persons out of self‑centeredness into an openness in which they meet God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

That longing for the other as a lost part of oneself is not the same as the desire to possess another in order to fill one’s own emptiness. . . . Sexual love, then, is not a remedy for an inadequacy of the self in its individual being, but a going beyond the individual self once securely established.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

As sensuous, we allow the spontaneous sexual responsiveness of the body to hold sway and suspend the controlling and driving empetus of the rational mind and will.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

When the value of human sexuality is repressed, it returns as pornography.  When we try to take sex away from love, we succeed only in taking love away from sex.  Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 160

Sexual love and God

Since indeed God cannot be apprehended as an object, the love of God arises in us only as a vista, an endlessly receding horizon, beyound some human love. It is the transcendent dynamic of human love itself that makes it appropriate to speak of love of God. So, without the reality of human love, love of God would have no meaning.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Speaking of traditional Christian commentary on Song of Solomon, but rejection of physical sexuality, Charles Davis, Body as Spirit, responds: “There is nothing unhealthy in an eroticism that sees in sexual love a dynamic that both expresses and mediates man’s highest aspirations as a bodily person. But there is something unhealthy and corrupt in an eroticism that shrinks from the reality of sex while using its language and imagery.”

See “Symbol”

Sexual love, then, made into a symbol of divine love, may be a fantasy replacing the reality of s4exual love itself. This makes divine love a phatasmal relation, to be left behind as one grows toward maturity and health. But sexual love as a symbol of divine love may be the very reality of sexual love when rendered transparent in its meaning as the embodiment and expression, the felt dynamism of the love of God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sexual love is of its nature a symbol of union with God, because for bodily persons it is a liberating force that leads to God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit, speaks of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as representative of the traditional attitude of preoccupation of control, sex, as our instinct gone wrong; as an appetite that must be brought under control, as also seen in Lewis’ book The Great Divorce. If there is to be a rich and genuine human responsiveness to reality in feeling; an openness to the joys and delights, the pain, suffering, and stress of human bodily experience; and an ability to relate to others in a free communication; then there must be a basic acceptance of sexuality and of the tone and quality with which it marks the totality of human living. This basic acceptance implies being in harmony and at ease with manifestations of sex more specific thatn the sexual coloring of all human experience.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sex and Marriage

Christianity, and more particularly St. Paul, introduced an entirely novel view of marriage, that it existed not primarily for the procreation of children, but to prevent the sin of fornication. (I Cor. vii. 1‑9.)

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Sexual love is of its nature a symbol of union with God, because for bodily persons it is a liberating force that leads to God. . . . Genuine eros or sexual love is only possible where there is a degree of maturity. That longing for the other as a lost part of oneself is not the same as the desire to possess another in order to fill one’s own emptiness. . . . Sexual love, then, is not a remedy for an inadequacy of the self in its individual being, but a going beyond the individual self once securely established.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sexual mores

Sexual love, unconditioned culturally and untrammeled by institutions, is not a reality but a creation of fantasy. . . . While I consider “free love” or “natural sex” without laws or institutions immature fantasies, I do not regard any of the laws, institutions, and customs regulating sexual activity as absolute. Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Skepticism

See “Man, Hope for”, “Dogma”, “Certainty” and “Tolerance”

Sin

Sin is anything which separates us from the love of God.

Melvin Nida

Edwin Robertson, writing of Bonhoeffer’s later concept of sin: “Man is certainly a sinner, but his sin lies not in those weaknesses which can be spied out, but in his strength. Goethe and Napoleon were sinners, not because they were unfaithful husbands, but because of the use of their strength. The Bible never spies out little sins, it deals with more serious issues than the scandal columns of the newspapers.

The Shame and the Sacrifice

A simple definition of sin is behavior that tends to destroy oneself and others.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy

Sin means ‑ to quote John Wren‑Lewis ‑ that ‘human beings have voluntarily used those higher potentialities to create false ways of living in which the higher potentialities are denied.’

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

The Bible uses several words for sin. The most important is hata, “to miss” (a goal or the road; for instance, Prov. 19:2, “He who makes haste with his feet misses”). Another, avon, means “iniquity,” “guilt,” or “punishment” and has its root meaning “to err” (from the road). A third term is pesha, usually translated as “transgression,” used in the sense of rebellion.

Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

[See also “Repentance” and “God, Forgiveness”]

The real sin of the world is not the little moral wrongs we do, but a total reality we get caught in: structural or systemic sin; that which is done to us, by reason of our condition ‑ the traditional notion of original sin.

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

We got preoccupied with imputing guilt, we should confess the sin. But the original use of “sin”was simply naming a reality: what is happening that is so blinding, so addicting, keeping people from feeling, thinking their thoughts, keeping them addicted?

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Until the demon is named, the darkness is recognized, it will trap us.

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Romans 7: “Why do I do what I don’t want to do?” Romans 8: “This I know, in Christ there is no condemnation.”

John Bunyan on sin:

No sin is little itself; because it is a contradiction of the nature and majesty of God.

Sins go not alone, but folow one another as do the links of a chain.

One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner.

He that lives in sin and hopes for happiess hereafter, is like him that soweth cockle and thinks to fill his barn with wheat and barley.

Crush sin in the conception, lest it bring forth death in thy soul.

Sin is nothing else than that the creature wills other than God wills, and contrary to Him.

Theologia Germanica

See also “Certainty” and “Tolerance”

Sin, Confession of

To confess our sins is to name them: this is what I am doing, this is what I am, this is what I am becoming. . . . Confession is a fearless moral inventory: Admit to God, admit to self, admit to another.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

We do not come to God by getting rid of sin; rather we come to God through our sin and our brokenness.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Sin, Original

We human beings do not live in sin.  We are not born in sin.  We do not need to have the stain of our original sin washed away in baptism.  We are not fallen creatures who will lose salvation if we are not baptized.  Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 98

Song of Songs

Bonhoeffer said he would rather read Song of Songs as a straight love poem, “that is probably the best “Christological” exposition.

Soul

Jung: the soul cannot exist in peace until it finds its other.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

This soul which is a synthetic unity in action, escapes the grasp of Science, whose work is essentially that of analyzing things in their elements and their material antecedents; only intuition and philosophical reflection can discover it.

Nicolas Corte quoting Teilhard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life and Spirit

According to St. Thomas the soul is not transmitted with the semen, but is created afresh with each man. There is, it is true, a difficulty: when a man is born out of wedlock, this seems to make God an accomplice in adultery. This objection, however, is only specious. There is a grave objection which troubled St. Augustine, and that is as to the transmission of original sin. It is the soul that sins, and if the soul is not transmitted, but created afresh, how can it inherit the sin of Adam? This is not discussed by St. Thomas.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

You know the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . . There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning. You should realize that your soul suffers if you live superficially. People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their inmost selves. It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self‑awareness. And finally when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen anymore. They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost. But as for you, resolve to keep a quiet time both in your homes and here within these peaceful walls when the bells ring on Sundays. Then your souls can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Albert Schweitzer

It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won’t realize until it will be too late. And others harm their souls even without being exposed to great temptations. They simply let their souls wither.

Albert Schweitzer

What does the word “soul” mean? . . . No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is the burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it ‑ to remain children of light.

Albert Schweitzer

Soul, its seat

Novalis said, “The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Spirit

Jung: it is no accident so many languages use the form of “spirit” for liquor.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Spirit means breath, and mind means measure, and thinking points to a thing; nevertheless these are the crass media thrugh which the sould must express itself. ‑Durant on Bergson Spirituality, and the center The shift from a geocentric to heliocentric world view seemed to have removed man from the center ‑ and the center seemed so important. Spiritually, however, the center is where sight is. The result is an unprecedented expansion of horizon.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Spirit, and determinism

Spirit will always, as it has so far, succeed in standing up to determinism and chance. It represents the indestructible part of the universe.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin quoting Teilhard.

Spirit, and Matter

“The cosmic Sense and the Christly Sense definitely coexisted in my heart and irresistibly drew towards each other.” In later life Teilhard wrote, “In fact, and even at the highest point of my spiritual trajectory, I only find myself completely at ease when bathed in an ocean of Matter.”

Teilhard quoted by Nicolas Corte, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life and Spirit

Teilhard de Chardin outlines “The Atomism of Spirit” pp. 21‑57 (1941):

  1. A starting point: the fact and the problem of the plurality of man
  2. First preliminary observations: the dimensional zones of the universe
  3. Second preliminary observation: the complexity of living matter
  4. The shaft of light: complexity and consciousness Consciousness as an effect of complexity
  5. Moleculization and hominization: noogenesis ‘Complexity = Centricity = Consciousness’ (1) ‘Synthesis = Centration = Interiorization’ (2)
  6. The continuation of the movement: the spirit of the earth VII. The breakthrough ahead, and
    reversal upon omega point
  7. Atom‑consciousness and ‘omegalization’

Ever since man reflected, and the more he reflected, the opposition between spirit and matter has constantly risen up as an ever higher barrier across the road that climbs up to a better awareness of the universe: and in this lies the deep‑rooted origin of all our troubles.

Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy p. 23

The senses are the organs through which the live creature participates directly in the goings of the world about him. Experience is the result, the sign, and the reward of the interaction of the organism and environment which, when it is carried to the full, is a transformation of interaction into participation and communication. Oppositions of mind and body, soul and matter, spirit and flesh all have their origin, fundamentally, in fear of what life may bring forth.

John Dewey, Art as Experience

Note also the “Mass upon Things” of Teilhard de Chardin to which Nicolas Corte, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: his Life and Spirit refers in his quote of Teilhard at page 26: “As I pray, I gradually work out a bit better my ‘Mass upon Things.’ It seems to me that in a sense the true elements that have to be consecrated every day are the growth of the world that day: the bread symbolizing appropriately what creation manages to produce, the wine (blood) what it loses, through exhaustion and suffering in its labor.”

The introduction of the supernatural into belief and the all too human easy reversion to the supernatural is much more an affair of the psychology that generates works of art than of effort at scientific and philosophic explanation. Theologies and cosmogonies have laid hold of imagination because they have been attended with solemn processions, incense, embroidered robes, music, the radiance of colored lights, with stories that stir wonder and induce hypnotic admiration. That is, they have come to man through a direct appeal to sense and to sensuous imagination.

John Dewey, Art as Experience

Henry Adams made it clear that the theology of the middle ages is a demonstration of the power of sense to absorb the most highly spiritualized ideas. Pater is quoted to say, “The Christianity of the middle ages made its way partly by its esthetic beauty, a thing so profoundly felt by the Latin hymn writers, who for one moral or spiritual sentiment had a hundred sensuous images. [See Aguido, who would affirm the sensuous.]

John Dewey, Art as Experience

John Dewey, Art as Experience, cites Keats to make the following point: all reasoning in search of truth must include imagination; otherwise, it becomes sterile. Keats:

Beauty is truth, truth beauty ‑ that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

For Bergson, the propulsive life was best known in the living of it, “bathing in the full stream of experience.”

Foreword to Creative Evolution

See also “Duality”

Spiritual growth

Is it possible that the path of spiritual growth leads first out of superstition into agnosticism and then out of agnosticism toward an accurate knowledge of God?

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, quotes Sufi Aba Said ibn Abi‑l‑Khair who wrote nine hundred years ago,

Until college and minaret have crumbled

This holy work of ours will not be done.

Until faith becomes rejection, and rejection becomes belief

There will be no true Muslim.

Idries Shah, The Way of the Sufi (New York: Sutton paperback, 1970) p. 44

Spiritual Communion, Power

The older we grow the more we realize that true power and happiness come tous only from those who spiritually mean something to us. Whether they are near or far, still alive or dead, we need them if we are tofind our way through life. The good we bear within us can be turned into life and action only when they are near to us in spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

What tremendous inner power exists inspiritual communio with another man! How pitiable and destitute men are when they are spiritually alone, when they have no one to understand them and encourage them. Doubly pitiable if theydon’t even feel the need for it!

Albert Schweitzer

Suffering

The beginning of liberation lies in man’s capacity to suffer, and he suffers if he is oppressed, physically and spiritually.

Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

. . . [F]rom the most distant reaches in which life appears to us, it has never succeeded in rising up except by suffering, and through evil ‑ following the way of the Cross.

Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy

The Pascal mystery is that Christ has died, Christ has risen, He will come again: We want to do away with the pain of death; like Thomas needed to put his hand in the Savior’s wound, so must we recognize the pain. The place of the wound is the place of healing. The place of the break becomes the place of strength.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Life is difficult. Once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Carl Jung: “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Discipline is the technique of suffering by which we experience the pain of problems in such a way as to work them through and solve them successfully, learning and growing in the process. These disciplines are:

(1) delaying gratification,

(2) acceptance of responsibility,

(3) dedication to truth, and

(4) balancing

The problem lies not in the complexity of these tools but in the will to use them.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to life. In developing the capacity of postponed gratification there is evidence that genetics may play a role, although unclear; but most of the signs rather clearly point to the quality of parenting as the determinant.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The best decision‑makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The attempt to avoid legitimate suffering lies at the root of all emotional illness.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

We are not lords, but instruments in the hand of the Lord of history. . . . We are not Christs, but if we want to be Christians we must show something of Christ’s breadth of sympathy by acting responsibly, by grasping our “hour,” by facing dangers like free men, by displaying a real sympathy which springs not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. To look on without lifting a helping hand is most unChristian. The Christian does not have to wait until he suffers himself; the sufferings of his brethren for whom Christ died are enough to awaken his active sympathy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The passing centuries have shown us that suffering still prevails on earth, and those very ones who confess their faith in the Lord and his kingdom must suffer more than the rest. And yet Jesus says: “Blessed are those who suffer.” . . . Our thinking about suffering is changed by this Beatitude.

Schweitzer, Sermon “Creative Suffering,” 1900

There is no answer to the question that haunts every man in his affliction. So men began to go astray. There is no God, they said. [Or in the alternative, for those who had to explain suffering, but believed in God,] they saw in all suffering a trial sent by God. “Blessed are those who suffer.” Only now do we really understand what he meant. He is saying: Don’t vex your minds by trying to explain the suffering you have to endure in this life. Don’t despair. . . . Even in the midst of your suffering you are in his kingdom You are always his children, and he has his protecting arm around you. Everything comes from God. Don’t ask why; don’t try to understand. . . . Yet, blessed are those who suffer.

Schweitzer, Sermon “Creative Suffering,” 1900

Schweitzer’s sermon “Ye Shall Be Exalted” was based upon John 12:32‑33. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Many times we admire a noble person and say to ourselves ‑ and really mean it ‑ here is a quality we would like to possess. But we lack the strength. . . . The Lord will draw us after him into suffering. . . . We too must all pass through suffering. We must not tremble or ask questions. We must know that misfortune is part of what it means to be a Christian and that Jesus draws us with him into his suffering. And why? Because suffering is exaltation. . . . In pain we discover the existence of something higher than earthly happiness and physical contentment. Then we can gradually detach ourselves from those things which hold our senses captive here below; we set our eyes on the eternal and other‑worldly and strive to rise higher and higher. . . . Whatever we suffer and endure, the hand of our Savior grasps us,and his voice says to us: Higher, ever higher.

Schweitzer, Sermon “We Shall Be Exalted”

[I wonder, with the diminishing pain of my loss of the judgeship, and rejection by my profession and peers, although stirred occasionally by events, such as the appointment yesterday of Gary Washburn, if I may lose some of that exaltation, that higher vision, that may come with suffering. I must never turn my back on suffering for the eternal, but neither should I seek suffering. Rather, these moments of settlement may be moments to recharge for more work, whether or not greater, and more suffering. But with this view of Schweitzer’s the pain may not appear so devastating ‑ not the end, nor necessarily the beginning, but part of the process of growth. RW 4‑7‑92]

Surrender

As a culture we fix and manage: we believe that society is in progressive and perpetual movement to perfection. We think that we can fix the sole (soul). How difficult in that mentality of fix and manage is it to surrender. Until we go through the hole in the soul we cannot know surrender.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Symbol, and feelings

There are two opposing ways in which symbols may function in our conscious life. They may be a flight from reality; in that case they serve as a substitute for feelings. They are a way of acting out needs, desires, sensations and emotions one does not allow oneself to feel. [In that sense, Freud saw symbols as a sign of a divided self.] . . . But symbols may function in a different manner. They are, then, feelings made explicit and conscious. . . Feelings are the result of a connaturality between the subject and objective reality. . . . Thus, once the current of feeling flows freely, symbols cease to be an acting out of what remains unfelt and become the transparency of actions and things to the meaning embodied in feelings and shared by their objects. Symbols, in that sense, are not a substitute for reality, but reality itself as responded to or felt, as expressive, as dynamic.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Syncretism

Campbell says a superficial combining of myths not grounded in life experiences from which they arise is error.

Minjung Theology, however, holds that where the elements are grounded in life, or where old myths apply to present life experiences, with respect for the indigenous culture, the myths can become new and combined with other myths in a new religious experience grounded in the experience of its people.

Links to my site:

Introduction https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

Quotes That I Have Gathered – R

Realism and illness

In their unsuccessful effort to fulfill their needs, no matter what behavior they choose, all patients have a common characteristic: they all deny the reality of the world around them.

Scott Peck? Or reality therapy, Glasser?

Relativity

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, speaks of relativity:

For Newton, time and space formed an absolute framework within which the material events of the world ran their course in imperturbable order. His is a God’s eye view of the world: it looks the same way to every observer, wherever he is and however he travels. By contrast, Einstein’s is a man’s eye view, in which what you see and what I see is relative to each of us, that is, to our place and speed. And this relativity cannot be removed. We cannot know what the world is like in itself, we can only compare what it looks like to each of us, by the practical procedure of exchanging messages.

Like Newton and all scientific thinkers, Einstein was in a deep sense a unitarian. That comes from a profound insight into the processes of nature herself, but particularly into the relations between man, knowledge, nature. Physics is not events but observations. Relativity is the understanding of the world not as events but as relations.

Religion

Eric Fromm defined it as that which gives man orientation and an object of devotion.

Eric Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion

J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic, defines religion as an attitude toward that which is believed to be ultimate evoking responses of awe and reverence which in turn effect and set standards for behavior.

Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads as long as we reach the same goal. In reality there are as many different religions as there are individuals.

Gandhi

To connect with the great river we all need a path, but when you get down there there’s only one river.

Matthew Fox

I cannot speak of religion but I must lament that among so many pretenders to it so few understand what it means; some placing it in the understanding, in orthodox notions and opinions; and all the account they can give of their religion is that they are of this or the other persuasion. . . . Others place it in the outward man, in a constant course of external duties and a model of performances; if they live peaceably with their neighbors, keep a temperate diet, observe the returns of worship, frequenting the church or their closet, and sometimes extend their hands to the relief of the poor, they think they have sufficiently acquitted themselves. Others again put all religion in the affections, in rapturous hearts and ecstatic devotion; and all they aim at is to pry with passion and to think of heaven with pleasure, and to be affected with those kind and melting expressions wherewith they court their Savior til they persuade themselves that they are mightily in love with him, and from thence assume a great confidence of their salvation, which they esteem the chief of Christian graces.

Thus are those things which have any resemblance of piety, and at the best are but means of obtaining it or particular exercises of it, frequently mistaken for the whole of religion; nay, sometimes widkedness and vice pretend to that name. . . . [T]here are too many Christians who would consecrate their vices and hallow their corrupt affections . . .

True religion is a union of the sould with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upothe sould, or, in the apostle’s phrase, it is Christ formed within us. Briefly, I know not how the nature of religion can be more fully expressed than by calling it a divine life. . . .

I choose to express it by the name of life; First, because of its permanence and stability. Religion is not a sudden start or passion of the mind; not though it should rise to the height of a rapture and seem to transport a man to extraordinary performances.

Henry Scougal

Religion and language

Paul Tillich was acutely aware that contemporary Protestantism is moribund, largely because the language of tradition speaks little to believers, let alone those outside the church. He asserts protestantism has almost exhausted itself by its identification with dominant powers in the environment: convulsive nationalism and bourgeois interests. Hence the need for radical protest, which must include rejection of outdated terminology. We must speak to our present condition.

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion, summarizes, “New life demands new words ‑ first to slay death and then to summon daring novelty.”

Tillich opined that the traditional language of theology, despite any value it may have to the expert, tends to create a gulf between church and world, theologian and layman. That language often obscures and even perverts the essential message of the church.

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion.

Tillich says, “Insofar as our understanding of the words of the Bible requires us to separate ourselves from the here‑and‑now, from our own contemporaneity, they are not the Word of God.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

Tillich stated, “This method is intended only as an attempt that will be followed by other and better ones, so that we may see with our own eyes and name with our own words that which is not bound to any time or any eye or any word.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

Religion and life

“In our family there was no clear line between religion and a trout line.”

The opening line to his book, A River Runs Through It

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. . . . Fear is the basis of the whole thing ‑ fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. . . . Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look round for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the Churches in all these centuries have made it.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Tillich, “Religious knowledge is knowledge of reality.” James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

Tillich: “Something very tragic tends to happen in all periods of man’s spiritual life: truths once deep and powerful, discovered by the great geniuses with profound suffering and incredible labor, become shallow and superficial when used in daily conversation. How can this happen? It can happen and it unavoidably happens, because there is no depth without the way to depth. Truth without the way to truth is dead; and if it is still used, in detachment, it contributes only to the surface of things.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

Tillich would approach reality by an immediate approach through “phenomenological intuition.” “We turn neither to the authorities nor to religious consciousness, but immediately to the whole of reality, and endeavor to uncover the level of reality which is intended by the religious act.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

I should classify as pre‑religious all those feelings that express an awareness of human limits or finitude.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Religion and mysticism

Religions are addressing social problems and ethics instead of the mystical experience.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Religion and science

It is fashionable to state that religion and science can never clash because they deal with different topics. I believe that solution is entirely mistaken.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

See also Kuhn’s Does God Exist which deals with faith at the limits of knowledge; also Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time

Religion, progress in

The progress of religion is defined by the denunciation of gods. The keynote of idolatry is contentment with the prevalent gods. . . . The factor of human life provocative of noble discontent is the gradual emergence into prominence of a sense of criticism, founded upon appreciations of beauty, and of intellectual distinction, and of duty.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

I hazard the prophecy that that religion will conquer which can render clear to popular understanding some eternal greatness incarnate in the passage of temporal fact.

Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Religion and the secular

Paul Tillich’s theological writings are almost secular so that Tillich is sometimes spoken of as an apostle to the Gentiles.

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

In “Belief‑ful Realism,” Tillich sets out his ideas without the use of “religious” symbols. The method of phenomenological intuition insists that the real basis of theological thought is human existence itself and not certain sacrosanct words fixed by the crust of habit or the tradition of schools. The methods of the schools derive concepts from concepts instead of from objects.

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

See, also Bonhoeffer

Religion and Social Change

While Luther received his inspiration regarding the reformation in a cloistered room, Muentzer received the need for revolution by participating in the social movements of his time. Consequently, while Luther’s reformation, by disregarding the dimension of social reformation, brought into being a church for citizens of the middle class, Muentzer pushed simultaneously for a religious reformation and for a social reformation which would secure the rights of the urban poor and the peasants. He said, “All the members of society must have the power of the word. Then the minjung become free and only God remains the Lord of the minjung.”

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

For Muentzer, the struggle for social reformation needs the inner purification of the person, and personal religious salvation itself cannot be realized without revolutionary action. . . . He moved toward an understanding of the universal church of the Holy Spirit. In this respect, he is a pioneer of the theology of secularization and of the contemporary theology of the minjung.

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

Religion and Supernaturalism

The fact that Barth, though his supernaturalism and his static confessionalism, has set himself against everything theology concerned with “the actual state of reality and with its transformation: is for Tillich “the most painful and downright disastrous event in recent Protestant theology.”

James Luther Adams, Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion

Religion and truth

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck to its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

In his book Why I Am Not a Christian, Bertrand Russell reaffirmed his basic conviction that ‘all religions are both harmful and untrue’. Religion, if it is not to be harmful, must be free of dangerous elements ‑ suspicion, fear, and hate ‑ which lead step by step to escalate organized persecution.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Religion, its highest message

There is the highest message of religion: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these. . . . ”

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Repentance

The meaning of sin as missing the right road corresponds to the term for repent, which is shuv, meaning to return. There is no need for contrition or self‑accusation in the Jewish concept. Man is free and independent. He is even independent from God. Hence his sin is his sin, his return is his return, and there is no reason for self‑accusatory submission.

Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

See also “Sin” and “God, Forgiveness”

Ezekiel 18:23 expresses the principle beautifully: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not rather that he should return from his ways and live?”

Responsibility

Responsibility is the ability to fulfill one’s needs in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs.

Glasser, Reality Therapy.

The problem of distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. It is never completely solved. To make this assessment and reassessment requires a willingness and the capacity to suffer continual self‑examination.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity, be it “fate” or “society” or the government or the corporation or our boss. It is for this reason that Eric Fromm so aptly titled his study of Nazism and authoritarianism Escape from Freedom.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Frequently our choices lie between the lesser of two evils, but it is still within our power to make these choices.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

(See Bonhoeffer: “Sin and sin boldly, but love Christ more boldly still.”)

Responsibility and illness

People do not act irresponsibly because they are ill; they are ill because they act irresponsibly.

Dr. Wm. Glasser, Reality Therapy

Responsibility, parental

Parents who are willing to suffer the pain of the child’s intense anger by firmly holding him to the responsible course are teaching him a lesson that will help him all his life.

Glasser, Reality Therapy

Taking the responsible course will never permanently alienate the child.

Glasser, Reality Therapy

Responsibility, personal

Freud tells us to blame our parents for all the short‑comings of our life, and Marx tells us to blame the upper class or our society. But the only one to blame is oneself. That’s the helpful thing about the Indian idea of Karma. Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Revelation

Revelation as a real “public disclosure” is actually accomplished only in the response of faith from within a very concrete situation with its own conceptual horizon and field of questioning. And our questioning is other than those of times past.

Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus

Reverence for Life

The deeper we look intonature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly weknow that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life.

Albert Schweitzer

All thinking must renounce the attempt to explain the universe. . . . The spirit of the universe is at once destructive and creative ‑ it creates while it destroys, and destroys while it creates . . . and we must inevitably resign ourselves to this. ‑ Albert Schweitzer Reverence for life comprises the whole ethic of love in its deepest and highest sense. It is the source of constant renewal for the individual and for mankind.

Albert Schweitzer

Just as white light consists of colored rays, so Reverence for Life contains all the components of ethics; love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness, power to forgive.

Albert Schweitzer

Nature looks beautiful and marvelous when youview it fromthe outside. But when you read its pages like a book, it is horrible. And its cruelty is so senseless! The most precious form of life is sacrificed to the lowliest.

Albert Schweitzer

We, too, are under the painful law of necessity when, to prolong our own existence, we must bring other creatures to a painful end. But we should never cease to consider this as something tragic and incomprehensible.

Albert Schweitzer

Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called in diminishing the pain of others.

Albert Schweitzer [Schweitzer refers to the “fellowship of those who bear the Mark of Pain.”]

Ritual

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, speaks of the making of the Japanese sword since AD 800: “The making of the sword, like all ancient metallurgy, is surrounded with ritual, and that is for a clear reason. When you have no written language, when you have nothing that can be called a chemical formula, then you must have a precise ceremonial which fixes the sequence of operations so that they are exact and memorable. . . . So there is a kind of laying on of hands, an apostolic succession, by which one generation blesses and gives to the next the materials, blesses the fire, and blesses the sword‑maker.

Links to my site:

Introduction https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

Quotes That I Have Gathered – P

Paradise

What is Paradise? All things that are; for all are goodly and pleasant, and therefore may fitly be called a paradise. It is said also that Paradise is an outer court of heaven. Even so, this world is verily an outer court of the Eternal or of eternity, and especially whatever in time or any temporal things or creatures manifests or reminds us of God or eternity; for the creatures are a guide and a path unto God and eternity. thus this world is an outer court of eternity, and therefore it may well be called a paradise, for it is such in truth. . . . [o]f all things that are, nothing is forbidden and nothing is contrary to God but one thing only: that is self‑will, or to will otherwise than as the Eternal Will would have it.

Theologia Germanica.

Peace

Pope’s Peace Points of Christmas, 1940, as extended by letter in The Times 21 December 1940 of the English church leaders:

1. The crying inequality in the standard of life and possessions must be abolished;

2. Every child, of whatever race or color, is to have the same opportunities for education;

3. The family is to be protected as a social unit;

4. The consciousness of divine calling is to be restored to human work;

5. The natural treasures of the earth are to be safeguarded, with due regard to future generations, as God’s gifts to all mankind.

Edwin Robertson, The Shame and the Sacrifice

The perfect state of mind and body and speech . . . is always a case of intense mental struggle.

Gandhi

Philosophy

There can be no successful democratic society till general education conveys a philosophic outlook.

Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

[Philosophy] is a survey of possibilities and their comparison with actualities. . . . Its gifts are insight and foresight, and a sense of the worth of life, in short, that sense of importance which nerves all civilized effort. . . . But when civilization culminates, the absence of a coordinating philosophy of life, spread throughout the community, spells decadence, boredom, and the slackening of effort.

Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Rideau says in The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin we should remember, however, that one of the properties of every philosophy is that it bears the mark of one man’s character, and reflects a personal choice.

Philosophy is an attempt to develop a coherent understanding of the whole of human experience as reflected in man’s relationship to the world. J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic

J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic, quotes E.S. Brighton: “Philosophy differs from religion in that religion consists of attitudes of concern, devotion or worship, and conduct, whereas philosophy is a rational understanding. . . .

” It is not the function of philosophy ‑ so they maintain ‑ teach something that uneducated people do not know; on the contrary, its function is to teach superior persons that they are not as superior as they thought they were, and those who are REALLY superior can show their skill by making sense of common sense.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Love and knowledge and delight in beauty are not negations; they are enough to fill the lives of the great men that have ever lived.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Philosophy, catch phrases

One would think that Descartes lived just to emit a line of staggering profundity: “I think, therefore I am.” . . . I find it difficult to be impressed by “I think, therefore I am.” One might as well say, “I have a toothache, therefore I exist.” These catchwords are tricky things, I don’t think they serve the cause of creative thought in philosophy.

Albert Schweitzer

Philosophy, definition of

[Philosophy is in the field of speculation where one goes out to look for oneself what the world is, and what it is about. It asks the following questions:]

1. . . . [W]hat is the meaning of life, if indeed it have any at all. Has the world a purpose, does the unfolding of history lead somewhere, or are these senseless questions?

2. There there are problems such as whether nature really is ruled by laws, or whether we merely think this is so because we we like to see things in some order. Again, there is the general query whether the world is divided into two disparate parts, mind and matter, and, if so, how they hang together.

3. And what are we to say of man? Is he a speck of dust crawling helplessly on a small and unimportant planet, as the astronomers see it? Or is he, as the chemist might hold, a heap of chemicals put together in some cunning way? Or finally, is a man what he appears to Hamlet, noble in reason, infinite in faculty? Is man, perhaps, all of these at once?

4. Along with this are the ethical questions about good and evil. Is there a way of life that is good, and another that is bad, or is it indifferent how we live?

Bertrand Russell

Philosophy, and observation

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, is critical of philosophers who claim they have a better road to knowledge than that of observation. He particularly attacked Hegel, who had attempted to prove philosophically there could only be seven planets ‑ as the eight was discovered.

Philosophy, universal phenomenology

Reality presents itself to experience as an immense sum of phenomena, belonging to different levels of beings, and forming one organic structural whole, potentially intelligible. . . . Phenomenology is positive and scientific. But it goes beyond to the logical reason for the real and finds the ultimate criterion of truth in the “total coherence of the universe. . . . It is inspired by fundamental choice: the affirmation of being.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

The time of the world, far from being an indefinite oscillation or flow, is a genesis and its passage is not the logical unfolding of something pre‑contained but the creative new production of an increase of being.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

Phenomenology must necessarily be universal and synthetic of the whole. It rejects dualism of matter and spirit: it affirms a fundamental link between man and the world, body to soul.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

Teilhard de Chardin’s phenomenology includes

1. cosmology ‑ natural philosophy of matter and life based upon data of science

2. anthropology ‑ science of man, his nature and existential vocation

3. metaphysics ‑ science of the origin of being and the absolute conditions of existence: here philosophy affirms God by reason

4. Ontology ‑ science of being, of its degrees or levels (Teilhard calls them spheres)

5. Theology ‑ science of what we receive from revelation. In Teilhard, theology is carried further by spirituality

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

Teilhard’s quest has an existential character in that it centers on the problem of men’s fulfillment in solidarity with the universe, and defines the conditions of that fulfillment.

Teilhard rejects from the outset the Kantian inquiry, “What can we know?” The world is presented to knowledge, subject to the necessary methods. . . . His ideas do not exist in a world apart from matter, but emanate from observations of matter and experience.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

Piety

I acknowledge that you ought not to act before the public a scene of ostentatious conversion, which might produce ill‑natured remarks. True piety never demands these demonstrations. Two things only are necessary; the one is, not to set a bad example, that we may never have to blush for the religion of Jesus; the other is to do without affectation and without eclat whatever a sincere love to God demands.

Francois Fenelon

Power, coercive power and the messianic time

The prophets are revolutionaries who rob force and power of their moral and religious disguises:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer: you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

Isaiah 58:1‑10 quoted by Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

Prayer

You are your prayers. This is why we can pray without ceasing. It is a will toward conformity with God.

Margaret Suchocki

So praying and living deeply, richly, and fully have become for me almost indistinguishable.  Perhaps, I conclude, that is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17 KJV) or “constantly” (RSV).  We are to llive as if everything we say and do is a prayer, calling others to life, to love, and to being.

I can only imagine, I could never guarantee, that when life is lived this way, an enormous amount of spiritual energy is loosened into the body politic of the whole society. I can imagine that this energy is an agent in bringing wholeness and even healing. . . . All I know is that when I express my love, concern, and caring in thought, in word, and in deed, then somehow that expression has the opportunity to make a difference. . . .

Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, pp. 144, 145.

Unnamed sin is perpetuated sin.

Margaret Suchocki

Do not be discouraged at your faults; bear with yourself in correcting them, as you would with your neighbor. Lay aside this ardor of mind which exhausts your body and leads you to commit errors. Accustom yourself gradually to carry prayer into your daily occupations. Speak, move, act in peace, as if you were in prayer. In truth, this is prayer.

Do everything without eagerness, as if by the spirit of God. As soon as you perceive your natural impetuosity impelling you, retire into the sanctuary, where dwells the Father of spirits. Listen to what you hear there, and then neither say nor do anything but what He dictates to your heart.

You will find that you will become more tranquil; that your words will be fewer and more to the purpose, and that with less effort you will accomplish more good. I do not recommend here a perpetual struggle of the understanding for something impracticable, but a habit of quietness and peace in which you may take counsel of God with regard to duty. . . . [W]ait for the favorable moment when the voice within may speak. . . . Endeavor to acquire a habit of looking to this light within you; then all your life will gradually become a prayer. You may suffer, but you will find peace in suffering.

Francois Fenelon

Kinds of prayer:

1. [T]here is one sort of prayer wherein we make use of the voice, which is necessary in public, and may sometimes have its own advantages in private; and

2. another wherein, though we utter no sound, yet we conceive the expressions and form the words, as it were, in our minds;

3. so there is a third and more sublime kind of prayer wherein the soul takes a higher flight, and having collected all its forces by long and serious meditation, it darts (if I may so speak) toward God in sighs and groans and thoughts too big for expression. This mental prayer is of all others the most effectual to purify the soul and dispose it unto a holy and religious temper . . . Yet I do not recommend this sort of prayer to supersede the use of the other; for we have so many things to pray for . . .

Henry Scougal

Prayer of Confession

Sin is a lie. Confessional prayer clears the path. To fail to consciously acknowledge our sin is to endorse the sin by omission.

Margaret Suchocki

The problem with confessing sin is that we must now do something about it. Confession calls us to restitution, correction.

Margaret Suchocki

Preaching

Preaching and teaching are subversive in the best sense: they strike at the roots of what we are.

Bill McElvaney, “Worship and Literature”, Fellowship of Learning, January 1989.

“Preferential option for the poor.”

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality, uses the phrase “preferential option for the poor” in relation to the twelve steps: “Until we recognize, love, forgive and embrace the poor part of yourself, you will not hear the gospel.” . . . The Church rediscovers Christ in the “least of these.” ‑ the only description Christ gave of the end days says we will be judged on the extent in which we saw Christ in “the least of these.” . . . We must discover the “hole in the sole (soul) where we are powerless/life is unmanageable, “I cannot do it.” What is not received is not redeemed. Until the hole in the soul is recognized, named, and owned, we cannot be redeemed.

Prejudice

Perhaps there is scarce any child of man that is not at some time a little touched by prejudice, so far at least as to be troubled, though not wounded. But it does not hurt unless it fixes upon the mind. It is not strength of understanding which can prevent this. The heart, which otherwise suffers most by it,makes the resistance which only is effectual. I cannot easily be prejudiced against any person whom I tenderly love till that love declines.

John Wesley

[Education is not the complete answer to prejudice. Witness Germany. I have said that values are at the root of it. Wesley says it is the heart. Priority of values is determined by need and desire.

RW 3‑28‑92]

Problems

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them. We must accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it. . . . Many avoid the pain of their problems by saying to themselves: “This problem was caused me by other people, or by social circumstances beyond my control, and therefore it is up to other people or society to solve this problem for me. It is not really my personal problem.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

 

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Quotes That I Have Gathered – O

Omega Point

Teilhard’s goal was to bridge science and philosophy. Biologists on the whole would likely accept the following propositions:

1. the increase of unification in structures as advance of life is achieved;

2. the correspondence between external complexity and level of interiority;

3. the dialectic of continuity and discontinuity: matter, life and mankind, although bound together as one are yet separated by thresholds.

For the majority of scientists these laws, which imply a belief in transformism, hold no difficulty in principle. The real quarrel comes when these propositions are taken to their extreme limit: Omega Point. This is contested not only by materialistic atheism, but by the scientific method itself. This affirmance is very important to Teilhard: a dynamic finality of the ascending movement of the cosmos implies a transcendent being. Pere Danielson was right in congratulating Teilhard on having, in the face of modern skepticism and the crisis that threatened truth (even scientific), laid down the metaphysical basis of truth.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin

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Quotes That I Have Gathered – N

Nations, strife

Schweitzer, noting two chickens fighting: “Big nations are like those chickens. They also like to make big noises.”

Best of Playboy Interviews, December 1963

Needs

Whereas Freud saw unmet needs in the neurotic to be sex and aggression, Glasser says they are needs of relatedness and respect. One effectively satisfies these needs by doing what is realistic, responsible and right.

Dr. Wm. Glasser, Reality Therapy

Responsibility is the ability to fulfill one’s needs in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs.

Dr. Wm. Glasser, Reality Therapy

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Introduction https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

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