Brent Meeker wrote:
> Tom Caylor wrote:
> >
> > OK.  I'll take the belief out of it for your convenience.
> >
> > 1) If the infinite personal God of love exists this makes it possible
> > for me to take my eyes off of myself, by looking at God (granted that
> > such a thing is allowed).  (not done yet)
> >
> > 2) If the infinite personal God of love does not exist, then looking at
> > God is just a weird way of looking at myself (the make-believe God
> > would be in my image, instead of visa versa).
> >
> > Both of the above statements are true.  We are talking about two
> > different underlying beliefs.  This is important.
> >
> > *But*, I am saying that if a personal God does not exist, modern
> > philosophy, literature, art, (and true theology in my view) etc. has
> > concluded that there is no basis for personal meaning and significance.
> >
> >> Just because *some* philosophers, writers, and artists (and *all* 
> >> theologians)
> >
> > I have to say that a huge percentage of theologians that have concluded
> > that you can provide your own meaning to life.
>
> All the theologians I know of (except maybe Bruno who has his own definition 
> of "theology") hold that God provides all meaning - in fact many regard that 
> as a kind of proof of the existence of God: "If God doesn't exist our lives 
> will have no meaning."  A kind of proof-by-nihilism.
>
> ...
>
> Brent Meeker
> "People are more unwilling to give up the word 'God' than to give up the idea 
> for which the word has hitherto stood"
>       --- Bertrand Russell

Brent (and also Bruno),

Schaeffer's trilogy I've referenced deals with modern theology's
abandonment of God (the personal God who is there and has communicated
and interacted with us, rather than just an idea).  Of course
theologians haven't given up the word 'God' or else they wouldn't be
called theologians.  As Bruno has mentioned, early Christianity was
influenced by ancient Greek thought, specifically the neo-Platonists,
but this was really in the use of their powerful reasoning tools.  The
content of Christianity remained based on the history-based Hebrew God.
 The Hebrew view of truth was based on historical facts, in modern
terms I guess "empirical evidence" would be sort of an analogue, but in
an open system where God is in control and is free to act, rather than
the modern closed system.

The modern abandonment started in philosophy around Kant, then with
Hegel's abandonment of antithesis, then with Kierkegaard's founding of
existentialism, where the history/fact-based view of truth was
abandoned in lieu of irrational (non-rational) ideas.  This abandonment
moved through art, music, and culture and finally theology.

So now a large percentage of theologians are existentialists (like most
of the rest of society) who use the word 'God' to refer to an idea that
is not based on the God who is there, but on ideas that they believe
work.  The modern meaning of "meaning" is a first-person feeling which
ultimately has no communicable rational meaning (as the existentialists
confirm) in the sense that science has meaning in that it can pursue
something based on reality.  Modern existentialist theology's faith is
a contentless faith, even though it uses words.  It has abandoned the
original faith in the personal God who is there and is not silent.
(Schaeffer's phrase "Is Not Silent" is an answer to Wittengenstein's
famous quote.)

Tom


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