Friday, March 30, 2012

How Can Good God Make Bad World?

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This is the progression of a discussion on CARM athiesit that has gone on for several threads. The atheist assert that God can't allow evil because good perfect God wouldn't allow anything bad. Of course we all know the world is can be horrible place so many of us ask this question.It's not just a question of doubt. It's a question we all ask. Those who care and who believe in God really struggle with answers, those who don't want answers only use it as a means of ridiculing the faithful. At one time or anohter in all our lives this becomes a serious question.

One problem with the atheists is that their view of the good is usually teleological, based upon outcomes, and their assumption about the nature of the good is utilitarian. So they only count as "good" the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Most of them think they understand how the world would be better than the one God created. A great many of them propose such ideas and some have a sense that if they can prove they could design a better world this disproves God. To say "my idea for a world is better than God's" one must make the same calculation God does. We can't do it becuase you are not even aware that one of the major aspects of the proportion is that this doesn't have to be a good world. We assume good God must make good world. that get's ratcheted down to best possible world." So they think if they can imagine a slightly better world they are better than God. (so to speak).

The original premise that Good God can't make bad world is wrong headed. Good God must make POTENTIALLY bad world to have moral universe. Not becuase we need evil to be good for some mystical reason but becuase moral universe means a universe in which we make moral choices. We can't make moral choices if we lack the real possibility of making evil/wrong choices. We have to live in an universe where evil is a real possibility. the calculation comes in where you try to decide is it worth it? I say only God can decide that. The concepts of good and evil can't be lmited to utlilarian ideology. Good is more than just avoidance of pain, evil more than the presence of pain. In my Augustinian view good is based upon love, (the background of the moral universe) and derives from the "will to the value, dignity, and well being of the other." Evil is the absences of good, therefore, the absence of love. Pain in a physical universe is necessitated for a couple of reasons:

(1) we have physical nerve endings and physical pain is so easy to come by; stub your toe you have pain.

(2) intervening variables such as the need for a moral universe which necessitates free will means that God must allow the presence of evil choices, evil choices usually have pain for someone as a consequence. The reason this must be is becuase without the ability to choose the wrong as well as the right the choice is not real an dis meaningless, the moral agent is not truely free. Since the point of creation is to have free moral agents that willing choose the good, blocking the ability to choose wrongly or blocking the consequences would be a negation of the reason for creation.

When I say God must do a calculation I mean he must do the calculation that says if the trouble to create and the pain it causes on a massive scale is worth it compared to not having any creation at all. Would it really be better not exist than to have pain in the world? I think God is only agent who can make that calculation. The reason the choice is one between nothing vs existence rather than the world we have vs. any better world is because God has to know the outcome. This is why saying "it's a fallen world" is not enough of an answer. God had to know it would be a fallen world. So the question then becomes why would God create a world that would fall? That goes back to the issue that any moral universe requires the necessity that God risk people choosing wrongly.

Since any universe with free agency would result in a fall, and since God is good and perfect and can't tolerate anything less, one screw up would invalidate the whole thing as a world of pain. That means the choice is a stark one between any creation vs none at all. The one peice of the puzzell the atheist utilitairian thinking can't accept or anticipate is the necessity of allowing evil due to intervening variables. If God chooses that a moral universe is worth the pain to have and it's a moral important goal than just straight avoidance of pain, then that's a reason why a good God has to allow a bad world for a time. We can't make that callcuation because we are the one's in the "experiment." We don't have God's complexity or understanding of forethought, or his reasons for creation:on principle lab rats cannot decide if the experiment was a success. Not that God only sees us as lab rats.

The utilitarian/teleological assumptions of the atheists lead them to think in terms of all or nothing and of instant gratification. While the Christian answers sees the necessity of going through the process of overcoming a fallen world.

some atheist comments on carm:



Originally Posted by Lance View Post
I wasn't particularly satisfied with the objections to the argument in Occam's thread. Let's start anew, as I think this argument deserves more discussion.

A logical argument from evil attempts to prove deductively that God does not exist using only claims that are logically necessary, essential to theism, or entailed by theism. Common wisdom has it that Plantinga refuted the logical argument from evil in his 1967 work God and Other Minds, but some philosophers disagree. The following version of the logical argument from evil was presented by Quentin Smith in 1997.
The problem with this assessment is that they don't' even deal with ideas that are essential to theism they mainly create their own straw man God who can't brook a single evil event then try to use that as a basis for saying "see God can't make a world like this." The reasons that would lead one to think he could completely elude them.

Quinton Smith's Argument:

(1) God exists and is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good.

Omnipotent does not mean able to violate logical necessity. God can't have his cake and eat it too. He can't create good agents who have free will but can't do evil. I think this premise is here so that the skeptic can claim that a good God could and would prevent evil regardless of FWD , then it's wrongheaded.

(2) There is evil.


naturally

(3) An omniscient and omnipotent [and wholly good] being eliminates every evil that it can properly eliminate.

That's the premise that is meant to dislodge god wiht the existence of any kind of evil. It also necessitates the all or nothing approach so that the calculation is bewteen "some creation" vs none at all.

"that he can properly eliminate" probalby means he can't eliminate it and allow free will. To have moral universe there must be the possibility of not choosing the good. that means moral decision making is a decision between good and evil.Choosing not to do the good is a choice to do evil if only by default.

that means a moral must of necessity allow evil choices! that defeats this premise an it defeats the argument.

i say with all sincerity QED!


(4) It is possible for God to create free humans who always do what is right without there being any natural evil, and if God creates these humans, it will not create natural evil.



wrong. To be a true choice they have able to reject the good. if they can't truly reject the good it's not a moral decision. Therefore, the premise is false.

(5) There is no evil. [entailed by (1), (3), and (4)]
they are false premises. I just disproved them.

(Source: The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, p. 169)


An evil that God can "properly eliminate," as the term is used above, is an evil whose destruction does not entail eliminating a greater good or creating greater evil.Thoughts?
Lance is pushing for the idea of God as evil. But he would eliminate a greater good if he didn't allow evil. He would eliminate the good moral decision making. That means that God is not evil just because he allows an evil world for a time. The atheists are here missing several key concepts, so the claim using only claims that are logically necessary, essential to theism they don't do either one. For example the concept of redemption and also that of refining completely allude them. They posit ideas such as limited free will. The agent would have the freedom to choose the good but always and only choose good. But the choice isn't' real unless he possibility of coshing evil could really result in evil. If God blocked that it would mean blocking a higher good, that of free moral agency and a moral universe. Moral universe is one in which free moral agents freely choose the good. The choice is not free if the possibility of screwing it up is not real.


Originally Posted by simplelife View Post
Meta, I have to disagree. Why can God not arrange things such that people always freely choose good (by supplying adequate information, environment, motivation etc) to always choose good of their own free will?

Meta:
Choosing good is NOT just a matter of education. No matter much information we posses you can't overcome self interest. That's the point of a decision process you have to choose yourself over the good. or the good over yourself hopefully. That whole drama of who will we choose, we have to do something all that will be avoided and I'm sure you want to avoid it. It takes away the responsibility from us and God wants us to have the responsibility.


Originally Posted by Lance View Post
Exactly! I'm glad you get this point. It is by our nature that we choose to do good and evil, and God determined our nature.

Meta:
That's only half right. The aspect of nature that mandates this is the anxiety that follows form self transcendence. that's inherent in having a psychosocial creation. That's an aspect of how omnipotence can't overcome logical necessity.

Lance:
Our motivations, our desires, and our ability to resist temptation and strength of will are all qualities God has endowed us with. It stands to reason, then, that God could have made us so that by our nature we would always freely choose good.

Meta:
God plug's that stuff in when we choose it. It's a matter of choice first. It's first a matter of the will, of having the resolve to choose the good, then god gives us what we need to do it. We have the responsibly to choose.

Lance:
The libertarian wants to say that there are some other things that factor into our choices that God is not in control of, but what are those things exactly? Many point to the very mysterious and poorly defined "soul", but that in of itself is quite a philosophical train wreak.


Meta:
I refuse to be called a "libertarian" but I do argue that way. I just answered that. Soul is the issue. Soul is a metaphor for the relation between our lives and God. The point is we have to make the choice before we employ the strength to keep it. Then we will be given the strength spiritually when we choose the good and step out in faith.

Some people want the responsibility taken off their shoulders. they want to blame God for their stupid choices. Not to take responsibly for their loyalties.

In answer to anther poster's question about "do you want to feel god's love."

Originally Posted by Lance View Post
If God does in fact exist, yes I would like to experience such a thing. As of now I have not, though, and from where I stand the evidence appears to be against his existence.
that's becuase you don't want God exist. open your eyes and look at the rationalization you doing to yourself.

Meta:
If god came down today in front your face and said "I am here, I want you to give up the things I say are sinful and then you can know me." You wouldn't do it would you? you would say "only if you force me to so I want have to choose."

is that actually what you are saying? I'm only going by the example you've given i coutner to the argument. (in previous exchanges he advocated certain sins as "awesome" saying "don't knock it until you have tried it").

Originally Posted by maybrick View Post
The problem you are not seeming to see is that according to your religion God can, and indeed will create a perfect world. This perfect world will be inhabited by (presumably) perfect (human?) beings. I put the "human" in brackets, because at this point in our theoretical existance I am not sure these beings would qualify as Human.


Meta:
What you are not facing is the imagery of the Gospels about refining. Perfection comes after refinement, that comes through a struggle for spatial life that invovles having to take responsibility for one's choices. God created a perfect world and we chose to sin. Of course God knew it would happen so the issues are not really about that so much as an overall calculus of a painful world vs no world in which the good is met through choices, but the possibility of choosing wrongly is real and causes pain, vs no world at all, which means no sin at all but also mean no moral refinement, redemption, or perfecting.

The arguments your side is putting forth are about evading the responsibility of choosing. you want God to remove the problematic nature of choice making from you so you don't have take responsibility for bad choices.

Lance:
But these beings will (again presumably) only ever choose the good over the bad. And they will be that way because God made them so.This world (as I am sure you know) is heaven.
Meta:
NO! agian1 for the umptihjumpth time. people in heaven are there because when they go through the mill on earth and they get refined. only those are in heaven who want to be there. Only those are there who want to be there. They want to be there because they don't want sin. they don't' want sin because they internalized the good by seeking truth and they suffered for it. so they rally choose good.

Every assumption you have made is wrong. people in heaven are not automatically made perfect they are refined. they took responsibility for their choices and they chose rightly. They internalized the values of the good.

Unknown Atheist:
not the guys screen name, I just don't remember
who said this:

The only counter (that I have seen) is that we need our earthly life with all its suffering to appreciate heaven and only want to make the right choices. I think I have seen you make this argument, and I have certainly seen others do so.


Meta:
you are kind of spining it to suit your needs. I never said "we need suffering to appreciate heaven" internalizing values is a bit stronger than that.


But this counter fails utterly on two fronts.

Unknown guy again:
The vast majority of humans (assuming life begins at conception) die well before they are in any position to make any decisions regarding good/evil and (again, presumably) go straight to heaven. Hence God simply doesn't attach that much importance to making good/righteous decisions and having beliefs. The pure numbers speak of a God who fasttracks most Homo sapiens to heaven. This obviously runs counter to Christian theology.


Meta:
The vast majority don't die in infancy do they? Infant morality rate for the world is like 90%? I don't think so. Your counting sperm? this is jaundiced. Moreover, you are assuming they would all get eternal life. why assume this? maybe they just cease to be. Other possibilities:

(1) levels in heaven.

(2) purgatory

(3) Reincorporation?

There are alternatives.

Unknown:
(2) The counter implies that God cannot endow us with an inbuilt knowledge of evil and what making wrong decisions can lead to. But why? Is this a god who doesn't possess the knowledge that both you and possess right now?


Meta:
I've expalined over and over. you are assuming that there is value in the process of learning. you are assuming people are machines and you just feed some data in and they do what the data shows and there's no learning, feeling, life, construct, experience, you don't have to experience something to understated and appropriate it. that's all antithetical to the spiritual life. Spiritual life is about learning its' about a process we must go through to be refined

If you read the gospels you see many many references to reefing fire, wheat from chaff, burning off the dross.

Unknown:
I understand right now the consequences of picking up a hammer and randomly beating my wife to death with it. Seemingly, God doesn't. I also didn't need 40 years on this planet to understand this concept.


Meta:
what you are saying is you understand seeking pleasure over pain and immediate gratification but you don't' understand learning and being refined and making spiritual progress.


People in American society been so seperated form their spiritual heritage and the depth of an inner life (tv and one-dimensional society--consumerism) one-dimensional man has taken its toll. Apparently all you can understand is infantile stimulation of immediate gratification you don't understand the basics of a spiritual life.

Theology is Respected All Over Academia

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young Paul Tillich (right) at Science
Conference with Einstine
(second from left
back row)

Atheists are always bad mouthing theology. the vast Majority of them have never read a single of real theology. They have no concept of what a real theology si about, they probably think it's like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. They know nothing about it but they are so sure it's stupid. the bad mouth began with Dawkins trying to overcome his deficit in theology without having to learn any. People who criticize his swill with the attack "he knows nothing about theology" which means his books are worthless when they attack theology. So he came up with the extremely response taht "theology is stupid so I don't have to know about it to know its' stupid." obvoulsy if he doesn't know about it then he can't know it's stupid. I've seen atheist say "well it's about God so that how I know it's stupid," That proves someone is stupid. Can you say "circular reasoning?" The attitude toward bad mouthing theology is no where more prevalent than on CARM the atheist boards.

Originally Posted by Rainydays View Post
LinkThis is no debate club, and there is no need to enter an arm's race. Let the maker of the positive claim come up with a serious case. I'm not even talking about this forum. If there was a good case, it would already be all over academic literature. I agree that a firm ''no'' is not always wise. I stick to the academic principle. If there are no positive results, a hypothesis cannot be accepted. This doesn't say a whole lot. It just means we will continue ''as if nothing happened'' until something changes.


ahahah My friend. I don't want to insult you. I really don't. Please don't take this the wrong way but you really need more exposure to the academic. IT is all over the academic world! First of all I think he actually got that line from me. I'm always saying "if you had an argument to disprove my position you would make it rather than just call the position names." The statement he makes there is so absurdly silly becuase there are many many dynamite cases for the existence of God and the validity of the Bible made all over the internet all the time. I have 42 of them myself. That's right, I got 42 so I could say this: The answer to God the universe and everything is these God arguemnts.

do you not realize that every major university on earth has a theology department? Harvard, Yale. Tubingen, Northwestern, Georgetown, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, McGill University in Montreal, ect ect. Even state schools in America can't have theology they have religious studies and philosophy of religion or even Bible chairs.

the vast majority of great writers and thinkers have been believers in God. The list of believers in God in the academic world reads like a list of the greatest thinkers in history it's like ten times longer than the atheist.

Numerous professors at every school I was at told me that theology is respected theologians are respected. you are getting your opinions from atheist web sties. If you Google people like Paul Tillich it will say he's considered one of the most Brilliant men of the 20th century. It will never sy "stupid theologian who didn't know nothing." My Greek professor whose earned his Ph.D. from Yale told me "you would be surprised where one finds Christians around academia, they are in all fields and all levels of academia." Another professor in graduate work, who taught Heidegger and Hermeneutics, said that the philosophers at Tubingen follow with great interest what Jurgen Moltmann does. They are not snidely ignoring theology becuase they think it's stupid.

Many major scientists have been Christians, some even theologians as well (Polikinghorne quite science to become a priest).

Fritz Shafer, nominated for Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Georgia, himself a Christian: "it is very rare that a physical scientists is truly an atheist."
Martin Rees at Cambridge: "The possibility of life as we know it depends upon a few basic values which are constants. And it is in some aspect remarkably sensitive to their heir numerical values. Nature does exhibit remarkable coincidences."
Arthur Schewhow, Nobel prize winner from Stanford, identifies himself as a Christian. "We are fortunate to have the Bible which tells us so much about God in widely accessible terms."
Charlie Towns Nobel prize winner: "The question of science seems to be unanswered if we explore from science alone. Thus I believe there is a need for some metaphysical or religious explanation. I believe in the concept of God an in his existence."
John Pokingham, theoretical physicist at Cambridge, left physics to become a minister. "I believe that God exists and has made himself known in Jesus Christ."
Allan Sandage, The world's greatest observational cosmologist , Caregie observatories won a prize given by Swedish parliament equivalent to Nobel prize (there is no Nobel prize for cosmology) became a Christian after being a scientist, "The nature of God is not found in any part of science, for that we must turn to the scriptures."

That list original came from an article by Firtz Schaffer years ago on Leadership University. Martian Rees is not a Christian but he recently won the Templeton award for creating understanding between religoius thinkers and scinece. He is well known for respecting religion.
www.shamash.org/
Drawing from Judaism's sacred texts as well as great thinkers such as Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Paul Tillich, Gillman traces his ...

www.irishexaminer.com/.../seanad-should-respect-irelands-diversity-...
Mar 2, 2012 – Seanad should respect Ireland's diversity ... who hold an attentiveness to the "beyond in our midst" as the great thinker Paul Tillich put it, as well .

www.suite101.com › Mind & Soul
Great Thinkers, Page: 3. ... Paul Tillich, Alfred North Whitehead, and Hans Jonas point to a God whose being is linked with our own. Jul 28, 2011 – John .

www.rickross.com/reference/general/general679.html
Sep 5, 2004 – ... attracting some of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century: Historian Arnold Toynbee, theologian Paul Tillich and two-time Nobel ... that would eventually influence the nation: a respect for mind-body connections, holistic ...
www.answers.com › LibraryLiterature & Language
He (Tillich) became respected for his lucid preaching and his Systematic Theology, 3 vol. ... Together with thinkers such as Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich ... The best known of these, translated into English as The Religious Situation ...
Whitehead invented Process theology, Toynbee was a Christian, Tillich, Garth, Bultmann all liberal theologians in the Christian tradition. Sorry but it is the case that the major figures theology are respected as great thinkers.


what you are refusing to take seriously is the idea that most academics now that ultimate answers are not easy to come by.Most scientist don't buy into the fortress of facts. Carl Popper says scinece is not about proving things. Science can't prove things but atheists are always implying that their world view is backed by a huge arsonel of facts while religious belief is backed by no facts. this is what from true. I've researched a vast body of empirical research that shows that religious experience is the product of any kind of pathology and has dramatic transformation effects upon the experincer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St Augustine's Corrolation: God, Truth, Being itself

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Botticelli's concept of St. Augustine



…St. Augustine’s view that God is being itself is based partly upon Platonism (“God is that which truly is” and partly on the Bible—“I am that I am”). The transcendence of time as a condition of full reality is a central theme…[in Augustine’s work].[1]

Of course Augustine was one of the seminal thinkers of all Church history. Along with Aquinas he’s probably one of the two most important theologians of all time. He might be called the last thinker in the tradition of the classical age. His view of the Trinity cemented the Orthodox position and set the Western view of Trinity on it’s trajectory diverging from the eastern Church. His work The City of God is one of the greatest theological master pieces of all time, and to think it’s a letter to friend (a letter the size of the New York Phone book).

Augustine expresses the concept of the super-essential Godhead many times and in many ways. Augustine was a Platonist. In that regard perhaps his greatest innovation was to place the Platonic forms in the mind of God. That is a major innovation because it trumps the Neo-Platonistic following after Plotinus, who conceived of a form of the forms. In Augustinian understanding the equivalent of the “the one” the form that holds all other forms within itself is the mind of God. Augustine never made an argument for the existence of God because for him God was known with certainty and immediacy. God is immediately discerned in the apprehension of truth, thus need not be “proved.” God is the basis of all truth, and therefore, cannot be the object of questioning about truth, since God is he medium through which other truths can be known.[2] Tillich said:

Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God. This is the ontological solution of the problem of the philosophy of religion. God can never be reached if he is the object of a question and not its basis.[3]

Augustine says God is truth. He doesn’t so much say God is being as he says God is truth. But to say this in this way is actually in line with the general theme we have been discussing, the one I call “super-essential Godhead,” or Tillich’s existential ontology. Augustine puts the emphasis upon God’s name as love, not being. Since he was a neo Platonist he thought of true reality as beyond being and thus he thought of God as “beyond being.”[4] This makes no sense in a modern setting since for us “to be” is reality, and to not be part of being would meaning being unreal. But in the platonic context, true reality was beyond this level of reality and what we think of as “our reality” or “our world” is only a plane reflection of the true reality. We are creatures of a refection in a mud puddle and the thing reflected that is totally removed from our being is the true reality. It was this distinction Tillich tried to preserve by distinguishing between being and existence.

Augustine looked to the same passage in Exodus that Gilson quotes in connection with Aquinas. Augustine’s conclusions are much the same about that phrase “I am that I am.” This is one of his key reasons for his identification between God and truth. He saw the nature of God’s timeless being as a key also to identifying God with truth. The link between God and truth is the Platonic “one.” Augustine puts the forms in the mind of God, so God becomes the forms really. The basis of this identification is based partly upon God’s eternal nature. From that point on it’s all an easy identification between eternal verities, such as truth, eternal being, beauty, the one, and God. The other half of the equation is God’s revelation of himself as eternal and necessary through the phrase, for very similar reasons to those listed already by Gilson, between I am that I am and being itself (or in Augustine’s case the transcended of being). “He answers, disclosing himself to creature as Creator, as God to man, as Immortal to mortal, eternal to a thing of time he answers ‘I am who I am.’”[5]

From Psalm 101:25 he ponders the phrase “generation of generations” rather than the choice of saying your years is endless.” He concludes that this Psalm is not merely saying God is living through a parade of endless years but that God is timeless. He concludes that the generation of generations is a timeless generation. He concludes that God’s years are his substance, they cannot be separated from God himself (as we see ‘substance” can be a way of saying “being). “God’s years are God’s eternity, his eternity is God’s very substance.” Thus God is not only eternal but his being his essence coincide, his eternal nature is the same as his being. Thus God is eternal necessary being.[6]








[1] Reality: Readings in Phlosophy. Indianapolis, Indiana:Hackett Pulbishing company, inc. Carl Avren Levenson, John Westphal, editors, 1994, 54

[2] Donald Keef, Thomism and the Ontological Theology: A Comparison of Systems. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971, 140.

The “two Ultimates” discussed are philosophy and Religion.

[3] Paul Tillich, Theology of Culture, 12-13

[4] The quotation above from the Levenson and Westphal book says Augistine believe God was being itself, Marion seems to say that Augustine put God beyond being. I think it’s debatable as to which he did because he didn’t say directly which it was. I’m assuming Marion is probably right just because of the time in which he lived and because he was a Platonic thinker.

[5] Levenson and Westphal, Ibid. translated by Edmond Hill

[6] Ibid, trans in Enarrationes in Psalm. 101

Monday, March 26, 2012

Atheist Reject Liberal Theology by Resorting to Fundamentlaism.

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Atheist criticism of modern liberal theology is to theology as Fancis Shaffer's criticism of art is to art.

Recently I find more and more atheists on CARM going on the offensive against liberal theology. Yet since they refuse to read any they don't know anything about it. They base thier understanding of it on Spinoza becuase that's all know about. this refusal to learn about the things they critize is giong to a mainia. On CARM Magritte says:

Since at least Spinoza and the Enlightenment when it became safer (relatively speaking) to directly criticize the Bible and theism, apologetics has been waging a war of redefinition and redrawing of boundaries. Modern "liberal" Christianity now has boundaries that are practically fractal in their infinite detail. Whenever a threat emerges, apologetics swiftly whisks God to safety with rationalization. Boundaries are redrawn, words redefined.

Spinoza is not very important to modern liberal theology. They just think that because he's the only alternative view of God they understand. They think primarily that Spinoza is a pantheist which they are willing to tolerate because they see it as a step toward atheism. This guys sees liberal theology as some kind of refuge that fundamentalism takes when it can't stand up to atheism. That is totally ignorant on many levels:

(1) Spinoza has very little to do with modern theology,t hey are ignorant enough to think if it's not the big man in the sky it must be Spinozian deified nature (Spinoza did not deify nature but they don't bother to learn what he really thought).

(2) Liberal theology is much older than fundamentalism. It definately existed about 300 years before inerrency (19th century). Way before any modern athiesm so trying to see ita s a refuage of failed apologetic is just sheer ignorance.

(3) Fundamentalists hate liberal theology. Liberal theologians are not fundamentalists hiding from atheism they are rarely former fundiese. Most fundies see liberal theology as satan infiltrating the faith to steal away the faithful. Most of them wont go near it. Most liberals see fundamentalism and apologetic is country corn pone hick's ville and they wont go near it!

(3) Calling liberal theology a renationalisation is total stupidity. This complety ignores the rich intelletual tradion that is traced back to Erasmus and the Northern Renaissance.

This atheist assault interprets everything it doesn't understand as "rationalization." Here is his answer to one argument I made.
This sometimes gives a strong whiff of desperation and post hoc thinking. I'll give an example: I was asking Metacrock a while back about why God did not heal amputees. His reply was that limb regrowth would be such a strong indication of God's presence that it would take awaLinky our free will as to whether or not to believe. How is one to argue with an opponent who pulls such things out of his keister on the spur of the moment?
This is totally taken out of context. Fist of all that's not even my answer. It's only a small part of my answer and it's argued hypothetically anyway. For a more full understanding of my answer on the amputee thing see my essay God and Amputees and also why wont God heal stupidity? The answer he's talking about is based upon a larger argument that is my answer to theodicy: Soteriolgocal Drama. That's my answer. It's unique to me. He's asserting that it's some srot of arche type for all liberal theology when in reality no liberal theologians even know about it and if they did they probalby wouldn't embrace it. That is idea is unique to me. But then CARM atheists are so ignorant of theology they tend to assume that I'm the only liberal. I went I went to seminary with other people. I'm just sure there were other students in those classes. Someone took those degrees on graduation. I doubt if they canceled commencement just becuase i didn't go. I graudated I just didn't feel like doing the cap and gown thing.

I invite other atheists, deists and agnostics to submit their own examples of this sort of thing. It's been going on for many generations and we should at least do it the dignity of understanding it.
He speaks giving it the dignity of understanding which is ironic becuase he has not giving it that himself. He read any theologians. When one mentioned reading them they say "they just make stuff up." This is stupid, it's just lapin stupid anti-intellectual grab age. If they had the gumption to actually read some they would find out its not just making stuff up but they can't even take the obvious step of doing some basic study. The older example was to charge that liberal theology 'enables' fundamentalism. I don't what these people think they are saing. Do they ever think at all? That's like saying socialists are enabling capitalism. How? By opposing it? That logic suggests that atheism is enabling Christianity. They might as well argue that modern art enables old fashioned realism in art.

In that CARM thread I have to hand it to Humble thinker. He usually blocks with atheists even though he claims to be a Christian, but this time he has a cogent comment:

But I think the question is this: is the "strongest possible case" in question merely post hoc rationalizations in an attempt to make the case stronger or is it a prior held belief that, upon questioning, is presented without the intention of artificially making the case stronger? Hopefully that sentence didn't get too convoluted.

"Lance" another atheist poster reiterates and magnifies the original theme. In so doing illustrates more ignorance:

Doesn't it seem strange to you that as our philosophies and sciences have become more and more sophisticated, he concept of God has been shrinking back and becoming more and more abstract? God's become more and more unfalsifiable, more and more difficult to clearly define and theistic language seems to have become more and more obscure when speaking about him. Did not people used to believe that God wanted all people to have a personal relationship with him, to the point of him preforming miracles in front of crowds of people? God used to make a splash. Now modern theologians have changed his nature such that he's hiding from us, not letting us have any very solid reason for believing he's even there because he doesn't want to make his existence obvious.

He asserts that the concept of God is "shrinking back becoming more abstract" because he defines teh true and proper understanding as the big man in the sky. He does this because he privileges fundamentalist as the truth Christianity even though liberalism is must older. Also becuase like a true fundie he's reading the Bible literally so the metaphor of king and father he sees a literal instruction about the nature of God.Atheist are really fundies. The think the reason they are atheists is because they take the Bible super literally and can't think their way through it. They see any problematic nature as contradiction becuase they can't think, they see answering problems as some form of "giving up." He says God has "become more unfalsifiable." When was God ever falsifiable? That's becuase he has to understand problematic nature of God as grounds to see contradiction and give up the faith. that's what makes him an atheist. So he's really privileging atheism and in the final analysis the whining because they can't reduce liberal theology to their frontal of finding trivial contradictions in the bible.

The question of God's falsifiability is a complex one and deserves a lot more attention then these guys are willing to give it. I've written on the question of God's falsifiability on this blog in the 2007, and also more recently in 2011. Modern theologians have changed it so that God is now hiding form us. This is just sheer ignorance of a group of ideologues who refuse to study their opponents views but reduce them to a set of slogans. Modern liberal theologians deny that God is hidden. When they give answers atheists do not listen. I've repeated Hartshorne's answer many times:

quoting myself from my Thomas Reid argument (no 8 on the god arguemnt list--see page 2)

According to Hartshorne, "[o]nly God can be so universally important that no subject can ever wholly fail or ever have failed to be aware of him (in however dim or unreflective fashion)." Now the issue of why God doesn't hold a "press conference" has do do with the fact that God does not communicate by violating normal causal principles. In process terms, the "communication" of God must be understood as the prehension of God by human beings. A "prehension" is the response of an occasion to the entire past world (both the contiguous past and the remote past.) As God is in every occasion's past actual world, every occasion must "prehend" or take account of God.

It should be noted that "prehension" is a generic mode of perception that does not necessarily entail consciousness or sensory experience. Impervious postings I explained that there a two modes of pure perception --"perception in the mode of causal efficacy" and "perception in the mode of presentational immediacy." If God is present to us, then it is in the presensory perceptual mode of causal efficacy as opposed to the sensory and conscious perceptual mode of presentational immediacy. That is why God is "invisible", i.e. invisible to sense perception. The foundation for experience of God lies in the nonsesnory non-conscious mode of prehension. So now, there is the further question: Why is there variability in our experience of God?. Or, why are some of us atheists, pantheists, theists, etc.? Every prehension has an initial datum derived from God, yet there are a multiplicity of ways in which this datum is prehended from diverse perspectives.

I agreed with Hume that sense perception tells us nothing about efficient causation (or final causation for that matter). Hume was actually presupposing causal efficacy in his attempt to deny it (i.e., in his relating of sense impressions to awareness). Causation could be described as an element of experience, but as Whitehead explains, this experience is not sensory experience. From Hume's own analysis Whitehead derives at least two forms of nonsensory perception: the perception of our own body and the nonsensory perception of one's past.
I will make it more simple than that. Being is hidden. A basic reading of Heidegger will tell us this. God is being itself, the basic hiddenness of being is the hiddenness of God. But being is not hidden it's mere ready-to-hand. This phrase refers to the nature of being that is so familiar we take it for granted and don't notice it. It's like a carpenter who so familiar with his tools that usin them is such second nature he doesn't even have to think about it. Saint Augustine says God is nearer than my inmost being. I used to use a whimsical example: suppose a fish could be scientist and a fishy committee assigns him to find this substance humans talk about, water. He studies every aspect of the world around him and never finds water becuase it never occurs to him he's looking through it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is America Falling Apaprt? Review of Charles Murry's New Book

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lazy poor person at work

This is about the new book Coming Apart: the State of White America 1960-2010. by Charles Murry. Since I haven't gotten the book yet I'm taking my knowledge of it from an article by the author in on line Wall Street Journal, "The American Divide." The Saturday essay. Jan 21, 2012. Charles Murry is librarian with Enterprise Institute. He's best known for co authoring The Bell Curve which was highly criticized as making racist assumptions.

In the new book he argues that America is falling apart, just in time the elections, what a condense. The reason we are falling apart is becuase rich people are out of touch with society and no longer share their superior acuity with poor people as they once did in that well known golden age when things used to be perfect. In the article he states: "The ideal of an 'American way of life' is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. "

As with most conservatives he points to a mythical golden age when things were perfect and this was based upon some social fabric that he imagines his social class held together.

"When Americans used to brag about "the American way of life"—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity."
In arguing that this social fabric is coming apart he points factors such as:

(1) marriage
Marriage: In 1960, extremely high proportions of whites in both Belmont and Fishtown were married—94% in Belmont and 84% in Fishtown. In the 1970s, those percentages declined about equally in both places. Then came the great divergence. In Belmont, marriage stabilized during the mid-1980s, standing at 83% in 2010. In Fishtown, however, marriage continued to slide; as of 2010, a minority (just 48%) were married. The gap in marriage between Belmont and Fishtown grew to 35 percentage points, from just 10.

(2) single parenthood

Another aspect of marriage—the percentage of children born to unmarried women—showed just as great a divergence. Though politicians and media eminences are too frightened to say so, nonmarital births are problematic. On just about any measure of development you can think of, children who are born to unmarried women fare worse than the children of divorce and far worse than children raised in intact families. This unwelcome reality persists even after controlling for the income and education of the parents.

In 1960, just 2% of all white births were nonmarital. When we first started recording the education level of mothers in 1970, 6% of births to white women with no more than a high-school education—women, that is, with a Fishtown education—were out of wedlock. By 2008, 44% were nonmarital. Among the college-educated women of Belmont, less than 6% of all births were out of wedlock as of 2008, up from 1% in 1970.

(2) industriousness

The norms for work and women were revolutionized after 1960, but the norm for men putatively has remained the same: Healthy men are supposed to work. In practice, though, that norm has eroded everywhere. In Fishtown, the change has been drastic. (To avoid conflating this phenomenon with the latest recession, I use data collected in March 2008 as the end point for the trends.)

The primary indicator of the erosion of industriousness in the working class is the increase of prime-age males with no more than a high school education who say they are not available for work—they are "out of the labor force." That percentage went from a low of 3% in 1968 to 12% in 2008. Twelve percent may not sound like much until you think about the men we're talking about: in the prime of their working lives, their 30s and 40s, when, according to hallowed American tradition, every American man is working or looking for work. Almost one out of eight now aren't. Meanwhile, not much has changed among males with college educations. Only 3% were out of the labor force in 2008.
(3) employment

There's also been a notable change in the rates of less-than-full-time work. Of the men in Fishtown who had jobs, 10% worked fewer than 40 hours a week in 1960, a figure that grew to 20% by 2008. In Belmont, the number rose from 9% in 1960 to 12% in 2008.

Crime: The surge in crime that began in the mid-1960s and continued through the 1980s left Belmont almost untouched and ravaged Fishtown. From 1960 to 1995, the violent crime rate in Fishtown more than sextupled while remaining nearly flat in Belmont. The reductions in crime since the mid-1990s that have benefited the nation as a whole have been smaller in Fishtown, leaving it today with a violent crime rate that is still 4.7 times the 1960 rate.


(4) religiosity

Whatever your personal religious views, you need to realize that about half of American philanthropy, volunteering and associational memberships is directly church-related, and that religious Americans also account for much more nonreligious social capital than their secular neighbors. In that context, it is worrisome for the culture that the U.S. as a whole has become markedly more secular since 1960, and especially worrisome that Fishtown has become much more secular than Belmont. It runs against the prevailing narrative of secular elites versus a working class still clinging to religion, but the evidence from the General Social Survey, the most widely used database on American attitudes and values, does not leave much room for argument.
The first thing that needs to be said is that this is not some new great revelation. Back in the mythical golden age when this harmonious society supposedly enjoyed the instruction and wisdom of rich guiding poor the classes rubbing shoulders and a christian poor humbly accepting their inferiority and the superior class nobly leading by christian example, the truth of the case was that no one was noble, no one was leading by example, the rich were no more Christian than hypocritical. When I was a sociology major in the mid 70s my professors lectured on on classical prejudices against the poor. Even in this alleged mythical golden age the poor were singled out as having lower morals and being poor because they are lazy, which is basically what he is saying now. Murry is arguing that the poor are poorer becuase they quite going to to chruch and getting married, rather than quieting going to chruch and getting married because the economic opportunities have dried up. That's especially obvious in his alaysis of employment. He complains about the fact that more men in lower economic bracket have let the labor force, he's trying to imply the connection to morality of marriage and that they have become lazy because they don't go to chruch. He presents no economic analysis at all about shifts in the labor market or the availability of opportunity. The shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy that requires a high priced education to complete for even lower level management jobs and no employment opportunity or security for the working class. He totally ign9ores Reagan's labor busting strategy or the growth of the rust belt in the 80s.

He's making a causal assertion that morality has fostered laziness with no ability to check the possibility that what he sees as laziness is discouragement and economics is really to blame. People leave the labor force when they are constantly rebuffed from finding anything. No one has tired to factor in the effect of so many having their homes stolen over the past decade. Unemployment has been record numbers for several years running, and we have been told form both side, liberal and conservative that the statistics are really not reflective of the much higher group that gave up on looking because they opportunities aren't there. Murry is putting together old prejudices and unfounded assumptions about laziness, morality, and poverty and presenting a superficial look at the statistics that aren't all that relevant because he leaves out the most crucial ones.

He makes no effort to deal with changes in moral concepts. The big cultural taboo on children born out of wedlock was removed in the sixties as a result of "mew morality." Was that something people brought into effect, was the working class that changed this? I think was the children of the rich and the upper middle class, college educated counter cultural types. Similar taboos on living together without marriage and so on were also removed. The children of the upper class invented the coutner culture, and when they did so they had a renaissance ethic backed by fancy educations to go with it. It was then emulated by working class kids who did not understand its meaning and lacked the cultural acumen to be renaissance hippies so it became working class party time. Yet we had one decade of counter culture and four decades of corporate greed. It's much more obvious which had the real effect. Nixon's allownce of Japanese dumping on the American economy, followed by the decline of the steel industry. When Reagan tax cuts could have potentially propped up the steel industry corporate greed chose short term profits by investing in non labor intensive ventures such as oil rather than re-tooling the steel. Then of course we had the big shift in the 90s to the internet bubble. That means loss of manufacturing sector.

He's also managed to guide his inquiry along the lines that would suggest those prejudiced connections to begin with. Why include marriage and single parenthood and leave out major economic shifts unless he already expected to argue that there's a connection between not being being married and being lazy? While there's some truth in his assertion about single parent households, several studies have indicated that fatherless children come under the five times rule that proof people come under; five times more likely to go to prison, be drug addicted or alcohol addicted, live in poverty and so on. Of course Murry assumes the causality from correlation with nothing to back it up but his prejudice. Rather than see the choice of single parenthood as influenced by the economic plight he sees the economic plight as the consequence of the choice of single parenthood. As though all those high school girls are saying "o I can't wait to be a single parent. I'm going to run out and get preggers so I can be on welfare, what a glorious future watching re-runs of the Beverly hillbillies and getting drunk before lunch." In the glorious golden age of the American way of life a guy got a woman pregnant he would go get a job at the bowling ally or washing dishes and marry her. Now there's no job at the bowling ally and working at McDonalds wont put enough on the table to fund a family. While it's true it would be something, it wouldn't be much and one needs two or three such jobs at the same time just to get by. The alternative is either let your kid starve so you appear to be honest and hardworking, although a fool, or take welfare and save your kid but raise them in poverty. While it's true that his probalby has resulted in lowering of standards about marriage, so what. The reason we are in this fix is because the old way only produced bitter impoverished hypocrites who still didn't undersatnd economics.

Why use marriage as a guide line for morality? Suppose he chose giving to charity? Giving is a Christian virtue, so is charity. In fact America's poor give more than rich do according to:

McClatchy, My 19,2009

The generosity of poor people isn't so much rare as rarely noticed, however. In fact, America's poor donate more, in percentage terms, than higher-income groups do, surveys of charitable giving show. What's more, their generosity declines less in hard times than the generosity of richer givers does.

"The lowest-income fifth (of the population) always give at more than their capacity," said Virginia Hodgkinson, former vice president for research at Independent Sector, a Washington-based association of major nonprofit agencies. "The next two-fifths give at capacity, and those above that are capable of giving two or three times more than they give."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/05/19/68456/americas-poor-are-its-most-generous.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/05/19/68456/americas-poor-are-its-most-generous.html#storylink=cpy
Church attendance is not down but has remained steady since the 50s. He has not bothered to consult the best study, Pew Religious landscape or it's take on historically black churches. What does this study tell us about historically black churches and chruch attendance?

CBS Minnesota, Feb 10, 2011

According to Pew, 59 percent of those who say they belong to Historically Black Protestant Churches go to church at least once a week. That compares to 58 percent of Evangelical Protestant Churches, and 34 percent of mainline Protestant Church members.
The historically black Churches beat the culturally elite evangelical whites by one percent, what that do to Murry's theory of religiosity in the working class? Just think those histrionically black churches according to Pew are 66% democrat and only 7% republican and they still manage to go to chruch a bit more than their white upper class counterparts.

There's evidence that the percentage of Americas that regularly attend chruch is really more like 26% and the polling questions have been asked in the wrong way, and when the researchers go more deeply they find the percentage is only half. The problem is that data is not specif to class. So that could be more the fault of white evangelicals as working class or minority.

Here's a game changer for Murry to consider. Half of Americans overall are now poor!
CBS News, Dec 15,2011

WASHINGTON - Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too `rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

"The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."

what does this do to Murry's theory? I think it pretty much tells us that the trends he's worrying about are caused by the economic shifts and not the other way around. It means that a huge portion of people who are now poor weren't before. So why didn't they exemplify the goo odl AWOL and thus save themselves from this fall into poverty? IF they were in God's favorite class how did they get out of it? If it was by abandoning marriage and work why didn't their middle class status tell them not ot do that?

Sociologists have long rejected the "culture of poverty" theory that Murry's books trades in. It's not that these guys are becoming poor becasue they give up on America's way of life and righteousness in order to be lazy and have sex, it's that those behaviors follow the ravages of economic trends that breed hopelessness after years of unsuccessfully trying to get back to the blessed state of middle class. Who is responsible for these economic trends? that's probably too complex to say, but I'm wiling to bet that Bush and the Republicans didn't help it any.

Most U.S. Unemployed no longer receive benefits:

CBS news nov 5 2011

WASHINGTON - The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America's unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

Congress is expected to decide by year's end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.


So all these middle class people just lost industriousness over night for no reaosn? Why didn't their middle class training from going to chruch and being conservative save them? What the children they raise learning? Some political party is preventing them from getting help. It must be those tax and spend democrats wanting to give more unemployment benefits makes them more lazy so they are they not looking for work.


Over all it looks like this book by Murry is another political propaganda piece like the bell curve that's been trotted in time for the election to terrify the conservative evangelicals and motive them through their cherished prejudices.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Being itself, and the Personal God.

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Hans Urs Von Balthasar (1905-1988)


Balthasar one of the most interesting and brilliant figures of the twentieth century, yet hardly anyone has heard of him outside the confines of academic theology. Even most theological students in the Proestant world are not very familiar with his works. He was a friend of John Paul II, called “the most cultured man of our time by Henri de Lubac. His achievements are called ‘breathtaking’ my one of the major catholic theologians of the century, Carl Rahner.[1] He wrote over a thousand books and articles. He was born in Lucerne Switzerland, 1905, and Grew up a Catholic, son of a pious mother.[2] He took his doctorate from the Liberal Protestant University of Zurich, having grown up educated by Benedictines and Jesuits. He became a Jesuit priest. He worked as a student Chaplin in the 30s. He became good friends with Protestant theologian Karl Barth, one of the greats of the century.

Balthasar was unable to work as a full fledged Jesuit priest due to the war years and the arrangement the government had between Protestants and Catholics, he was seen as belonging to the area of south Germany. He made a living as a translator and lecturer and editor. He ran publications and started a spiritual community. He spent most of his adult life this way, in association with a woman named Speyr who was never recognized as a mystic by the church. He had miracles and visions but being unrecognized, Balthasar’s community was not accepted and he was unable to gain a post. This situation dominated his life in the 40s,50’s, and 60s. He had to leave the Jesuits. He also lectured in these years on spiritual topics and made a living that way, but his health deteriorated as a result. In the 60s he began to be recognized as a theologian and was given honors and doctorates. In 1988 John Paul II made him a cardinal. That was also the year of his death. His community of st. John was a publishing house and he ran a journal called Communio. These eventually found great success in the 70s and were recognized by the Vatican. The major avenue to his success was his books and his lectures.[3]

Balthasar’s overall theological project centers upon the dualities between human conflict with ourselves and our place in being. Examples of the dualities that fascinate Balthasar include: our own contingency and that of the world around us in contrast to the sense of being itself.[4] Balthasar openly and obvious equates being with God. In his work about Balthasar’s live, David L. Schindler includes a short article by Balthasar himself called “a Resume of my Thought.”[5] He begins this “resume” by talking about the dilemma between human contingency and limitation in contrast to the infinite nature of being. This does not necessitate asserting God up fornt although he’s not concerned with a “proof.” His thesis is that all human philosophy either explicitly or tacitly concerns itself with this topic and by implication tacitly affirms the infinite and the absolute.[6] He comes to the conclusion that the duality is inescapable. The finite is not the infinite. Even the monism of the east is seen through nuanced dualities. Thus he asks the question “why are we not God?” The basis of the question is that we are aspects of being. We are products of being, yet we are contingent being, Why are we contingent and not necessary? The solutions that he ponders seem to end in one way or another with an indignant God creating a finite world out of need or alienation from his own infinity. He finds that only the God of the Bible offers a satisfactory answer, and that answer is in a sense the opposite of what we would think.

The common human tendency is to think God created because he needed something. Balthasar is hinting, I think, that God creates because its his nature as being to foment more being, in other words, its creative and God is Creative. It is not for God’s need that he creates but for what will become our need once we are created. In other words, God created us so that we can enjoy being, not because he needed us because once a part of being we would need and would be fulfilled in the need by love.

No Philosophy could give a satisfactory response to that question [why did infinte create finite?] St Paul would say to philosophers that God created man so that he would seek the Divine, try to obtain the Divine. That is why all pre Christian philosophy is theological at its summit. But, in fact, the true response to philosophy could only be given by Being himself, revealing himself from himself. Will man be capable of understanding this revelation? The affirmative response will be given only by the God of the Bible. On the one hand this God, creator of the world and of man, knows his creature. “I who have created the eye do not see? I who have created the ear do not hear?” And we add who who have created language, could not speak and make myself heard?” This posits a counterpart: to be able to hear and understand the auto-revelation of God man must in himself be a search for God, a question posed to him. Thus there is Biblical theology without a religious philosophy. Human reason must be open to the infinite.[7]

Notice how he capitalizes “B” in being and refers to being as “himself.” He personifies being and clearly speaks of it as the creator.

Balthasar sees the understanding of the revelation of “being himself” (my phrase based upon his) to humanity as rooted in the most fundamental human relationship. He says, “the infant is brought to consciousness of himself only by love, by the smile of his mother. In that encounter the horizon of all unlimited opens unto him.”[8] What he means by that is it is only through being por soir, for itself, in other words, consciousness, that we are able to comprehend the infinite and that only in contrast to the finite. Before we can do that, however, we have to become aware of ourselves so we can know we are finite. I think he’s making an implication that love is a link to being itself, and that through our encounter with love, the mother, we encounter the father, so to speak—by way of encountering love. We can see this in four truths that Balthasar finds rooted in this encounter:

(1) realizing that he Is other to the mother, the only way the child realizes he loves the mother; (2) love is good, therefore, being is good; (3) love is true, therefore, being is true; (4) love evokes joy therefore being is beautiful.[9] Notice the link between being and love. He is one of the rare theologians to point out this curial link.

The one, the true, the good, the Beautiful, these are what we call the transcendental attributes of being, because they surpass all the limits of essence, and are coextensive with Being. If there is an insurmountable distance between God and his creature, but if there is also an analogy between them which cannot be resolved in any form of identity, there must also exist an analogy between the transcendentals—between those of the creature and those in God.[10]

In this quotation he as much as equates being and God, since he speaks of the attributes of being then connects the understanding of these to the link between God and the creature. There is more to be said about Balthasar based upon this observation and it will figure importantly in two more chapters, including the last one, and the over all conclusion.

Balthasar confirms for me so many things I thought but didn't have the courage to say, or that I "sort of thought" but didn't have the intellect to formulate. I think he boldly and unabashedly resoled the problem of paradox between personal God and being itself. He was the first to show me the link bewteen being and love (although Tillich does mention it but I saw it in Balthasar first). He capitalizes "B" in "Being" and speak of Being a "he." The idea that God created not becasue he "needed to" but becasue his nature is creative.

[1] Joel Graver, “a Short Biography,” website:Hans Urs Von Balthasar, an Internet Archieve. URL sighted: http://www.lasalle.edu/~garver/bio.htm (visited 12/3/10).

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, “overview of Balthasar’s project: URL: http://www.joelgarver.com/writ/theo/balt/overview.htm

[6] Ibid, 1

[7] Ibid., 3

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.