Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Developments in Christian Theology Elliott Wright.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Developments in Christian Theology Elliott Wright."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developments in Christian Theology Elliott Wright

2 Part 1: Theology of Religions

3 DEFINING RELIGION Modernity Feuerbach Ninian Smart Don Cupitt

4 Modernity Modernism – A priori: knowledge proceeds from theoretical deduction – ‘God of the Gaps’- when humans do not understand something they place God as the answer – After the enlightenment science fills these gaps with reason and evidence – Challenges to the rational authority of the Church Post-Modernism – There is no objective truth – Subjective and personal approach – A posteriori: knowledge from experience – Tolerance and diversity of belief a central concept

5 Feuerbach Psychological projections exist within our mind which we create a form for; God is the ultimate projection, representing our deepest unconscious desires Essentialist (a small number of primary characteristics can define all religions), Reductionist (reduces religions to their anthropological components) and a priori thinker A humanist, claiming that humankind is ‘the measure of all things’; what is good in human beings is projected onto God and people are emptied of their own good qualities; we should love each other and not God With social progress all religions should disappear

6 Ninian Smart Responsible for secular religious education Phenomenology; a view of informed empathy, not value judgement. Each religion has their unique expression of the invisible which should not be judged against others Defined the common dimensions of religion (Essentialist); sevenfold scheme of study – Para- Historical: Mythological (stories), Doctrinal (theology), Legal (rules), – Historical: Ritual (worship/prayer), Experiential (religious experience), Institutional (members), Material (e.g. monuments) – Some religions emphasise certain dimensions over others; e.g. The Catholic Church emphasises the institutional

7 Don Cupitt Post-modern and self-proclaimed secular Christian We have created God through our language – All religious ideas are essentially human ideas, but that doesn’t necessarily imply atheism (Non-Realist) – We struggle to describe God so we describe him through what he is not; via negativa – Religion is not dying, but changing through new language We must dispose of the metaphysical to make genuine moral choices as there are no external guarantees for human life (no afterlife or predestination) Solarity; the art of living life to the full as there is no other life, adding value to the world we live in ‘Agape’ love ethical focus; Jesus was a humanist who argued for the adaption of religious language


9 Exclusivism No-one reaches salvation by their own merits; an unmerited gift from God Jesus was God incarnate so Christianity is superior to all other religions The doctrine of justification by faith; we are made righteous through our acknowledgement of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Jesus is God’s special revelation; due to our fallen nature, we may only know God through Jesus You must be a member of the Church to be saved – For Catholicism, this requires receipt of God’s grace through the sacraments (communion) – For Protestantism, this requires baptism Importance of missionary work; spreading the good news. God wishes all to be saved, but they must be Christian

10 Karl Barth Rejection of natural theology; Barth/Brunner Debate. Due to the fallen nature of humans his image is wholly inaccessible to us The Word; an event through God is encountered – Living Word: God reveals himself through Jesus – Written Word: human attempts to repeat the word of God through scripture – Preached Word: Church teaching acts as a further catalyst in helping people experience God’s word Religion itself is fallible and not wholly true Election – Calvin’s eternal decree: God decides before a person is born whether they are elect (going to heaven) or reprobate (hell) – Barth radically reworks Calvin’s ideas, arguing that God elects himself to be reprobate and takes the punishment so humans can enjoy the reward; likewise, despite being sinless, Jesus plays the part of sinner

11 INCLUSIVISM Karl Rahner

12 Inclusivism Christianity is the one true religion; Jesus’ death and resurrection were genuine and have central importance However, it is not necessary to have an explicit faith in Jesus to receive salvation – God is loving and fair so would want as many people as possible to be saved – Jesus died for all humans, not exclusively Christians – God is revealed in the creation, so we all have access to some knowledge of God The fate of those who lived before Jesus is of particular interest to inclusivists – God uses his omniscience to know what a person would have chosen had they known Christ

13 Karl Rahner God’s grace enters the world through Christ’s atoning sacrifice God is revealed through all creation, so God’s grace must be available to those outside the historical church Anonymous Christian – A person who acts like a Christian but is not one – As moral actions are impossible without God’s grace, these people must have unknowingly accepted it – No guarantees for salvation unless the person encounters Christianity Open Catholicism – Rejects the traditional idea that there is no salvation outside of the visible church; should no longer be an exclusive community Transcendental Theology – God is transcendent while we live within time, history, space – However, God made humans so they are receptive to the transcendent. We might not encounter Christianity temporally (within our personal history) but we can live in a transcendent (spiritual) state of grace

14 PLURALISM John Hick

15 Pluralism All world religions are true and equally valid All religions lead to the same God and the same heaven. Christianity is just one of various equally valid methods of salvation Historically, God comes to various groups in different forms, some more distinct than others Due to our fallen nature humans have a limited view of truth that is part of a much larger picture Christianity should not be seen as the centre of all religions; God should Religions are fundamentally the same but superficially different John 14: “in my Father’s house there are many rooms” Revelation is not a sound basis for faith; we must rely entirely on religious experience

16 John Hick Experience of ‘The Real’, is essentially the same, merely interpreted through a number of different religions The Real is beyond our description; we can only reflect it in human terms. All religions are united in the fact that none can rationally ‘prove’ its claims about God Demythologisation of Christ – Essential allegorical truths can be found inside myths, yet we cannot expect people to interpret them literally – Disposes of implausible doctrines of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection to discover who Jesus actually was – Jesus did not consider himself to be ‘Son of God’ – Recognising Jesus’ humanity is ‘morally challenging’ as it suggests that we can and should live up to his moral standard Global Theology – We must employ critical sifting; not all elements of all religions are divine – Seeks to preserve the diversity of religions; God has more facets than for one single religion to do justice to

17 Part 2: Feminist Theology

18 WOMEN IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION Old Testament New Testament Augustine, Luther and the Mulieris Dignitatem

19 Old Testament Temptress Model – Women are seen as the instigators of sin and moral corruption – Originates with Eve Ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, causing evil and suffering to enter the world (The Fall) Inflicts punishment upon all humanity; childbirth for women, hard toil for men – Delilah betrays Samson by becoming the paid informant of his enemies and discovering his fatal weakness – Jezebel destroys her husband’s kingdom through her influences of lust and idolarity Women of Virtue – Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is praised for her submissiveness; in turn, God tells Abraham to listen to his wife – Deborah was a judge of great wisdom over Israel; proves her strong leadership over men, even in a military context – The ‘Wife of Noble Character’ watches over the affairs of the household, respects her husband, exhibits dignity and wisdom

20 New Testament Jesus’ relationship with women – Christ liberated women, talking to them freely and elevating them to equality – He cured a woman who had been menstrually bleeding for 12 years; another he addressed as ‘Daughter of Abraham’ – Mary depicted as strong in all she has to deal with, and as equally active in Jesus’ later life – Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who Jesus forgave, and she became one of his closest and most important disciples Teachings of Paul – Although in some passages he supports female ministries, in others he suggests that women should not usurp the male authority of the Church, and during service they should cover their heads and be silent – Paul was one of the first to blame women exclusively for The Fall – Wives must ‘submit to their husbands as to the Lord’

21 Augustine – Women only become in the image of God once joined with a man – The Fall: After Eve ate the fruit, we have become inflicted with akrasia and original sin – Deliberative soul: Role of wife/mother/homemaker – Obedient soul: Obedience to man – However, women are morally and spiritually superior to men Luther – ‘Women ought to be domestic; the creation reveals it’ – Women have broader hips for childbirth/domestic tasks – Eve was created after Adam from his rib, indicating that she belongs to Adam – ‘No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise’ Mulieris Dignitatem – Pope John Paul II’s letter on the dignity of women – Focus on Mary; 1988 was a Marian year – Affirmation of traditional women’s roles in response to feminism – Equality doesn’t involve everyone being the same, but fulfilling your God given role with the best resources to do so

22 LIBERAL FEMINIST THEOLOGY Secular Liberal Feminism Liberal Feminist Theology

23 Secular Liberal Feminism First Wave Feminism – Revolves around the suffrage movement (early 20 th century) – Women obtained voting privileges after proving their worth during the war effort Focus on the autonomy of the individual free from coercive influence and the rejection of the conventions which have subordinated women to men; liberation If we change the laws which work against women’s liberation, social structures will change accordingly Historical patriarchy evident today in the political underrepresentation of women Mary Wollstonecraft considered the Bible a convenient way by which men could subjugate the rights of women, expressing their patriarchy as divine command

24 Liberal Feminist Theology Sexist elements of the Bible are not sufficient for rejection Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the Women’s Bible – ‘The Bible in its teachings degrades women from Genesis to Revelation’ – Received with hostility by the Church and state Influence of Liberation Theology; praxis – Critical theory of liberation explores women’s struggling in the Christian tradition, reinterpreting the traditional patriarchal presentation of Christianity – Stresses spiritual liberation; without it men and women cannot enjoy full relationships Rosemary Ruether (early works) – Search for a feminist canon within the Christian canon – It is idolatrous to make males more ‘like God’ than females – Not about directly changing biblical text; a discussion of patriarchy’s appropriation of scripture

25 RECONSTRUCTION FEMINIST THEOLOGY Secular Reconstruction Feminism Reconstruction Feminist Theology

26 Secular Reconstructionist Feminism Second Wave Feminism – Expanding equality beyond the rights to vote and work (1960s-70s) to include issues of social class, sexuality, race – Genuine equality was not achieved during the first wave; equality on a man’s terms. Working mothers have the right to work, yet are also expected to perform domestic duties – Political representation is not enough to reconstruct the gender roles of society; social consciousness must change Simone De Beauvoir’s Existentialism – Existentialism= the individual as a free and responsible moral agent – Man requires woman as ‘other’ in order to define itself as a subject – Women need to be conscious of what society is telling her to be so she may become a subject, not an object Marxist Feminism – Direct causal connection between capitalism and the subordination of women – Women are an exploited class within the capitalist mode of production Freudian Feminism – Oppression of women is rooted in psychic structures formed during childhood – Imposition of gendered subjects through language; women are seen as responsible for mothering, while boys identify with their father’s social power

27 Reconstruction Feminist Theology The Church – Influence of LT; reconstructing the Church to the ends of the people The Bible – Search for the lost history of women; herstory – Argues for an egalitarian model of early Christianity; once the historical influence of patriarchy is corrected (hermeneutic of suspicion) the early Church in fact held equality God – Language of God lies at the heart of patriarchy (‘Yahweh’ became ‘He’) – Use of non-gendered language to free faith from patriarchal structures; father/son/holy spirit = creator/redeemer/sanctifier – Ruether (later works) seeks to identify feminine elements within God – Identification of the sophia tradition in the gnostic gospels. Sophia (‘wisdom’) personified as a woman, aids God as creator; absorbed by logos (‘the word’) during the Paulian era – Julian of Norwich identified Sophia with Christ in the context of the trinity. By embracing the non-hierarchal grammar of the trinity we may avoid patriarchy

28 RADICAL FEMINIST THEOLOGY Secular Radical Feminism Radical Feminist Theology

29 Secular Radical Feminism Liberal and reconstruction feminisms have been at the expense of the embodied woman Focus on how patriarchy has controlled women’s bodies and their sexuality As an exploited underclass women should take control of the things used to exploit them; e.g. control of childbirth through contraception Men and women are fundamentally different It is only when woman’s identity is fully formed in its own right that men and women can enjoy full relationships Extreme radical feminists propose separate living conditions for men and women, or even lesbianism; sexual relationships completely free from oppressive maleness Biology should not deny freedom to pursue alternative roles

30 Radical Feminist Theology Mary Daly: Post-Christian Feminism – Dualism: humans are ‘other’ to God, which leads to God as monarchy, which can in turn be used to justify patriarchy – ‘The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to exist in the human imagination’ – Not enough to feminise God, as God is still a fundamentally a male concept Elaine Pagels – Rejects the traditional Bible and examines the gnostic gospels, teachings historically silenced by the patriarchal Church; radical revisionist view – Central beliefs of gnosticism: the body is a prison to be escaped from, Jesus was a spirit who only appeared human, androgyny of God, women have larger role


32 Examines the unique oppression of black women; feminist theologies do not bring enough attention to the everyday experiences of black women, while black theologies do not recognise the full dimension of liberation Draws upon the experience of segregation as well as continuing struggles against racism, stereotyping and poverty Some problems similar to those faced by white women, but compounded by race; e.g. Historically for black women rape was perpetuated by white men specifically Theology used to justify racism, such as in ‘The Curse of Ham’; God’s punishment for Noah’s son was to make him a slave. Slave traders claimed that Africans were descendants of Ham Emphasis on community, improvisation (Mitchem compares it to jazz), the actual experience of black women as ‘texts’, dynamic form of prayer, African practises Complicated relationship with motherhood; used as ‘breeders’ while enslaved, or ‘mammies’; surrogates to white children Delores Williams argues that the slave experience is directly responsible for continued racist attitudes; e.g. The stereotype of slaves as concubines suggests that black women have loose morals and are sexually available

Download ppt "Developments in Christian Theology Elliott Wright."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google