May 18th, 2013
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834)
Schleiermacher saw Christianity as “despised” because it was misunderstood in the following ways.
- Christianity is misunderstood as assent to orthodox dogma
- It is misunderstood as rationalism or natural theology
- i.e. Getting to God by pure reason alone
Schleiermacher‘s key concept of religion was “feeling of Absolute Dependence.” Examine those feelings. What do they tell you about God? “Oh, they tell me God is good and kind.” He’d say, “Good! Write that down.” Therefore, the nature of religion is not thinking. The scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant. Here Schleiermacher is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science. Also, the religious nature is not ethics either. Rather, it is feeling which works its way out in absolute dependence.
Schleiermacher believed the individual’s life consists of three primary parts. The first is the sense of perception. This includes Newtonian physics and scientific knowledge. The second is activity, which is the realm of ethics. Lastly, and perhaps the most important, there is feeling, which is the realm of religion, human feeling, and the affective domain. “God is the whence [source] of my absolute dependence, or God is the idea that clarifies my absolute dependence, and human absolute dependence on the infinite shows God.”
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June 28th, 2012
Theologian: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834) on his theological method
More on his theology: Schleiermacher’s theological method was to examine those feelings (see his concept of religion for a greater context). This made the nature of religion to be a non-thinking endeavor (scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant). Here he is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science. Also, the religious nature is not ethics (acting morally) either; rather, it is feeling which works its way out in the absolute dependence. The absolute dependence is the a priori form of the self-conciousness that then works its way out from feelings.
Friedrich Schleiermacher’s theological method is based upon human religious experience. According to Schleiermacher, all human beings are subject to a feeling of dependency upon Someone or Something Greater. This feeling of absolute dependency is universal among all mankind, and is the essence of true religion. For Schleiermacher, religion is rooted in our experience as human beings, in how we feel about God, in our individual emotive response to God.
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June 25th, 2012
Just because you’ve read the Bible do you think that you know God? You could probably predict what Hebrew word was used for a specific word based on the context… but you’ve never felt the passion behind David’s imprecatory prayers and the prayers of suffering. You can parse every Greek word Paul uses in the book of Romans… but you’ve never felt the riddance and self-betrayal like he felt in chapter seven.
You can tell me how to encourage someone or what to do when counseling a depressed friend… but you can’t put yourself in his mind and ask yourself what it’s like to be him. You equate by analogy. You can tell me how much you love your neighbor… but you condition it. You can tell me how much God loves you… but you can’t understand the death of God and his spiritual and physical anguish as he passed from death to new life with you in mind.
You can quote Scripture, Ephesians 6 and the psalms, describing spiritual warfare and what to do… but you’ve never resisted sin to the point of blood. You can quote theological works that systematically define God and who he is… but you’ve never experienced what it’s like to align planets and create stars, to watch you spit on his creation and cross, the gifts he gave for you for the very reason of your anticipated existence.
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May 2nd, 2012
Where is God? Jesus is in heaven. Well, where’s that? We know it’s a physical dimension so it’s just a reality removed from our spatiotemporal world. The doctrine of omnipresence states that God is causally present everywhere. This is merely stating the obvious. What’s the evidence from Scripture concerning God’s presence?
“If the statements it [the Bible] contains concerning matters of history and science can be proven by extra biblical records, by ancient documents recovered through archeological digs, or by the established facts of modern science to be contrary to the truth, then there is grave doubt as to its trustworthiness in matters of religion.” – Gleason Archer
Consider 1 Thess. 5.19-21. How do you test Scripture? Well, test it for internal consistency, like contradictions and dissimilarities. To test Scripture using Scripture to verify that what it is true is fallacious and circular reasoning.