Re: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2006 11:05:31 -0800

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Le 04-déc.-06, à 23:41, Brent Meeker a écrit :
> 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, you already talked once as if I was using the word "theology" in
> some personal sense, and I already give you the source of my definition.
> I am using the word theology in the sense of the one who invented the
> world, and as it has been used during more than one millenium: Plato.
> The definition is in "the laws". Plato defined it by the science, that
> is what reason can say about, the Gods and the God and more generally
> any attempt toward fundamental matter.
I understand that you use "God" to refer to whatever is fundamental. And that may well be consistent with the way Plato used it. But even among Plato's contemporary's it was probably heard as referring to the Olympians. And now, a couple of millenia later, "theos", "theism", and "theology" have come to refer to a single personal God. Since the time of Plato other terms have been introduced to distinguish other "fundamentals", deism, pantheism, naturalism.
> It is an entirely contingent and sad fact that theology has been more or
> less stolen by the temporal authoritative power of the Roman, and that
> still today many people forget that theology has been and can still be a
> science, ie something than can be driven by the modesty attitude.
Would a study of the character of leprechauns be science if were driven by a modesty attitude? The problem I have with your use of "theology" is that anyone hears it, without having heard your explanation, will almost certainly misunderstand it. You are of course free to use whatever word to mean whatever you want - but that does not constrain me from using it in it's currently accepted sense. And in that sense I stand by my above statement. Can you cite a current theologian who does not hold that God (whatever His nature) provides the basis of all meaning?
> reason is that the Church and their objective allied, the atheists which
> are as dogmatic as the leaders of institutionalized churches, know that
> such reasoning on such fundamental matters, is always threatening their
> temporal power.
I am an atheist - I don't believe the "theos" of Chrisitianity (or Islam, or Judaism) exists. Failing to believe in an entity whose defining characteristics are inconsistent with common observation is hardly dogmatic.
> Now all tradition have had good theologians at all time, even if
> sometimes some are obliged to talk in coded way just for not finishing
> on the fire.
> To refuse the use of the original word "theology" is just a way to
> defend (purposefully or not) 1500 years of institutionalized charlatanry.
No, it is a way to communicate clearly in current standard English. To use it in a sense that has not been common for 1500yrs is talking in a coded way...but I don't know to what purpose since the Enlightenment has eliminated the burning of heretics, at least in Belgium.
> Scientist who says today that the mind body is a false problem are just
> playing that game, and today, atheism is much more an aid to "fake
> religion" than even moderate christian theology (which indeed borrowed
> many things in science from the greeks).
> You can search for many informations and references on the web which
> will confirm what I say by Googelling, for example, on the word "plato
> theology".
I have no doubt you are correct about Plato's use of the word. But words mean what people think they mean.
Brent Meeker
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Received on Tue Dec 05 2006 - 14:07:17 PST

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