Tag Archive | theology

Happy New Year

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Let us keep on being hopeful this new year, and all days thereon.

 

happy

Let us hope for each other.

Let us pray for each other, wherever we are in the world.

I wish all your dreams fulfilled.

Amen.

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Love the Girls

I am very much revolted by this document by the ISIS detailing guidelines for the enslavement or merchandize of girls.

I have several other issues to gripe about here*, but for now nothing prompted me strong enough to just break off from drinking my pu-erh + green + peppermint tea to just simply stand here and type away.

Granted that even in the Ten Commandments women are shown in there as among the properties of a man, it doesn’t follow that this topic of using women as so is (unconditionally) sanctioned by any deity in the sense that Greek-philosophy originating worldviews would interpret it from the wording in the text. Granted that you may not have any respect at all for the deity called Yahweh whose name appears in the context, it does not follow that this deity sanctions the “use” of women. (I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by my explicit spelling out of the Tetragrammaton.) The fact that you do not have any consideration for any so-called deity does not follow that you condone the use of women as commodity like you do with salt or toilet paper.

This is how the biblical text Exodus 20:17 goes, per two translations that do not use the archaic term “covet” (which means “to want something (which you do not have) very much”, per Merriam-Webster):
Per GNB (Good News Bible):   “Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
Per BBE (Bible in Basic English, 1965):   Let not your desire be turned to your neighbour’s house, or his wife or his man-servant or his woman-servant or his ox or his ass or anything which is his.

You may argue that this text came from the very region where ISIS proliferates, the Middle East. It does not follow that this is the way the entire Middle East looks at women: as a property/commodity at par with currency exchanged.**  You cannot tell me that Islam does not respect its women as much as Christianity does because my Muslim blood cousins are very much respected in their households, per my firsthand witness of it being so; on the other hand at the same time saying that Christianity itself has issues against women that are currently trivialized by so-called spirituality, per my firsthand witness of it.

So where does this violence in man stem from? Aha, this is within the realm of the problem of evil. This is a realm of complicated and long-winded arguments. I have hardly begun to step into this arena. But then my question implies the radical ingredient of the problem: the generic man, adam, the one who comes from and will return to dust. This adam decides whether to treat a girl as a form of currency or not, to treat a girl as an extension of lust or not, to treat a girl as a tool for the expression of desire for power over xyz, simply of the desire of being able, of having the capacity to be able to do anything without restraint. This adam chooses. This adam’s choice depends on the array of choices available. If this adam sees a choice that is for compassion, against suffering, for love, against exploitation, but refuses to choose it, then this adam by his/her own actions condemns his/herself. If this adam is not able to see this choice for love, then us, fellow-adam, what do we do about it?

What ISIS is concerned about is appalling to the maximum. Seeing that it is so, then what do we do about it in our own little world? You can speak about and against it. You can do a small or a big thing to fight it. But whatever you do, listen to that gentleness that speaks to you, so that you do not fall prey to the desire to have power over xyz (i.e., power over anything in any form, be it things or individual minds or massive enticements, etc.), to the strong urge to “move things” including the one that you deem “good”. Remember what Jesus of Nazareth spoke of which thing here on earth is “good”***, and start from there.
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Notes:
* A hugely popular actor’s pathetic power trips over desirable women who have been silenced for decades by the prevalent celebrity-worshiping pop culture and who are now gathering their voices together; the world’s incompetence at giving priority for arms race and space exploration over the education of the most vulnerable of minds — girls and children — that now is powerfully put into the limelight through the recognition of the effects of the lives of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi by the Nobel Peace Prize; the dazed vulnerability of compassionate girls falling in love for ‘hurt’ men, not seeing nor protecting themselves against these men’s myopic self-absorbed tendencies as portrayed by the tragedy of Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius; the stupidity of the powerful few who insist that global climate change has nothing to do with man, and at the same time not being able to compassionately address the devastating destruction of homes and livelihoods and lives at the Pacific rim NOT THE LEAST SMALL (in all sense of the word) NATIONS SUCH AS THE PHILIPPINES; the ongoing exploitation of the richness of Africa in both sides of the Atlantic, both by not promptly addressing the color-divide issue (Those who say that the term “race” is obsolete, speak up!) and by mis/mal-educating Africa toward the temple of consumerism; to the lack of readily available arguments against the all-goodness of modernity, hence consumerism, hence the inevitable response to the need for “servants for the big house”, hence the callous or blind exploitation of the “household” help be it domestic, commercial, coming from the same or from a different cultural background; and for crying out loud, what’s this thing about “measuring” a girl’s morality against her state of so-called virginity as if a girl can by herself devirginize (herself) or that girls get themselves devirginized for the sake of being so??!!!!

** Though not directly in the sense of “currency exchanged”, Professor Christine Hayes of Yale University speaks of Israelite provisions (note: “Israelite” is different from “Israeli”, but I have no time to get into this here now, though I’m sure information on it is readily available in the net) in the Torah (that’s the original term for what is popularly known as the Old Testament) where vulnerable persons in the society, which invariably includes women and orphans, are expressly protected against exploitation, here:   http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/952/rlst-145. It’s a longish read, but if you’re impatient then you can look over the part within which says, “So it’s also illuminating to compare the Ancient Near Eastern and the biblical legal materials in terms of the concern for the disadvantaged, the elimination of social class distinctions, and a trend toward humanitarianism.”, which is under Chapter 4. Radical, Characteristic Features of Israelite Law [00:29:58]. This is not to pretty-up the Bible here in the apologetic sense, but just to say that Christianity and Islam originated from a way of thinking, among peoples, that took care of systematizing compassion and care for everyone and everything within their way of living.

*** Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19 : “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. […]” (GNB)

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added 18th January 2015:

I’d say something similar for Boko Haram. If you wonder what a monster looks like, a hideous manifestation of evil, then it’s this group’s activities.

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Take care, everyone. Go out and breathe the fresh air. Get out of the shadows and soak in the winter sun. Fall in love. Greet the elderly. Laugh until your stomach hurts 🙂 hasta la vista!

on Wolfhart Pannenberg, theology, and science. Part 1

Hello. Good morning.

When my professor finishes marking my paper (A Recapitulation of Pannenberg’s “The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences” in: The Historicity of Nature, PA:Templeton, 2008, 25–39.) I will upload it here.

But first, as preliminaries, I want to share a few information that served as submitted-supplement to that paper and which I thought was necessary to have at least the minimum grip on in order to appreciate Pannenberg’s above-mentioned book-chapter.

That is, I did some readings on these in order to ready myself for the class report. Additionally, having a glimpse of the enormity of subject areas that Pannenberg has been trying to link [together] makes one appreciative of the breadth of Pannenberg’s outlook on the connectivity and source of everything: God. I wouldn’t have appreciated Pannenberg [that] much had I no inkling at all of concepts he had in his sights while doing his theological reflections in relation to the natural world.

I’m grateful to authors who make available on the web easily understood basic information on specialized areas of knowledge, like the ones here that I found, below.

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Here is the Supplements now [very sligthly edited]:

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SUPPLEMENT PAGE | PANNENBERG: The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences. [Oberseminar SS2014]

DEFINITIONS.
  ♦  natural science = any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena (Merriam-Webster)
  ♦  quantum physics = the study or description of components and processes within the atom
  ♦  indeterminacy in quantum physics = Heisenberg’s term ‘inaccuracy relations’ (Ungenauigkeitsrelationen) or ‘indeterminacy relations’ (Unbestimmtheitsrelationen) was dealt with in his 1927 papers where he said of sub-atomic particles (paraphrased here ->) “You cannot know the position of a particle and how fast it’s moving with arbitrary precision at the same moment… The more accurately you know the position, more uncertain you are about the momentum and vice versa… So we have essentially given up on predicting the position of a particle accurately, because of the uncertainty principle. All we can do is predict the probabilities.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/basics-of-quantum-mechanics-for-dummies.html ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/) both accessed 20June2014
  ♦  chaos theory = the study of how even simple systems can display complex behaviour. These systems can seem straightforward — but are very sensitive to initial starting conditions and this can cause seemingly ‘random’ effects. (homeschooling-ideas.com)
  ♦  field = in physics, region throughout which a force may be exerted; examples are the gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields that surround, respectively, masses, electric charges, and magnets. Fields are used to describe all cases where two bodies separated in space exert a force on each other. Each type of force has its own appropriate field. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia)
♦  for descriptions on spacetime, etc, this webpage may be of help: http://www.ws5.com/spacetime/
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What is Chaos Theory?                     http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/ [accessed 20June2014]

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. […] By understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to a desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.

PRINCIPLES OF CHAOS:
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. A more rigorous way to express this is that small changes in the initial conditions lead to drastic changes in the results.
UNPREDICTABILITY: Because we can never know all the initial conditions of a complex system in sufficient (i.e. perfect) detail, we cannot hope to predict the ultimate fate of a complex system. Even slight errors in measuring the state of a system will be amplified dramatically, rendering any prediction useless. Since it is impossible to measure the effects of all the butterflies (etc) in the World, accurate long-range weather prediction will always remain impossible.
ORDER / DISORDER: Chaos is not simply disorder. Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder, which often occur in surprising ways.
MIXING: Turbulence ensures that two adjacent points in a complex system will eventually end up in very different positions after some time has elapsed. Examples: Two neighboring water molecules may end up in different parts of the ocean or even in different oceans. A group of helium balloons that launch together will eventually land in drastically different places. Mixing is thorough because turbulence occurs at all scales. It is also nonlinear: fluids cannot be unmixed.
FEEDBACK: Systems often become chaotic when there is feedback present. A good example is the behavior of the stock market. As the value of a stock rises or falls, people are inclined to buy or sell that stock. This in turn further affects the price of the stock, causing it to rise or fall chaotically.
FRACTALS: Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. […] Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc.

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That’s it. For a quick peek at fractals you may click on my Home tab, above, and the page opened will have a few illustrations of fractals beneath that themselves are links to explanatory pages on them.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

 

 

 

 

on John Samuel Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

Hello. Good morning.

Within the attached pdf document, see link below, is my approximately 4-page summary of the following articles:

African theology revisited by John S. Pobee [pp. 135-143]

John Mbiti’s contribution to African theology by Kwame Bediako [pp. 367-388]

Both are found in: Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Sulayman S. Nyang. In: Religion and Society 32. Berlin. 1993.

Clicking on the link opens the pdf file at another tab –> on John S. Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

At the end of the 6-page pdf document is a 1-page note on the word ubuntu of the Bantu culture.

This summary-paper has been officially graded by my professor. The care I put into the effort reflects my fascination of the collective cultures of the African continent, but of which lack of extra time on my part preventing further personal exploration.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute.

Ciao.

 

on MM Thomas, a book chapter’s recap

Hello. Good morning.

The attached pdf file in this post was a paper for an Oberseminar in SS2011. It has been officially graded by my professor. The source-document was a big chapter and I wrestled a sweeping 2-page recap from it. Experts on the subject will easily see the inadequacies. The final file has 4 pages because I had wanted to include a substantial introduction of the author, Madathilparampil Mammen Thomas (1916–1996).

At the end of the attached pdf file written is: “This article is sacadalang’s recapitulation (written on July 16, 2011) of the aforementioned book’s chapter and was uploaded on August 1, 2014 at: https://sacadalang.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/on-mm-thomas-a-book-chapters-recap/

Clicking on this link opens the file in another tab. –>  MM Thomas, an intro & a chapter recap

Just a quick description of the source-chapter, and is also an excerpt from the recap:

“Our chapter is a sort of a gathering-together of what the prominent Christians of renascent India said about (their) societal upheaval in the early decades of the 20th Century as representative voices of their country’s Christian population, while being fully conscious of their being “Hindu”.”

Viel Spaß und alles Gute.
Ciao.

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for it’s perfect time to come up in your life’s story.

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

🙂

  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.

     

  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards

    Fran

     

  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    -wishing-you-a-nice-week-
    ang sacada lang

     

    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.