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Showing posts from May, 2010

Tillich and Ethics

The struggle to find a satisfactory resolution between authority and freedom remains an uphill battle for contemporary Christian ethics. Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was highly influenced by existentialist themes, most notably Schelling, but also Kierkegaard and Heidegger. But he was also a foundationalist. By this, his dogmatics is based on a type of ontological-metaphysical “realism.” Tillich’s realism is of a sort that sees God as virtually synonymous with Being itself (otherwise the Ultimate, the Absolute, the Unconditional). All of his dogmatic and ethical formulations are thus based in metaphysics of Being. God is the a priori of all thinking, feeling, and acting. He addressed the problem of doubt and anxiety saying that to overcome these things requires one to make the necessary choices and to commit oneself to the “courage to be.”

Problematically, Tillich’s ontological authority is incapable of establishing its own criteria. The “Ultimate” is purely Tillich’s symbolic way of sp…

Christianity and Literature

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is unquestionably the greatest writer in the world of English literature.  A committed Christian, Shakespeare used biblical themes as the foundation of many of his greatest literary ideas. The Christian impact on his work is documented by Ernest Marshall Howe’s Spiritual Values in Shakespeare, and in Dr. George Morrison’s Christ in Shakespeare.  In Hamlet, the writer builds on a theme from Psalm 8: “What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?  And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?  Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty,” to write:

What a piece of work is a man!  How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a God!”
Shakespeare articulated his belief in Jesus Christ in his last will and testament:
I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing throug…