[省思] 神學與其他學科的藩籬

我曾留意過,在近年的國際神哲期刊裡,有些神學和聖經研究專家為了維護上帝的預知與人的自由,撰文發表意見。這課題裡的難題是,假若上帝預知一切,人有甚麼自由呢?人為甚麼要為他所作的負上責任?讀了他們的論文後,我感到納悶,因他們所講的,在專業哲學界中擁有很多信徒學者的宗教哲學分枝裡已經有人提出,而且表述得更有條理,更為精準,亦辯論了好一會兒。顯然,那些神學人和聖經研究人做 literature review 時沒有認真理會過哲學圈的那些,所以只能憑自己的努力去建構論證。

神哲期刊裡有關預知的爭議,由於那類作者大都來自神學院,他們有良善和為信仰而作的動機,信徒讀者自會欣賞。但論到知識領域的發展,我們不禁要問,為甚麼這些神學或聖經專家好像與「外界」斷絕交流似的,以致他們要憑自己努力由零開始去建構?而他們要談的課題中,有不少是需要精密邏輯思辯和相關哲學知識的,為甚麼他們不多參考哲學文獻,或跟哲學專家交流?3科際藩籬在任何學科之間也有出現,但每當牽涉神學,這藩籬好像就特別鮮明。(read more)

張國棟此文寫到心坎上了。

日前我撰文時再次回顧了ETS研討會框架所存在的問題,一言以蔽之,基督教神學院雖心態不再故步自封,但以閉門造車的成果沾沾自喜的狀況仍十分嚴重。
這一個大惡徵,又反映為3個學術弊端:

一、神學圈所建構的理論沒有建立在跨科際辯證的高度上

文中第一段讓我想到分析哲學向 molinism 討要 truth maker 的問題。這只是一點,談上帝全知與自由意志不可避免還應要關涉後面所提的神經科學、認知科學領域等近年突飛的成果。

其他諸如創造論、文明起源論、早期基督教與猶太教等領域,都是必須放大到跨科際平台(如 AAR/SBL、AHA)才能突破原先盲點。可惜當前大多時候,福音派神學人卻仍在小圈內自得其樂。

二、交流不足,以致重覆其他學圈早數十年的學術成果

以公共神學領域,天主教 > 主流新教 > 福音派。逗趣的是,卻很多福音派在近年談公共神學,幾乎是在對前人無知的狀態下從頭做起,而福音派從未聽聞或接觸天主教與主流新教公共神學,則將他們吆喝為泰斗或先驅,製造出名不符實的權威光環。Christopher Wright 是一例(I am not saying that his scholarship is cheesy, but it’s not marking any special advance in what’s been said already)。

Sad Academic

三、圈內學者偏離學術誠信、拋下學術謹慎胡亂「蓋」人

有了第一點、第二點,自然就導致第三點:他們或在翻譯給國內教眾的外文專書加油添料,以為大家都不會辨析或讀到原文;或在自己開闢的園地中進行高度一言堂的神學教導;透過壓制異音的主場設定及氛圍,在牆內隔出自己人和聽話者。

在這種環境下,許多偷渡觀念、在有識者看來貽笑大方的「高論」,或自我學術膨脹、恣意描黑對手的言論就容易出現。這有時是環境的試探而非故意,只要多交流或打造開放平等、有仲裁機制的交流環境就能避免。

此處所省思者,自也當時以戒之慎之。

Shakespeare

Publicités

[Book Review] God? : A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist

Dialogue with Sinnott-Armstrong’s God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist

Craig, William Lane, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. God? : A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, Point/Counterpoint Series. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Review by Mu-tien Chiou

  1. I.                   Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument against God’s existence

In God: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Sinnott-Armstrong cites the Christian assumption that faith can be immune from the standards of science “one of the central confusions about God’s existence” in the tradition, “because it lies outside the realm where evidence is possible”. He labels this argument under the rubric of “the argument from ignorance”.

He contends that in our everyday life we have been taught to adopt the scientific principle to not believe in entities for which we have no evidence. This rule especially applies to extraordinary things about which commonsense is not widely held. He gives vivid example to illustrate this point: if someone asserts to have ordinary clothes in one’s closet, in most cases others might not require evidence to believe in her, for most people can analogize their past experiences of closets to this individual’s particular claim. But if what is in view is an unprecedented entity such as “a perfect shirt” or “an invisible cloak”, then it is natural that the burden of proof falls on whoever makes such a claim to make belief of those things in her closet (p.101). According to Sinnott-Armstrong, the same standards apply to beliefs about God, “even if God were defined so as to remove any possibility of evidence against His existence” (p.102).

Relegating conventional “natural” evidence such as religious experience and miracles to “illusions” and “magic tricks” in terms of their epistemic status (p.103), Sinnott-Armstrong then concludes that the absence of epistemically valid evidence at best supports agnosticism rather than theism (p.102-3). Moreover, he calls into question the theistic argument that an all-good and Almighty God would hide Himself at certain times from certain people for the reason that less evidence could do good to human beings’ faith in Him. Sinnott-Armstrong offers an illustrative counterargument: the fact that he has faith in his wife’s love for him does not follow that this faith will benefit from less evidence about her love, let alone the absence of it. An all-good and Almighty God could have just revealed Himself to each individual to the degree that accords exactly with every person’s spiritual condition so that most people will turn to Him with their faith strengthened— yet God seems have not done so. To Sinnott-Armstrong this disproves the existence of such a God.

  1. II.                William Lane Craig’s response to the argument

Craig takes on the evidentialist challenge and thinks it is “fairly easy” to answer (p.107). One of his major theses is to first affirm Sinnott-Armstrong’s contention for agnosticism, while refuting “atheism.” He then dissects the evidentialist approach with a nuanced analogy: The absence of evidence for an elephant in this room is epistemically forceful against thinking there is one in this room, whereas the absence of evidence for a flea in the same room does not provide good epistemic ground for the disbelief of the presence of fleas there (p.108). The point of this analogy is that due to the limitation of human perception, hard evidence, while existing, may well fall outside of our reach. This allows faith to come in and play its role. Sometimes we have to trust the claims of those who have the “superior tools” to detect fleas in this room and stop begging for evidence to be shown before our naked eye.

Turning into the particularity of Christian worldview, in the next section Craig develops the thesis as to how an all-good and Almighty God would not reveal Himself more fully to the extent where the atheists would all be satisfied. Craig insists that God is much more interested in building a loving relationship with people than merely having them to believe in His existence. For in the Old Testament, God’s revealed-ness cannot be said of more conspicuous to the Israelites, “His chosen people”, yet those people “fell into apostasy with tiresome repetitiveness” (p.109). According to James 2:19, “even the demons believe that there is one God—and shudder.” God purports much more than “demonizing” our faith in Him.

Indeed, from the believers’ perspective the lack of evidence is never an established argument. According to Craig, God’s handiwork in nature already made people’s unbelief excuseless (Rom 1:20), and the moral conscience in each individual that provides the basic objective ground for talking about ethics is also evident to a supreme Judge (Rom 2:14-15).

Craig then concludes this section with a charge reminiscent of the classical argument of theodicy (Théodicée) by Leibniz. According to Leibniz, the actual world must be the “best” among all the possible worlds if we are to assume an all-good and Almighty God. Along this line, Sinnott-Armstrong’s attempt to deny the best world assumption by postulating “a yet better possible world” (namely, such a God could have done much better) is purely speculative and not logically persuasive.

  1. III.             Assessment of the strengths or weaknesses of Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument

Before we begin to evaluate Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument and Craig’s response, we have to be clear about the argumentative strategies they are using. In the section of “the argument from ignorance”, Sinnott-Armstrong seems to employ the evidentialist criterion to reject the belief in an all good and Almighty God. Craig’s response to the challenge consists of two majors parts. On the one hand, he attempts to weaken the standard of evidence so as to allow for a broader definition of proof in biblical terms, including “affirming the watchmaker by merely seeing the watch” and human conscience, which are not “universally accepted” as legitimate proof for God (just like not everyone has the tools to observe ‘fleas’ in the room) but are some kind of proofs nonetheless. On the other hand, Craig alludes to Leibniz’s classical theodicy dilemma, concluding that the speculation of a better (if not perfect) alternative world does by no means nullifies classical theism.

Sinnott-Armstrong made a few good points in his argument. First of all, all of those who want to insist an all good and Almighty God in the philosophical sense must be asked to prove they believe so rationally. Religious experience and miracles are not accessible to everyone who seeks for evidence. Unlike in the case of flea, where a microscope may suffice it to wipe out all skepticisms, classical theism cannot be proven rational in the evidential sense. Furthermore, religious experience and miracles may only suggest a “mighty God”, as opposed to an “all good and Almighty” one. To negate such a God, one only needs to postulate one single “unrealized” factor that could make up a better possible world (Sinnott-Armstrong hits this point in his discussion about war in the section “the problem of evil”). When more evidence about and from such a God should have fostered better faith in Him (hence more people are saved and a better world), it is absurd that an all good and Almighty God still makes Himself ambiguous to many.

I think Sinnott-Armstrong’s strategy is partially successful, for I don’t subscribe myself to classical theism or the philosopher’s God, either. I am a Barthian critical realist who thinks Christology is the first theology, especially when it comes to understanding the problem of suffering/evil. But here I have to point out his drawbacks even as it applies to classical theism.

First of all, Sinnott-Armstrong’s use of ‘faith’ seems not consistent throughout. In C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, the Anglican theologian distinguishes between two usages of the word: « Faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels … In the first sense it means simply Belief. » And he continues with the second definition: « Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. » [1] When Sinnott-Armstrong illustrated his evidentialist argument with his personal faith in his wife’s love, he seems to be talking about believing the evidence of her love shown toward him (p.105). But when Christians claim that rock solid evidence would wipe out the room for faith, this should be defined in the Lewisian term: “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1). This resilient faith would benefit from its own anti-fragility. So while his wife’s loving acts may strengthen his belief in her love for him, it might not work for the good of his faith in her love.

        Another line of critique, commonly advanced by reformed epistemologists, is that Sinnott-Armstrong fails noticing that certain beliefs in our lives are just properly basic. Questioning them will simply lead to sheer skepticism (or agnosticism or sollicism). Indeed, this seems to be the route he chooses to go when he advocates that “we should suspend belief until we have evidence (even if this is a very long time)” (p.104). However, I do not get why those who think they have experienced an all-good and Almighty God should not take their belief and experience as properly basic.

His skepticism-driven argument becomes even more problematic when he insists that the traditional God is obliged to manifest Himself more evidently (p.105). Certainly, we grant that better evidence does help an individual like Thomas to make up his little faith (John 20:26-28), but there are also other instances when the plethora of evidence may fail (Craig mentioned the ancient Israelites in the OT) or rob the person of His reward (John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”). Whether we subscribe to Leibniz’s theodicy or not, we have to acknowledge that it is sheer arrogant on our part to think that we can initiate a better world than this one by tweaking any part of it on God’s behalf. The famous case of butterfly effect teaches us that the complexity of this universe is beyond us. So who is to say that more evidence will save more or achieve greater good?

Lastly, I hope to say that no evidence can proof an all-good and Almighty God, and it is not of my interest to defend such a God. The created universe reveals His relationship to us as a creator; our moral conscience may indicate His relationship to us as a lawgiver and ours to Him as image-bearers. Our knowledge and belief of these do not come through deductive reasoning but through the revelation of analogies. Ultimately it takes a leap of faith (in Kierkegaard’s term) or a sanctified imagination (in C.S. Lewis’ term) to arrive a full-blown biblical faith in Him.


[1] Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere Christianity: a revised and amplified edition, with a new introduction, of the three books, Broadcast talks, Christian behaviour, and Beyond personality. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco

[文摘] Recent Genetic Science and Christian Theology on Human Origins: An “Aesthetic Supralapsarianism »

Source Link: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2010/PSCF9-10Schneider.pdf

John R. Schneider, ‘Recent Genetic Science and Christian Theology on Human Origins: An “Aesthetic Supralapsarianism »‘, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith; Volume 62, Number 3, September 2010, 196-212

Abstract:

Recent genomic science strongly supports the theory of common ancestry. To classical Protestants, particularly, this theory seems incompatible with Scripture, most especially with the “historical Fall,” which Protestants presume to be manifestly biblical and so have cemented it securely into their confessions and theology as a whole. Nevertheless, John Schneider proposes that it is important for traditional Protestants to consider alternatives to this essentially “Augustinian” view. He invites readers to examine Eastern thinking (mainly in Irenaeus of Lyon) together with a minority of Protestants (such as Karl Barth and supralapsarian Calvinists), for whom the Incarnation and Atonement are the purpose of creation from the beginning. Their understanding differs from the execution of divine “Plan B,” as implied by the Augustinian western version of an unintended “fall” from utopian first conditions. Schneider appeals to a fresh reading of the book of Job in support of an “aesthetic supralapsarianism,” which sustains Protestant virtues of biblical authority, divine sovereignty, and grace, while opening avenues to compatibility with evolutionary science.

—————-

About the author:

John Schneider

  • MA in theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • DD (Doctor of Divinity), University of Cambridge
  • Taught Christian theology at Westmont College (1981–1985)
  • Has taught theology at Calvin College (1986-)

—————

Summary and Critique

Basically, this author explores two views in the Bible (mainly OT) that account for the suffering, evil and imperfection in this world. From the dominant interpretation of Genesis 1-3, which John Schneider accredits to the Augustinian tradition, God created a perfectly harmonious world without suffering and death, and evil becomes a problem only after the Fall (Adam’s sin).

However, Schneider finds this view unconvincing on both moral and scientific grounds.

The evolutionary theory held by many today tend to believe that the first human beings are earth should be numbered at least 20,000, rather than 1 or 2. (This I explained in [文摘] 《聖經》創世記載的觀念整合與科學詮釋). On top of this, the first human beings should be extremely like animals in the sense of their moral capability, biological impulses, adaptation to the nature, and rationality.

So now, is God morally justified by leaving the first human beings- as moral novice- to confront the most cunning and shrewd species of HIS CREATION, namely, the serpent, and then blame them at their moral failure?

Not only is God’s world NOT so benign and innocent to begin with (besides cunning serpent, there were man-eating animals we suppose), but God also

inexplicably wanders off, purposely leaving moral novices alone in Eden with a master con artist who was out to wreck them and everything else God cared about, and then God wanders back only to seem shocked at what they had done, giving a good scolding, cursing the earth, taking away the serpents’ larynx and legs, and eventually wringing his hands in regret that he had made humans, and (literally) drowning his sorrows by washing most of them away. (204-205)

The solution, for the author, is to abandon this Augustinian dichotomy of perfection (creation) and imperfection (fall). It also means the abandonment of a historical fall (only to be substituted by an existential fall).

I am quite surprised that a Calvin College professor could venture so far away from the conventional interpretation to the rejection of the Historical Fall. Even though the proposal seems progressive and positive change to me, I still beg to disagree going so radical. In [文摘] 《聖經》創世記載的觀念整合與科學詮釋 I have mentioned that Adam could have well been a specially elect human being, to possess God’s living spirit and entitled as God’s Son, to be distinguished by his rationality and moral capability from all his contemporary homo sapiens. This preserves the historical Fall and also accounts for Cain’s « weird concern » and life style outside the Eden (Genesis 4) as well as the multiple-location/number anthropological theory of human origins.

But at any rate, for Karl Barth, Genesis 1-11 is saga and is beyond historical/scientific investigations. Its narrative function all points to the existential. This is why even though Barth holds on to the historical Fall, it is historical only as far as it is historic. To explain this point in Barth’s other words: there was no golden age of human perfection (determined by the pre-Fall Adam); human being is created to be followed by sin. That is to say, as soon as he faces his first moral encounter that is by « existential » and « personal » (Ricoeurian narrative) definition determines him as a human being, he falls.

This will be my critique against Schneider. When he draws from the well of Irenaeus and Barth, he paints too lightly the thick connection between Barth and Augustine.

But then, Schneider offers to good food for thought in the latter part of the paper where he explores God’s revelation to Job in his plight.

In Job 38-42, we find out that God is not opposed to the causes of the evil and chaos of the world. Rather, God initiates them while remaining above them.

One of Martin Luther’s biggest theological struggles is to comprehend God as the causes of everything, good and bad. Job, for a large part, also faces the struggle and eventually comes to terms with such a God through personal encounter.

Evidently, God uses Leviathan, Behemoth, vultures, violent whirlwind, and thunder to manifest His “omni-causality” over even the chaotic aspects of life and nature (in ancient Near Eastern world, these elements were first associated with Baal and other pagan gods); even Satan is His servant to achieve the ultimate goodness that only He Himself defines and knows.

One major flaw which Schneider perceives in the Augustinian theological framework is the dichotomous worldview of God and the Devil/human, of heaven and earth/hell. We need to free our concept of God from these false dichotomies in order to experience this God as big as He really is (Job 42:5).

The author says,

In my view, this is what Job “sees,” and this is what causes him to withdraw his question and to repent in “dust and ashes.” Job does not get (nor do we get) an explanation for why God has done these unfair things to him. He also gets no explanation as to how God might put these evils right, “defeat” them, as it were, by integrating them in all their disorder and ugliness into a perfectly ordered and beautiful plan (although this eventual victory of God is still embedded in the tradition the poet shapes).

What Job does “see” is that God is in complete command and mastery—he sees in a “second-person” sense what cannot be explained to him in “third-person” terms, apparently. He is able to see now with his own eyes (as it were) that God has “rightfully,” or “justly,” and not immorally or amorally, decided to make and to shape the world (and in microcosm, his own life) in this unexpected, undeserved, and painful way, including inexplicably great violence, disorder, suffering, and injustice. He sees in this nondidactic way that God is the sort of Being who knows exactly what he is doing and why, and that despite appearances, God is completely in control of the otherwise uncontrollable, chaotic situation. (207)

Behind the evil plan carried out by the Devil’s hand, loh and behold, it is indeed God’s hand.

What then, about the so-called « aesthetic supralapsarianism »? (The term coined by Schneider is confusing, for his inarticulate use of ‘aesthetic’ seems to betray his not-so-well-founded metaphysics.)

It is basically just Barth and postliberal Barthians have reiterated and articulated so well for so long time (but certainly I think we postliberals have the more articulated version):

Tthe word « supralapsarianism » is all about God’s plan to save before human beings have done wrong, for human being’s fall and the creation’s curse were not something unexpected to God upon the creation.

God has created the universe as a challenging playground to His sons and daughters to experience their own lives and grow in it (Rom 1:20-21). But God’s providential care is also constantly at hand so the challenge will not be too overwhelming (1 Cor 10:13). Ultimately, God has a salvation plan that stands both in continuity and discontinuity to His original creation of Adam. This is through Jesus Christ, who manifests the True humanity, and through whose name and power exclusively human beings will find the path to the eschaton, the ending goal of the universe where all things will be perfected and be united with God.

The history of the universe is not to go back to the alpha point like we are to revert to the status of just-born babies. Just like in the book of Job, the story neither stops at Job’s speechless silence (he was silenced because he was without speech!) and inner peace, nor is the ending a simple restoration of Job to his beginning status. Rather, blessed with blessings of double measure, bearing both his traumatic past and his new-found strength in the faith, Job reaches his ripe age on earth and actualizes his human potentiality (Job 42:10-17).

Job 42:17 And so Job died, old and full of days.

[文摘] « The Future of Theological Ethics », Studies in Christian Ethics, May 2012; 25 (2)

Source: http://sce.sagepub.com/content/current

This issue of SCE journal has some excellent contributions. See Below with my comments.  這期基督教倫理學期刊(2012年五月號)太讚了,內容幾乎全是圍繞著當前的劍橋後自由學派展開,值得導介一番。

Christian Public Reasoning in the United Kingdom: Apologetic, Casuistical, and Rhetorically Discriminate

  1. Nigel Biggar, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP, UK Email:nigel.biggar@chch.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Since the 1960s Christian ethics in Britain has become stronger, more theological, and more Protestant, so that its moral intelligence is now much more fully informed by the full range of theological premises. In the future, however, Christian ethics needs to make up certain recent losses: to re-engage with moral philosophy, in order to rebut the glib dismissal of religious ethics by popularising atheists; to read less philosophy and more history, in order to become plausible to public policy-makers; and to revive the model of interdisciplinary work, in order both to understand the matter which it would interpret morally and to inject Christian analyses and judgements into the bloodstream of public discourse.

  • 對當代英語學界神學思想史和倫理學研究具有先知開創地位的 Biggar 為本期提供了一個宏觀的開場和學術掌故。這是本領域舊雨新知必讀的一篇論文。

Reasoning from out of Particularity: Possibilities for Conversation in Theological Ethics*

  1. Daniel H. Weiss, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9BS, UK Email: dhw27@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

Frequently, theological particularity can hinder attempts at inter-religious conversations in theological ethics, as each tradition’s reasoning is inextricably bound up with core doctrinal elements not shared by other traditions. I argue, however, that elements of particularity can facilitate conversation when emphasis is placed on movements of ethical reasoning between particular statements within each tradition. By examining the classical rabbinic practice of verbal forewarning in capital cases, I show that although the starting point and ending point of an instance of theological reasoning may be ‘exclusivistic’, the relationship between those points can serve as the basis for comparison and dialogue.

  • 寫這篇的 Weiss 就是他家大老 David Ford 的打手。根本論述是 Scriptural reasoning 的那一套而沒有突破。這篇論文的貢獻在於掃盲,而對英倫系統的後自由神學的進展沒有幫助。

Evolutionary Theory and Theological Ethics

  1. John Hare, Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA Email: john.hare@yale.edu

Abstract

This paper is about the problematic interface between evolutionary scientists’ talk about ethics and current work in philosophy and theology. The paper proceeds by taking four main figures from four different disciplines. The four disciplines are neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, primatology and game theory, and the four figures are Joshua Greene, Mark Hauser, Frans de Waal and Ken Binmore. The paper relates the views of each of these figures to recent work in philosophical and theological ethics.

  • Hare 提供的是當前很重要的一塊拼圖,意即從哲學上主流的無神論自然哲學系統(偏唯物論的實用主義)來協調神學倫理學的地位。畢竟沒有這一塊,神學就不可能在哲學邏輯上完全沿展開而成為在學術和社會上都站得住腳的公共神學,而難免只是信徒自己抱殘守缺的吶喊。

Response to John Hare

  1. Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, UK Email: sc545@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

John Hare’s paper successfully exposes philosophical naïvéties and reductive pretensions in the evolutionary research he surveys. But he fails to clarify how ‘God’, on a view such as Dominic Johnson’s, could not be seen merely as a dispensable projection of ‘primitive’ societies, and thus how his own continuing commitment to a Kantian ethic might need to be bolstered by a concomitant form of ‘natural theology’ attentive to evolutionary dynamics.

  • 目前在公共神學上,將哲學沿展到極限的成果,將能得到一種有神論,也就是Kant 自然神論、實踐理性,和神導進化論的三點一線。可是Coakley 在這指出,這個工程在純哲學上還做得不到位(至少在Hare所整理出的四大論述中是如此)。因著 Coakley 本於正統基督教神學的立場,她會認為純哲學系統下來為神學的公共性制訂疆界,會仍無法脫離當初自由神學Feuerbach把「神學」搞成「人學」的困境。

The Future of Theological Ethics

  1. Raymond Geuss, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CE3 9DA, UK.

Abstract

The traditional discipline of apologetics contained an important insight about the necessity for Christians to address non-Christians about their practices and beliefs; however, in the modern world apologetics needs to be refocused to include not just non-Christians who have specific theoretical objections of Christianity, but also the large number of those who are simply indifferent to religious issues.

  • Geuss 一直是我極為欣賞的哲學家,屬於當前英語學界少數極為精通歐陸脈絡的一流學者。他在這非常精闢地指出,向來走在神學倫理學之前的護教學也必須跟著轉型,它不能光只跟那些反對宗教的人對話(也就是 negative apologetics,防禦性的「消極護教學」),更需要在這個時代使那些根本就不關心宗教的人正視宗教(上帝)存在的價值和必要性(也就是 positive apologetics,進攻性的「積極護教學」)。由他來說出這句話,比 Alvin Plantinga 還更為鏗鏘有力。

The Future of Theological Ethics

  1. Oliver O’Donovan, New College, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK Email:oliver.odonovan@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Ethics is distinguished as a field of study within the realm of organised knowledge which interprets moral experience. Christian ethics assumes this interpretation into the hermeneutic framework of Christian theology in relation to a hope for the renewal and recovery of human agency. Its theme is moral thinking in general, which it understands within the framework of faith. It is dependent on philosophical ethics, but presumes and aims at more. The concepts handled by theological ethics include analytic categories coined to describe the operations of moral thought itself, concepts that name qualities and performances of universal importance, and concepts belonging both to dogmatics and ethics, e.g. ‘sin’. It is concerned to describe the ‘architecture’ of life in the Spirit: World, the framework of meaning, Self, the agent, Time, the immediate future open to action. It resists pressure for theoretical economy in favour of unipolar theories. Its tasks include critical engagement with issues of policy or practice in wider discussion, engagement with particular moral dilemmas, the exploration of special fields, such as bioethics, marriage, economics, critical conceptual interaction with philosophy, interaction with biblical exegesis, exposition of texts from the tradition of theological ethics, and comparative intertraditional enquiry.

  • 屬於保守脈絡的 O’Donovan 這篇沒有什麼洞見,只是掃盲。

A Metaphysical Kant: A Theological Lingua Franca?

  1. Christopher Insole, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, UK Email:christopher.insole@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

I track a strand of intellectualist theology, running from Kant’s pre-critical into his critical work, whereby the divine will is constrained in its creative activity by the divine understanding. I suggest that Kant’s intellectualist theology continues to do important work in his mature conception of transcendental idealism, transcendental freedom and autonomy. I consider briefly how this might impact upon theological ethics, particularly in relation to the conflict between Kantian secularists and religious believers. I conclude by asking whether Kant’s intellectualist theology—with its Platonic strands—opens up possibilities for inter-faith dialogue.

  • 這是一個目前卡住英倫系統的後自由神學極為關鍵的課題,也就是「Kant 自然神學究竟需要做出什麼幅度的修正,才有可能成為(跨宗教)公共神學的基礎」。這篇文章大致來說,Insole 明顯對 Kant 系統有所偏袒,太信心也太樂觀了。我認為可以指出的包含三個修改議程:第一點,是從(Kant)超驗唯心論到(Barth, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein)批判實在論的距離。第二點是把上帝當成義務論基礎的「上帝身份」問題。第三點是把上帝當成義務論基礎的「義務論」內容問題。

The Future of Theological Ethics: Response to Christopher Insole

  1. Robert Gibbs, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 170 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8, Canada Email: robert.gibbs@utoronto.ca

Abstract

I shift the focus from questions of rational theology to questions of law and interrogate the nature of ethics from the perspective of Jewish philosophy. The key critical issues for criticising Kant’s philosophy will be the separation of ethics and law and the reduction of the sollen of morality to a kind of necessity. Nonetheless, I suggest that Jewish thinkers will follow Kant in thinking about God first from the perspective of practical philosophy.

  • Gibbs 的回應集中在我前面所提出的義務論問題。直接以 Kant 為公共神學基礎的後果,將產生主體「能動性」和「意志」被「單元化」的問題,下場不若是:倫理被教條/律法化,人類服從上帝的「倫理行動」淪為機器人服從主人命令的機械行為,以及「實踐理性」被化約為如同計算機科學一樣的生冷數學公式。

Concluding Remarks

  1. Christopher Insole, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, UK Eamil:christopher.insole@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

I suggest some ways in which a certain type of ‘post-foundationalism’ has had a deleterious effect in theological ethics. Much ‘post-foundationalism’ is in truth still foundationalism, albeit less reflective and more permissive, leading to a balkanised plethora of foundationalist systems. Although Wittgenstein is critical of foundationalism, it is by applying Wittgensteinian insights that we are able to avoid some of the reductive and unipolar thinking that has characterised some recent theological discussion.

  • Insole 這篇也是必讀的。不少走 Barth、Lindbeck 路線的後自由教會和神學院都走向了一種「非基礎主義」的真理觀。如果站在教會合一的大公基礎上,那這表面上是沒問題的。但如果再加入與猶太教、伊斯蘭教,到佛教或無神論之間不同親近度的關係,就會明顯發現原先「非基礎主義」提供的層次仍然遠遠不夠厚實和細膩(也就是仍有化約主義的毛病)。因而從歐陸批判理論的角度看這裡必須輔以 Habermas,而從分析哲學而言所需要的解鈴人正是 Wittgenstein。Insole 正是從 Wittgenstein的脈絡出發,把批判實在論這塊拼圖補上。
  • 只是個人未必會完全同意 Insole 的結論:為免基督救恩的獨特性褪色,我仍然強調「基礎主義」(post-foundationalism)是比「新基礎主義」(neo-foundationalism)更值得在神學上堅持的立場。

[護教談論] 恩典會失落嗎?得救=信心+持續的好行為?

最近有一個學生,在服事中有些困惑,問了下面這些問題:

得救這件事情 無庸置疑的 是因著信 今天我的疑問是 得著救恩的人 還會因著犯罪 失去永生嗎? 這個是很經典的一個癥結處,

1. 有人說我們因著信 而得到這份救恩 是到底的 無論今天發生甚麼樣的事情 這個救恩 是甚麼都不能叫我們與神的愛隔絕的 誰也不能把我們從神裡奪去所以我們永不滅亡
2. 也有人說, 我們因著信而得到這個救恩, 我們離了神 就像壞枝子一樣被剪去 因著信了之後 犯了罪 沒有悔改 會失去救恩 (反之, 要不斷地悔改不斷的得救 /在成聖的道路上不斷地悔改) 因我們有罪 就不能見 神的面 最後要被丟進黑暗裡 因為我們這些信的人/知道的人 沒有穿禮服 預備和參加婚宴 , 得知真道以後 故意犯罪 贖罪的祭就再也沒有了

悔改 –> 悔過與改進 沒有改進 就不算是真正的悔改 (仍然需要行為上的由內而外的改變 –> 可是我們的救恩乃是因信而稱義) 不會因為沒有行為上的表現而失去 只是沒有活出一個好的得勝的生活與見證吧? 但是今天一個人 失去了信, 離了神 還能因 當初一次的信心 就永遠得救了呢? 雅各書雖說 « 信心若沒有行為就是死的 » 但這個信心, 與得救的信心似乎是不同的信心? 但是雅各書上也寫到 « 那些迷失真道的 (信 而失去的?), 有人使他回轉, 便是救一個靈魂不死 (所以他若沒回轉–>悔改, 靈魂就會死嗎?), 並且遮蓋許多的罪 »
« 救到底 » 是指救那些持守在基督裡的人 還是救那些凡接待 祂的人 (都是神的兒女, 無論是持守到底, 還是偏離了道路的)?

我們得著救恩之後, 都在成聖的道路上各自用不同的方式行走, 有人走的快, 有人走的慢也許有人走得偏離了 會不會只是 好見證與不好見證/有福沒福的分別呢?
當一個基督徒生命到達最終的時候 犯了一個罪 也許是說謊 也許是不原諒 還沒有悔改 還得救嗎? (原諒我這個假設有點扯….)
還是 這個凡信祂的人的這個 »信 » 指的是信到底/忍耐到底的信 –> 以至於 »忍耐到底的必然得救 »
相信上面引用的經文處 都來自不同的背景針對不同的對象, 而聖經也不會反覆自我矛盾 那到底誰說的才是合乎聖經的呢?

再一次原諒我的思緒和對於真理的混亂, 不知道你能否理解我想表達的意思? 感謝你寶貴的時間 提供我在救恩上一個清晰的概念!

我只是一位幫忙回答的人。但我想把我的回答也跟有類似困惑的弟兄姊妹們分享:

這樣講吧:神已經把救恩預備好了,關鍵就是去抓住。

這個救恩,是神在耶穌基督裡豐富完整的恩惠,是夠用的。包括行善、克服罪性、行奏人生道路所需用的一切信心、能力。
成為基督徒,就是單單倚靠恩典(sola gratia),相信主的應許,並脫去舊人、換上新人。

所有一切的懷疑,都是因為對這個恩典的認識不深。
靠信心得救也對,靠行為的果子得救也對。因為那都是出自於這個恩典。
但是太過強調其中一項,甚至將之絕對化,就會產生一些庸人自擾的教義問題。
但事實上,人只有兩種,一種是倚靠上帝恩典而活的人,一種是不倚靠上帝恩典的人。

前者會有信心,也會忍耐到底、也會有行為。
而後者,別無救恩給他。因為一個「這麼大的恩典」,你都可以不去支取了,你還要什麼呢?

神學家巴特喜歡說,後面這種人是過著「自欺欺人」(falsify)的人生,被許多杞人憂天的假問題困擾著:彷彿恩典不夠用、彷彿主耶穌救不了你脫離罪和死權、彷彿你的問題比神的能力還大、彷彿神在基督裡已經永恆揀選了你的旨意不是真的。

我相信很多信主的人,都會有這種一時的迷惘(覺得自己勝不過,或要失去救恩了)。這時我作為傳道人,就要一再地將主的信息告訴他們:單單仰望主,仰望祂的恩典,因為主是信實的,祂的恩典夠用。

然而值得注意的是,恩典在個人身上的彰顯是有層次的,就像是五千兩、二千兩、一千兩,這三種情況。

有的人,有好果子結實了百倍,在天國大得賞賜。

有的人,浪蕩一生,卻在臨終決志(沒來得及結果子),主也說「你今日要同我在樂園裡了」。為這位回頭的浪子,天父要為他殺牛宰羊,大開天國中歡慶的筵席。但是那忠心做工結果的長子,賞賜是更大的(不需要去嫉妒迷途知返的弟弟),因為天父說:「我所有的一切都是你的」。

然而還有一種人,沒能參與在這屬天的筵席。他們終其一生隨屬世之風飄移,最終失去了救恩。巴特就說這等人就是有意無意把恩典看為假(falsify)、自己把恩典給「虛化」了。他們實際就像那領一千兩的,不是沒有恩典給他們。但他在主給他的一生時間當中,都把這一千兩埋在土裡,過自己漫無目的的人生。這樣的人,會故意犯罪、會跟上帝「請假」,會無法結果子、會把上帝(或教會)當成暴君,說祂「要在沒有種的地方收割、在沒有給的地方要得著」。

這是錯的。人不需要去羨慕五千兩的,甚至不需要為自己算計「學浪子在下半生或人生最後一刻悔改就好了」,人只需要在今天去把上帝託付的一千兩恩賜給挖出來使用。

主必堅立你手所做的工,而祂(在那無人可以預期的時刻)回來時,必要大大誇讚你。