Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Obligatory Introductory Post

It seems like blogs are supposed to have their first post be some sort of introductory post. That post is supposed to tell what the blog will be about, the author's aims in writing the blog, and perhaps how often they plan to post. Thus, about: whatever I happen to think about long enough, i.e.,  philosophy, theology more generally, and possibly worldbuilding. Aim: to not write blog-post-sized Facebook statuses about theology (as I've approached at times), to show what I am thinking to whoever finds it interesting, and especially to offer a Christian philosophy that attempts to be as centered in the glory of God as possible. How often: no plan, as stuff comes out of my fingers it may end up posted here. I do not plan to post for the sake of posting. I would very much like what I post here to be helpful, and to that end it seems best to only post about what I find myself needing at the time, or about things that I have had more than a mere week to consider, and, ideally, both. This does not necessarily mean that I won't post much. I am creating this blog because I have recently, and increasingly, wished I had a blog on which to post various things.

A few explanations of what I mean by certain things.


Philosophy and theology

Although majoring in philosophy, I view philosophy as, properly, a branch of theology. God being the creator and sustainer of all that is, even us, his nature, therefore, when seen, i.e., when  rightly and fully and deeply understood, has in it the perfect explanation of how and why and what and to what end all things are, even matters of epistemology and aesthetics, as well as matters of ethics, metaphysics, and all else. God being the answer, in a sense, to these things, successful philosophy seeks God. Now theology is often described as the study of God, so what is the difference between successful philosophy and theology? I would suggest that the largest difference is in which sphere, or mode, of thinking the practitioner prefers, or engages in most. This distinction may only truly exist in religions that have strong roots in some scripture.

Christian theologians study God primarily from the text of the Bible. Thus, when asked a question, a theologian will consider various passages of scripture and how they relate to the matter at hand. He will then put those passages together, attempting to find how they fit together. This is not bad at all, in fact, all theologians ought to study scripture well, in order that there might be a wealth of material for him to draw on, aided by the Spirit.

The difference with Christian philosophers, specifically, is that they tend to think of realities that are implied at a much deeper level in scripture, as well as those that seem to be implied merely by looking at how the world is. Not deeper in the sense that they are closer to truth and holier, but deeper in the sense that scripture does not place them in front of the reader as it does other things, such as God's more obvious attributes and the commandments. This is also not bad, it is still exegesis of the Word of God, which is still truth. The philosopher does have a harder challenge in some ways, however. A philosopher must not forsake the written Word for the sake of the world, and he must remember that the world is not as it was made. The world is fallen, and so, there are places where a common sense exegesis, even without flaw apart from the fact that it forgets the fallen nature of the world, would teach falsehood. A philosopher must also remember that his own reason is flawed. Not that a theologian (as is more commonly thought of) is safe from this manifestation of pride, but it becomes a greater threat to the philosopher because he deals with the art of reasoning in a way that makes it appear less dependent on the grace of God. The common theologian has the scriptures before him more often, and is therefore often reminded that even his premises come from God. The philosopher ought to meditate on the his own nature as both a created and fallen being before a holy and perfect God, remembering that in God is all truth, and in the philosopher is no truth except that which God has granted to give to him.

It should be noted that the philosopher is a theologian, and, as such, ought to be thinking in scripture, just as the Christian theologian ought. It is a great encouragement to find oneself writing on some topic and find at some point that another has reasoned in a similar manner, in a similar way, then, it is encouraging to find oneself coming to conclusions and pressing statements that are themselves expressed in scripture.


World Building

A hobby that I dabble in, Tolkien called it "sub-creation" referring to how he thought of it as an act of worship to his own creator. As God has created us, so, in a similar way, Tolkien created Middle-Earth. For myself, worldbuilding is where I imagine how things could be, ideas, cultures, etc. As it stands in the list of things I might post about, it gives me an excuse to post about, really, anything. We'll see what becomes of it, if I even end up posting about it.


The Title

I suppose it is almost obligatory: an explanation of why I chose the title. The short answer is: I am in both worlds. The most obvious sense of this is that I am saved, and so I am both a citizen of another world, completely certain that I will see that kingdom, as far as worry it is as good as done: I am as good as there, yet I am in this world, excitedly--even anxiously--waiting for God's kingdom to come. A second way: I've joked about living in an ivory tower, and I enjoy dense philosophical writing, but I have been given a gift in that I really care about people. I would pull an all-nighter without regret to comfort someone, but I would be irked if I had to pull an all-nighter for a school project. Another sense is that I worldbuild, which is partly because I tend to ask questions that are entirely devoid of consequence in reality. In this way I am entirely not here, yet the questions are brought up by things that are here.

What I mean by "a Christian philosophy that attempts to be as centered in the glory of God as possible," I will leave for another post, which will likely touch on what I see as common, or dangerous, inclinations in at least some areas of christian philosophy.

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