Project Augustine

“Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Roads Not Taken” – Part 1

Image result for intelligent design

We will cover the first half of Chapter 2 of “The Groaning of Creation”.

Please answer one of the following questions:

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UPDATE: The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Image result for skull in desert

Is God Responsible for extinctions that happen throughout nature?  Does he cause them? Is there something good that can come about through the extinction of a species?  Or is it a total waste?

 

Yesterday, we discussed how extinction may not be a total loss, the role of humans in God’s creation, an eschatological ‘need’ for redemption, a response to Ivan Karamazov, and whether or not God played a direct role in the evolution of homo sapiens.

Our response are here.

 

 

 

 

“The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Above is a reading from a scene between Ivan (a skeptic) and his religious brother Alyosha from Fydor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov regarding the difficulty of believing in a loving God in the face of the abuse and suffering of innocent children.

 

Though Southgate’s book focuses primarily on the suffering of animals, he uses the illustration above in this chapter to convey his thesis that “[T]he crux of the problem is not the overall system and its overall goodness but the Christian’s struggle with the challenge to the goodness of God posed by specific cases of innocent suffering.”

 

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UPDATE: “The Groaning of Creation” – Preface – Chapter 1-1.5: Part I:

 

We completed our first session of our new book last Sunday.

One of the takeaways of the session was the discovery that when dealing with issues in theodicy, it wasn’t necessarily that we had a problem with the horror of suffering, death, and randomness in the world, but rather the real issue was that we had an issue with God – namely the goodness with God that we were having a hard time with.

You can read our essays here.

The youtube clip above gives us an interesting overview of the moral issues we have over animals.  Why is it that we have no qualms eating a cow, but we are repulsed by the idea of eating a pet cat?  They are both animals right?  Why is one right and the other wrong?  Answer seems simple and obvious, but it’s interesting to think about at another level.

 

 

“The Groaning of Creation” – Preface – Chapter 1-1.5

 

We will begin a new semester this year as we focus on topics in theology and science.  This time, we will cover Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution, and the Problem of Evil.

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A Look at Christmas – Some Different Viewpoints

 

Image result for christmas pictures of baby jesus in the manger

Merry Christmas everyone!

Around the world, people (Christians and non-Christians alike) are celebrating this perennial winter holiday.

Here are some interesting articles I recently came upon that explores what the Bible says about the Virgin Birth (really technically the “Virgin Conception”) and the genre of the gospels as well.

The Not-So Virgin Birth of God” and “Six Problems with the Virgin Birth: Biblical and Historical Perspective“.

And an interesting article on how the date of December 25 came to be celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.

Here are our group’s personal reflections on Christmas and the Virgin birth as well from earlier in the year.

Some things to chew on for this Christmas season.

 

 

“Silence” – a film by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s new move “Silence” opens this Christmas day.

It is based on Shusaku Endo’s book.

For historical background on the movie and the book, check out our post (the last essay on the bottom) about this topic here.

 

 

 

 

Masterclass in Neurotheology

NEUROTHEOLOGY Masterclass

hosted by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research  (www.thecir.info)

Sept. 10 – Dec. 10, 2016

 

This advanced interdisciplinary course meets for eight 3-hour Saturday morning sessions over a 3-month period.

 

No background in theology or science is required, but a commitment to reading the notes, which are drawn from Ron Choong’s PhD dissertation, is expected.

 

This inaugural CIR Master-Class will feature Ron Choong’s doctoral work submitted as an interdisciplinary PhD dissertation in 2009 to Princeton Seminary.

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UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book IX – Chapters 7 – 13

Clergymen bow and touch relics of Lebanese St. Rafqa as they are displayed for visitors on Nov. 6, 2014, at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Easton.

 

Today, we concluded the autobiographical portion of Augustine’s Confessions.  Most colleges courses covering this book would normally stop here, but we will continue with the rest of the books.

It is interesting, as one person put it, that when he went seminary in his late 30’s, he was surrounded by young 20-year olds straight out of college.  When it came to reading Augustine’s Confessions, many of the young people found it a bit boring and less applicable; however, the handful of older people in the class felt a deeper connection while reading the book because they went through the same struggles, experiences, and questions as Augustine had but afraid to share them with others.  So I guess when you re-read Confessions later on in your life, the deeper the connection you feel with Augustine.

We discussed whether or not traditional “biblical” gender roles still apply till this day, as well as how Protestants uphold the doctrine of Sola Scriptura  and some problems it has in today’s context; the use and abuse of relics in the Church in history; Augustine’s Neoplatonic view of the afterlife after his vision or epiphany with his mother Monica; and Mike (not written here) talked about whether or not salvation was conditional or unconditional – the Bible seems ambivalent in some respects with the issue.

Our essays can be found here.

 

 

“Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 7 – 13

Death of St. Monica
(scene 13, south wall), 1464 – 65, Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1421 – 1497), fresco, Apsidal chapel, Sant’Agostino, San Gimignano

 

We conclude Book IX of Confessions as Augustine describes his time in the seaport of Ostia, near Rome, around 387 AD.

 

He had been baptized in the spring and headed south in the summer with a small company of friends and family.  They had intended to return to Africa and form a community for prayer, study, and the service of God.  But when they arrived, the Mediterranean Sea was sealed off as both the Eastern and Western emperors fought one another and the usurper Maximus.

 

Here, in the latter half of the book, he recounts his last memories of his mother Monica.

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