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Confessions: Book VI – Chapters 9 – 16

https://projectaugustine.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/fbc28-after_carlo_cignani_joseph_and_potiphars_wife_d5744784h-1.png

“Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife”, Carlo Cignani (Italian, 1628 – 1719)

We will finish Book VI of Confessions, where Augustine deals with issues of the pursuit of truth, his struggles with lust, the afterlife, and final judgment.

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UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book III – Chapters 7 – 12

Spirit

What do we mean when we say that God is ‘Spirit’? What is a ‘spirit’ anyway? How is it different from a soul? How do we relate with God’s spirit? Or is ‘spirit’ just a fancy way of saying ‘I have no clue what I’m talking about’?

 

So we had a very active and stimulating meeting last night and discussed a whole range of topics; a lot of it focused on the nature of God and how He relates with us.

 

Virtually all of us agreed that a theocracy was not the best form of government and disagreed that the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked about would not fall under the category of a theocracy; strains of Manichean beliefs or at least dualism within not only charismatic and fundamentalist sects of Christianity but also Catholicism; struggling to define what a ‘spirit’ actually is and what it means that God is ‘spirit’, and whether or not it differs with the concept of a soul; the eternal question of free will and God’s sovereignty (i.e. Does God have a predetermined plan for everyone’s lives or are we responsible for our own actions) and whether or not the universe might be free and open; and discussions on whether or not God suffers and if that is the case, does that mean He can change his mind or plan on things.

 

Here are our essays.

 

 

 

Plotinus – The One, The Mind, and the Soul and Christian Theology

 

We had a very good opening session last night to start the new semester.

We delved into Plotinus’ general philosophy and how it influenced Christian philosophy.  We can see its legacy even to this day in Christian circles.

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Do Animals Believe in God? Animal Spirituality

 

The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark (1613) Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625)

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
 Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of all mankind.”

– Job 12: 7 – 10

 

 

Came across a brief yet interesting article about the possibility of animals having a religion or a sense of God or the divine.

 

Although this might be highly speculative, I do not find it would be surprising at all if some animals had some rudimentary form of religion.  Also, I have no problems at all with God communicating with animals in ways that only they can understand but we cannot.  Just as animals cannot understand our ways of spirituality, it might just well be the case that we cannot understand their specific ways of worshiping God.

 

If it is proven that animals have a true sense of the divine (a sensus divinitatis), what would that mean for human spirituality and religion?

 

How would our ideas and theologies about God, creation, and our (human beings’) place in the universe change in light of this?  How would we treat animals – particularly those that we eat as food – in light of this?  Would it make a difference?  How would it impact the theories of how religion came about in mankind or in general?

 

I haven’t seen much writing or studies on animal spirituality or religiosity, but I’m intrigued to find out more about it.

 

Abstract on Do Animals Have Religion? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion and Embodiment”.