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Rev Abhi Solomon's Philosophy of Religion Column

David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1067

31 March 2018, 11:03 PM

Abhi is the Superintendent Presbyter at Devonport Methodist Parish and a post-grad student at Auckland University's Department of Philosophy. The latest topics from his Parallaxis website are now linked in our Doing Theology and Church History Group, here.  Click any topic for the latest insight. 

Stuart Manins's profile picture
Posts: 140

13 April 2018, 11:34 AM

There is no doubt that Neitzche's parable of the madman seeking God has had an immense influence on religious thinking over the past century.

'God' is such an illusive term that I would hesitate to defend or challenge a universal acceptance of what it might mean for all people. I think the terms 'God lives' and 'God is dead' mean different things to different people. And I think that they have meant different things for the same people over a lifetime of changing meanings. The biblical text demonstrates this.

In the sense that I believe that there is something bigger than I am to which I owe my existence, I am a Deist. But I am uncomfortable with the Theistic view that this God intervenes continually in my life, particularly if this involves supernatural phenomena.

I don't think that my present beliefs are absolute truths; just what I choose to believe to give me some guidance on how to live my everyday life so that I can get on with other people without being totally self centred. And I believe that I am more than just a human machine.

I think that both claims have value. In following Jesus, I like to imagine that the Christ of God lives in me in what I say and do. It's as simple and as difficult as that. This gives me the comforting expectation that I can see God in others, and indeed in the world around me. This gives such joy that it easily elicits worship, or a sense of the worth of God.

On the other hand, the ideas I had of God when I was a child brought up by sincere but fundamentalist parents, have changed as I have developed through my education and experience with other Christians. In this sense, the 'god' of my limited understanding has needed to die and be resurrected continually. Maybe this is a fundamental message of Easter for me.

How does my concept of God need to change so that a new more adequate one can emerge?

Greg Morgan's profile picture
Posts: 25

01 May 2018, 8:50 PM

I have just read Anne Lamott's little book Stitches; a handbook on meaning, hope and repair. Lamott, essayist, novelist and writer of powerful memoirs, is a recovered alcoholic who lives in Marin County in the States. This passage reminded me of your words Stuart:

'When we agree to (or get tricked into ) being part of something bigger than our own wired, fixated minds, we are saved. When we search for something larger than our own selves to hook into, we can come through whatever life throws at us.

"Larger" can mean a great cause, a project of restoration, or it can means a heightened, expansive sense of the now.... Larger can mean a six-pound addition to the family - nothing is larger than a newborn - and it can mean mountains, fjords and sand dunes.'

Lamott writes of her father and brother as teachers. 'People who teach others to read or to navigate a library, who don't give up on slow or challenged students, will get the best seats in heaven. I don't know a lot, but I know this to be true.... My father and brother had to find a resource deep down inside themselves, too, because hope is a conversation [Greg's italics]. They had to be able to tap into someting more authentic than the Lamott deafult skills of being on, of charm, and our standrd offer of affection: I love you, here are the rules.' 

David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1067

20 November 2019, 10:51 PM

It's not all that often one of the people we follow and sometimes discuss turns up at the church. So Rev Abhishek's upcoming appointment is a source of considerable theological pleasure. And let's not forget all the other good things about the appointment too.

It's exciting...hence, got me thinking about how we do our theology. 

After a year at Browne School of Art in the printmaking course, I've changed my opinion on the best way to do theology. Until now, I've believed that theology is best done as a collective (congregation, cell group, specific study group) in mutually modifying dialogue about the nature of belief, the gods, God, etc.

Now I think that the best kind of theology emerges from the dialogue which is is at the intersection of the nature of belief and the fundamentals of every other kind of spirited enquiry. For example, look at NZ print-maker Marion Maquire here.

And watch the video - if you are logged into kiwiconnexion  - in this post.


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