Tagged: Christianity

Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the “New Age”

This official text of the Catholic Church on New Age movement is the result of a six-year study on the New Age movement. It was published in 2003, and is critical of the movement. The Vatican theologians consider New Age philosophies to be based on “weak thought” and highlight the differences between Catholic thought and the New Age paradigms. The Vatican wants to warn Catholics against mixing Christian meditation with Eastern approaches to spirituality. The document also discusses the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, which it characterizes as “a paradigm for our engagement with truth”. The document concludes that “..there is never...

Christianity

Summary of Christian Beliefs It’s hard to define what Christian belief actually includes. The following list is modeled after the Catholic Church requirements;  other Christian groups may not agree with everything on this list. That there is one supreme, eternal, infinite God, the Creator of heaven and earth. That the good will be rewarded by him for ever in heaven, and that the wicked who die unrepentant will be punished for ever in hell. That in the Holy Trinity there are three Persons, coeternal, coequal: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That the Second Person of...

The Message of Jesus

During the Fall of 2015,  I was teaching a class on mysticism, and the question was raised, what are the central teachings of Jesus? Is Jesus a mystic? What are the ingredients for a genuine Christian life? These questions are important because one cannot claim to be Christian and at the same time ignore the examples set by the life of Jesus. It is not enough to proclaim that “Jesus saved me and will save you” in order to be a true Christian, despite  the claim that salvation occurs through faith alone. What are the central teachings of Jesus, and what are...

Kierkegaard: The Inwardness of Existence

Kierkegaard’s works are interesting to read, they have a freshness and intensity that separates them from other philosophical writings. It is easy to get lost in his aphorisms – but what are the main features of his thought? I will examine his view of becoming a Christian, his idea of a “subjective truth,” and the “dialectic of existence.”  

Aquinas: Is the Incarnation necessary?

John 1,14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  The incarnation is probably the aspect of Christianity that is hardest to grasp. In the following articles from the third part of the Summa Theologica,  Thomas Aquinas explains why this was necessary for the salvation of human beings. God could have saved us in many ways, but the incarnate Christ is the most elegant and easiest solution. Here is his reasoning: (The text is quoted from the New Advent website.) Article 1. Whether it was fitting that God should become incarnate? Objection 1. It would seem that it was...

Sermon on the Mount

The  “Sermon on the Mount” is a central to the teachings of Jesus. It is a sermon that he gave to his disciples relatively early in his journey, and it contains the famous “Beatitudes”, blessings of people who are in the eyes of the world poor, stupid, unfortunate, or suffering. It also contains the “Lord’s Prayer,”  the direction on how to pray. This text is from the Gospel of Matthew,  and I quote chapters 5 to 7, from the “New International Version (NIV)” translation. Introduction 5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat...

Augustine of Hippo: On Dialectics.

Augustine, De Dialectica (trans. J. Marchand) From the translator: It is hard to translate, not because the Latin is hard; it is not. But St. Augustine likes to use particles (he is educating his son) and the like, and I wanted to preserve the flavor. This is not a scientific treatise. At the same time, I note that the translation I give is sometimes too literal, since I also wanted to avoid falsifying St. Augustine and to preserve much of his introtextuality and self-reference. The Roman numeral at the beginning of each paragraph is a link to the corresponding paragraph...