Exploring contemporary theology and our quest for spiritual peace.
Join with me in the search for a 21st century Christian Theology.
Challenges, Issues and Message
Reason and Faith are Compatible
It's the 21st century. Statistics reveal Christian doctrine has become a tough sell among the educated. Christianity is losing the attention of people under 50. Unfortunate clerical behavior demeans the character of the church and casts doubt on Christian doctrine.
Christianity is under attack. Questions have been raised about traditional beliefs. The activities and dogmas of individual religions are frequently confused with the values and philosophy of Christian Theology. Christians are openly scorned. Social trends support the propagation of an amoral, class oriented, tribal, pop-culture theology. Anti-Christian zealots vociferously believe Christian Theology, and Christian institutions, must be abolished. They propose alternative ideologies that champion oppressive government dictatorship and robotic behavior control.
Critics claim Christian Theology has not kept pace with human knowledge, including the revelations of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, astronomy, and archeology. Since many Christian traditions and beliefs continue to be based on the limitations of obsolete first century mythology and science, Christian doctrine has acquired a credibility problem.
We cannot run away from these challenges by pretending they do not exist. Endless quotations from the Bible fall on mostly deaf ears. The anger of religious zealotry only serves to increase the derision and disdain of those who believe it is politically correct to despise Christianity. Failure to address our challenges invites an acceleration of Christianity’s decline in the United States and Europe.
We are being challenged to establish a reasonable consistency between the doctrines of Christian Theology and our comprehension of the Cosmos. The knowledge content of 21st century Christian Theology must be compatible with well-established human knowledge.
Can Christian Theology transcend the limitations of ancient convention?
For the first several centuries after the death of Jesus church elders struggled to define the system of beliefs that would become Christian Theology. Their work was framed by contemporary superstitions, cultural norms, established philosophies, competing religions, contemporary politics, and first century science. They selected, edited, and published the books of the Bible, developed a male centric theological doctrine, and established formal religions. They characterized the ministry of Jesus Christ according to their objectives and their understanding of the world in which they lived.
That was almost 2,000 years ago. Over 700 years have passed since Saint Thomas Aquinas summarized his views on natural law, metaphysics, and the interaction of faith and reason; a magnificent effort to rationalize 13th century theology. Although there have been many changes within the institutions of Christianity, and Christians have struggled with alternative doctrines since the death of Jesus Christ, ancient tradition continues to dominate contemporary practice. Human science has acquired a greater sophistication, but human theology has not.
Therein rests the problem. Even though Jesus obviously believed in the equality of women, early church fathers created a male centric theology. Established beliefs about the nature of God are based on their need for a human like deity who would be superior to all competing pagan Gods. In order to make Jesus more important than human kings and emperors, they created the traditions of his divinity. In some ways, their theological concepts contradict the teachings of the man we call Jesus Christ.
The early church could only touch on the philosophical subjects of truth, reality, alternative dimensions, multiple universes, the relationship of science and theology, our quest to understand the nature of God, and how we make a conscious connection with the spiritual. Traditional beliefs about evolution, creation, hell, and heaven were influenced by established folklore and their limited knowledge of the physical sciences.
Christian tradition conflicts with contemporary knowledge. Although the message of Jesus Christ is both ageless and divine, there is an obvious confusion of expression.
Science has reached an intellectual dead-end. Atheistic science has limited itself to the mythology that only the physical is real. It is therefore unable to answer a simple question: where did the information that underlies all the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, and so on - originate? Have we substituted a seemingly infinite and excruciatingly complicated set of circumstances and explanations for what should be an obvious and simple solution? The atheist cannot explain the lawful nature of our universe. Who created the multi-variable differential equations? And who solved them before or during the process of creation? Why do inanimate particles obey these rules? How do we explain the origination of chromosomal material? Did our universe which had no intelligence, no will, no mind, and no consciousness devise the laws of nature and then create itself out of nothing? Isn’t the existence of a creative consciousness more logical?
For example: In order to create a human baby, billions of instructions have to be issued, correctly executed, in a perfect sequence, and precisely at the right time. Do we really believe all this happens by accident? And by the way. It is well known each increment of random complexity creates a geometric increase in the possibility of failure. The more complex organisms become, the greater the chance they will malfunction. Complex living organisms (like humans) have no statistical right to exist.
Scientists are more comfortable when they are dealing with the physical. Consequently, science has focused on discovering the characteristics and laws of our physical universe. Or perhaps one could more accurately say: the characteristics and laws of our perceived physical universe. This of course presents us with a conundrum: What if everything in our perceived universe is NOT physical? What if the reality we can perceive is influenced by realities we cannot detect? Should we reject their existence because they do not appear to be in our physical reality?
The scientific method relies on physical proof in order to confirm theory. Proof depends on human observation, mathematical calculation, or measurements using increasingly sophisticated instruments. Empirical science excludes non-physical (or spiritual) information because it is not thought to be rational. But as we make new discoveries, we are finding science cannot continue its exploration of reality unless it is willing to deal with unconventional non-physical theory. Wisdom, intelligence, awareness, and consciousness, for example, are obviously not materialistic. It is irrational to believe the natural universe created itself. It is becoming irrational to believe reality only exists in the physical universe which we can easily experience.
Where does the creative energy of music, art, literature, philosophy, and theology originate? Why does conscious connection between animate minds occur? What is the role of quantum superposition and entanglement in the reality of consciousness? Does Quantum theory suggest the existence of one or more other universes? If other universes exist, would they be governed by the same rules of energy and matter we experience in our perceived universe? Is it possible for science to identify the ultimate basis of our perceived physical reality if does not exist in a form we can detect? Is it possible not-physical reality exists?
And so on. Science would like to identify an ultimate mathematical description for everything that is (considered) reality. But since we insist on segregating physics from metaphysics that objective is impossible to achieve. It is unlikely the total reality of our Cosmos can be only detected by the physical tools of science. Failure to discover a spiritual universe is a failure of intellect and observation, not of fact.
We humans yearn for the spiritual. Meditation and prayer allow us to experience the divine. We seek a transcendent interpretation of our physical and not-physical ecosystem. The solution is to validate the key subjects and beliefs of Christianity in 21st century terms. God gave us the intelligence to create a credible system of beliefs. Christian Theology must combine the revelation of God's wisdom with the natural law of 21st century human knowledge.
Christianity must experience a theological renaissance and institutional reformation that embraces a credible and consistent doctrine. We must reject that which is obviously superstition, illogically dogmatic, inanely ritualistic or willfully intolerant. That does not mean Christianity must accept every conclusion or theory human imagination has created. It does suggest ancient beliefs about our physical universe and the nature of our spiritual existence need to be updated. We need to be open to contemporary expressions of the spiritual and we need to rethink our relationship with the divine.
Christians must proclaim the ethics of Christian Theology with its emphasis on moral behavior, individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the enduring wisdom of God. A 21st century Christian Theology provides us with a framework for positive, constructive, compassionate, and ethical behavior. Even thinking atheists will admit the obvious: if all humans became spiritually aware of an enlightened Christian Theology, our planet would be a much better place to live.
We must rethink our basic assumptions about human knowledge. If science wants to understand the reality of our astral existence, it must be willing to combine an enlightened sense of the physical with a contemporary comprehension of the not-physical. For example: If we are unable to “sense” other universes in our Cosmos, does that merely demonstrate we do not have the ability to sense other universes? And does the failure of observation really prove they do not exist? As we make new discoveries, we are finding science cannot continue its exploration of reality unless it is willing to deal with unconventional non-physical theory.
Thomas Aquinas was right. Reason and faith are compatible. Both are centered on the physical and not-physical laws that govern the Cosmos. In order to understand our astral reality, creative science must come together with enlightened theology. Unite human knowledge with divine revelation. Inspired scientists and 21st century Christian Theologians will continue to extend the boundaries of human knowledge by combining physical science with transcendent vision - and a profound respect for the divine.
Post Script: It is with these thoughts in mind I set out to write the three books described below. All three books contemplate a renaissance of belief and a reformation of practice. They present a positive and credible frame of reference for productive change. Let us work together to bring about a renaissance of belief and a reformation of practice. Be thoughtful. Be challenged. Be constructive. Be positive. And make a difference. If we love one another; and if we work together; we can achieve great things.
A passionate, constructive, disruptive, credible, challenging and informative discussion of a 21st century Christian Theology and scientific theory.