Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aquinas on 1 Cor 1:17-2:16

"In order that the whole of faith not be attributed to human power and wisdom but to God, God willed that the primitive teaching of the apostles should be in weakness and simplicity, to which afterwards, however, worldly power and wisdom being added, he shows through the victory of faith that the world is subject to God both in power and in wisdom [(Ut tamen totum quod est fidei non humanae potentiae aut sapientiae tribueretur, sed Deo, voluit Deus ut primitiva apostolorum praedicatio esset in infirmitate et simplicitate, cui tamen postea potentia et saecularis sapientia superveniens ostendit per victoriam fidei mundum esse Deo subiectum et quantum ad potentiam et quantum ad sapientiam)]."

Thomas Aquinas, Expositio super librum Boethii De Trinitate, pars 1 q. 2 a. 3 ad 1, as translated by Ralph McInerny (Thomas Aquinas: selected writings, ed. and trans. with an introduction and notes by Ralph McInerny (London: Penguin Books, 1998), 137), italics mine. The Latin is taken from the Leiden (i.e. Brill) edition of 1959, ed. Bruno Decker, as reproduced in Corpus Thomisticum here:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Newbigin on the one world faith

"We face here, surely, an ultimate decision, which is, in the last resort, a decision of faith:  whether we regard the multiplicity and change which characterize human life as a mere veil which has to be torn away in order that we may have access to ultimate reality, or whether we regard them as the place where we are to meet with and know and serve the divine purpose; whether salvation is by absorption into the Supreme Being, conceived as undifferentiated and unchanging spirit abstracted from all contact with phenomena, or whether it is by reconciliation to the Supreme Being, conceived as personal will active in and through phenomena.  Here is the dividing line between all religions; and the main tradition of Hinduism stands fair and square on one side of it.  The claim that Vedanta is the truth transcending all religions is necessarily a flat denial of the central truth of biblical religion. . . .
"[Hinduism's] claim to be the truth transcending all religions is necessarily at the same time a negation of the truth of those religions as their adherents understand them.  So far from providing the basis for a permanent truce between the religions, it is--when properly understood--a declaration of war upon all religion which claims to be based upon a historic revelation."

J. E. Lesslie Newbigin, A faith for this one world? (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961), 39, 41. I've read only this one lecture ("Where shall we look for a world faith?"), which begins as follows:  "in a unified world, such as ours has become, only a world faith has any future. . . . No faith can command a man's final and absolute allegiance, that is to say no faith can be a man's real religion, if he knows that it is only true for certain places and certain people.  In a world which knows that there is only one physics and one mathematics, religion cannot do less than claim for its affirmations a like universal validity" (30).

Newbigin on the data

"How far, for instance, can the principle of democracy be carried in the sphere of religion?  A friend of mine was a member of a Sarvodaya community of the kind which I have described, in which, as elsewhere, the Lord's prayer was used for common worship.  One member of the group expressed his difficulties with the phrase 'forgive us our trespasses' which did not, he felt, correspond with any reality in his own experience.  The problem was brought up for discussion in the whole group, as the result of which my friend as the only Christian was very courteously requested to bring back a revised draft of the prayer.  He had difficulty in explaining his inability to do so.  The idea of something absolutely given, a datum in religion, threatened to disrupt a fellowship based on the principle of agreement by discussion and sharing."

J. E. Lesslie Newbigin, A faith for this one world? (New York:  Harper & Brothers, 1961), 33-34.  I've read only this one lecture ("Where shall we look for a world faith?").