Jump to content

Which Theologian Are You?


AletheiaRivers
 Share

Recommended Posts

This one was really hard. I didn't know how to answer the questions really. Some of them I couldn't say I agreed or disagreed with, mostly because I considered them moot questions. But when all was said and done, here is how I scored on the "Which Theologian Are You?" test. I don't know if I agree with the results (and the second one down particularly scares me).

 

Click here to take the quiz.

 

 

You scored as Karl Barth.

 

The daddy of 20th Century theology. You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.

 

Karl Barth

53%

 

John Calvin

53%

 

Paul Tillich

47%

 

Friedrich Schleiermacher

47%

 

Anselm

47%

 

Martin Luther

40%

 

Augustine

33%

 

Charles Finney

27%

 

J�rgen Moltmann

27%

 

Jonathan Edwards

20%

Edited by AletheiaRivers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not too surprising, I guess. :)

 

The only questions I answered "most strongly agree" were the blatantly Tillich ones. Unfortunately, the "God does not exist" thing tends to trip people up. I've immersed myself in enough Tillich to know what he meant by this -- which is that the reality to which the word "God" refers is so foundational, that it even transcends the concepts of existence and non-existence, which are terms that can only properly be predicated of individual beings, not of Being itself. Sounds like Platonism all over again. Which is why I agree with just about everything Tillich ever said.

 

:D

 

Btw, Aletheia, I suspect the high Calvin score comes from the sovereignty question. I ranked it highly because I do believe that the supreme transcendence of God is crucial to theology, but that doesn't mean that I adopt the same thing Calvin meant by sovereignty. I imagine these types of misidentifications occur a lot with this kind of test.

 

============

 

You scored as Paul Tillich.

 

 

 

Paul Tillich sought to express Christian truth in an existentialist way. Our primary problem is alienation from the ground of our being, so that our life is meaningless. Great for psychotherapy, but no longer very influential.

 

Paul Tillich

93%

John Calvin

60%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

40%

Jurgen Moltmann

33%

Karl Barth

27%

Martin Luther

20%

Charles Finney

20%

Jonathan Edwards

13%

Augustine

13%

Anselm

7%

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, the "God does not exist" thing tends to trip people up.

Yeah, I answered that one as "strongly disagree" even though I knew ultimately that is was a Tillich question. I should have just gotten over the way the question was worded and answered it as a "strongly agree" even though, as the question is worded, I do not agree (and neither did Tillich).

 

I haven't read much Tillich or Plato, but sometimes the way you compare Plato to others confuses me. I, too, believe that God's transcendence is infinite, but I don't think I mean it the way Plato meant it.

 

Didn't transcendence, for Plato, mean that God was the shaper of the universe, out of pre-existing matter? And that the matter was shaped as closely as possible to the Ideals, but because of what there was to work with, it missed the mark a bit? God remains completely removed from the universe, untouched by its imperfection.

 

How does this match up with Tillich's "Ground of Being?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okey dokey, I took it again, changing that one question for sure. I didn't think I really changed much on the other questions, but (as these tests often do) I swung wildly in my results. Here they are:

 

You scored as Paul Tillich.

 

Paul Tillich sought to express Christian truth in an existentialist way. Our primary problem is alienation from the ground of our being, so that our life is meaningless. Great for psychotherapy, but no longer very influential.

 

Paul Tillich

87%

 

Friedrich Schleiermacher

60%

 

John Calvin

47%

 

Anselm

40%

 

Karl Barth

40%

 

J�rgen Moltmann

33%

 

Augustine

20%

 

Jonathan Edwards

13%

 

Charles Finney

13%

 

Martin Luther

7%

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read much Tillich or Plato, but sometimes the way you compare Plato to others confuses me. I, too, believe that God's transcendence is infinite, but I don't think I mean it the way Plato meant it.

 

... How does this match up with Tillich's "Ground of Being?"

By Platonism, I don't mean "what Plato himself taught." Plato's importance really consists in his introduction of the idea of universal forms and structures of thought, and of the transcendent and ultimate reality of the Good. In his wake though, many different interpretations of and approaches to his philosophy came into being -- some dualist, some monist, some nondualist, etc. The most enduring and convincing approach was Neoplatonism, which I've said elsewhere was the explicit philosophical framework of Origen and Augustine. I generally embrace this label for myself as well, albeit with some Christian and modern caveats.

 

I would argue that the Neoplatonic conception of the One is exactly what Tillich's "Ground of Being" is -- not an individual being, but a pure universal, Pure Essence. God is Being itself -- what all beings have when we say they exist.

 

Does that answer your question, or does it just bring up 20 more? B)

 

Here are some good Wikipedia articles for your enjoyment:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Absolute

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not taking this test.

 

I don't even know who half of these people are, not to mention what they believed. Besides, if we are indeed in an emergent church situation, I'm not sure I want to know what theologians of the past advocated in much detail.

 

I'd rather remain being what I am for now, a pleasure-seeking, materialistic, conformist Luddite.

 

America is such a great country !!

 

flow.... :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not taking this test.

 

I don't even know who half of these people are, not to mention what they believed.

That makes you the perfect person to take the test, because you won't be second-guessing all the questions. :)

 

Besides, if we are indeed in an emergent church situation, I'm not sure I want to know what theologians of the past advocated in much detail.

You don't really want me to jump down your throat about this comment do you? B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides, if we are indeed in an emergent church situation, I'm not sure I want to know what theologians of the past advocated in much detail.

You don't really want me to jump down your throat about this comment do you? B)

I doubt anyone wants you to let the Hulk out Fred. ;)

 

My $.02, for what it's worth: the term "Emergent" means that the church is emerging FROM something.

 

A good analogy, which McLaren uses in Generous Orthodoxy, is growth rings in a tree. The center would be God or Jesus or the church. Each successive growth ring incorporates and emerges from the first. The next ring incorporates and emerges from the first two ... and so on. Each successive ring HAS to incorporate the previous rings necessarily. It can't just toss them aside and start from scratch.

 

The difference with this approach is that past theological insights are not thrown out because of "reformation." They are incorporated. Absorbed. Redeemed.

 

McLaren focuses on taking what is best (perennial might be a good word) from all the different "rings" of Christian Church history and painting a picture of what this postmodern "emergent" church might look like. He discusses the Mysticism of Eastern Orthodoxy, the Sacrements of the Catholic church, the "praxis" of Anabaptists, the passion of Pentacostals, etc ...

 

I guess it's not completely necessary to know what past theologians thought and taught, but doing so sure helps me to appreciate the "emergent church." :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I give.

 

Please don't jump down my throat just yet, at least not before I have my ritual cinnamon toast and coffee.

 

 

You scored as Friedrich Schleiermacher.

 

 

 

You seek to make inner feeling and awareness of God the centre of your theology, which is the foundation of liberalism. Unfortunately, atheists are quick to accuse you of simply projecting humanity onto 'God' and liberalism never really recovers.

 

Friedrich Schleiermacher

73%

 

Charles Finney

67%

 

Jrgen Moltmann

53%

 

John Calvin

47%

 

Augustine

40%

 

Anselm

33%

 

Karl Barth

33%

 

Paul Tillich

33%

 

Jonathan Edwards

27%

 

Martin Luther

27%

 

See? The top three guys on my list I've never heard of ! Although I must say that Friedrich was a good looking devil. Does that count for my identification with what he believed?

 

Now Finney, that's a different matter. My two favorite time-travel novels were written by Walter Braden Finney, aka Jack Finney. Think they were related? Try the books. Great stories ! You'll like them. Simon Morely, along with Travis McGhee, is one of my life role models.

 

The rest of the bunch I've heard of, but not read in depth. But then you can see the fish better when you wade in shallow water.

 

By the way, Freidrich's name is literally meant to indentify something that is veiled, mysterious, and fast. Of course you know how literal our German friends are/were, especially in their naming conventions, so I guess Schleiermacher, besides being a good looking dude, identifies, at least in name, with some of my basic perceptions regarding reality.

 

Thanks Fred for your gentle persuasions.

 

flow.... :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would argue that the Neoplatonic conception of the One is exactly what Tillich's "Ground of Being" is -- not an individual being, but a pure universal, Pure Essence.  God is Being itself -- what all beings have when we say they exist.

 

Does that answer your question, or does it just bring up 20 more? B)

It might have answered my question. I'll let you know for sure after I've read the wiki article about neoplatonism. ;)

 

I've always been under the impression that Plato thought that God (or whatever word Plato might have used) was an individual Being (not anthropomorphic), but seperate, "set against" this world. That's why I've been confused when you've said "I'm a Platonist." But as you said, Platonism isn't synonymous with "what Plato taught." I thought it was, hence my confusion. :)

 

I definitely think of God as the Ground of Being, but I would never have described (based on my understanding) myself as a Platonist. Perhaps a Hegelian, with a smattering of Whitehead, a smidgeon of Wittgenstein and a tbsp of Tillich (which is pretty much Keith Ward).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You scored as Friedrich Schleiermacher.

I think you make a pretty good Schleiermacher, as you always emphasize the emotive and experiential as central to your spirituality and notion of God. I can't comment on your winsome looks, and how they may or may not have affected this identification.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always been under the impression that Plato thought that God (or whatever word Plato might have used) was an individual Being (not anthropomorphic), but seperate, "set against" this world.

Plato did teach that universals are real objects (things, beings, whatever), just like the particulars which are imperfectly patterned after them. I'm unclear, or probably just don't remember, if he conceived of The Good (the Form of all forms) in this way or not. There is much controversy over how to interpret Plato's metaphysics anyway -- dualist, monist (what kind of monist?), rational, mystical, etc. -- hence the variety of systems that arose in his name.

 

I definitely think of God as the Ground of Being, but I would never have described (based on my understanding) myself as a Platonist. Perhaps a Hegelian, with a smattering of Whitehead, a smidgeon of Wittgenstein and a tbsp of Tillich (which is pretty much Keith Ward).

Hegel was pretty much a bottom-up Platonist, and Whitehead was famous for saying that the entire history of philosophy consisted in a set of footnotes to Plato. Obviously I've already claimed a connection between Tillich and Plato, but there's probably room for argument there. I think people criticize Tillich too much for being an existentialist, for being theologically dated, etc. I was very surprised when I read Systematic Theology I, how very metaphysical and Platonist his ideas were. Here he was talking about things like Being and Essence in the mid-20th century, in ways far more reminiscent of Augustine and Aquinas than of, say, Kierkegaard and Sartre, long after philosophy had officially pronounced metaphysics a dead end.

 

I'd say you have a lot of Platonism lurking in those influences. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See, I knew this test would have some redeeming value.

 

I post a test. You (Fred) take it. I pose a question about Platonism. You post some links. I follow those links and discover:

 

"Neoplatonism is a form of idealistic monism. Plotinus taught the existence of an ineffable and transcendent One, from which emanated the rest of the universe as a sequence of lesser beings."

And

"Nevertheless, many Christians were influenced by Neoplatonism. They identified the One as God. The most important and influential of them was the fifth century author known as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. His works were significant for both Eastern Orthodox and Western branches of Christiantiy."

(I just read of Dionysius the Areopagite in Keith Ward's book and he piqued my interest. Now I'm piqued more.) :)

 

Also

"In the essay "Inner and Outer Realities: Jean Gebser in a Cultural/Historical Perspective", Integral philosopher Allan Combs claims that ten modern thinkers can be called Neo-Platonists: Goethe, Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, Coleridge, Emerson, Rudolf Steiner, Carl Jung, Jean Gebser and the modern theorist Brian Goodwin. He sees these thinkers as participating in a tradition that can be distinguished from the empiricist, rationalist, dualist and materialist Western philosophical traditions."

 

(So Hegel could be called a Neo-Platonist. That clears up some confusions. I'd say yes, I definitely fall into the Neoplatonist category of thought.)

 

And

"Plotinus, a Neo-Platonic philosopher, saw all forms of existence as emanating from "The All". The concept of the Absolute was re-introduced into philosophy by Hegel, Schelling, and their followers; it is associated with various forms of philosophical idealism."

And

"The concept was adopted into neo-Hegelian British idealism (though without Hegel's complex logical and dialectical apparatus), where it received an almost mystical exposition at the hands of F.H. Bradley. Bradley (followed by others including Timothy L.S. Sprigge) conceived the Absolute as a single all-encompassing experience, rather along the lines of Shankara and Advaita Vedanta."

(The article on "The Absolute" mentions Sprigge, whose Wiki stubb mentions "Absolute Idealism," which mentions "Neutral Monism," which mentions "Spinoza and Dialectical Monism." Whew! I'm back to where I started.)

 

Oh, and I wanted to mention that, after reading Keith Ward's book, I had a bit of an epiphany that monism does not equal pantheism. It's something I've misunderstood for a long time, and something I think you were trying to tell me once. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You scored as Friedrich Schleiermacher.

I think you make a pretty good Schleiermacher, as you always emphasize the emotive and experiential as central to your spirituality and notion of God. I can't comment on your winsome looks, and how they may or may not have affected this identification.

 

My comment regarding "winsome looks " could be categorized as self-deprecating, although it could be that some thought otherwise back in the day. But It appears that Friedrich was a handsome lad as I said.

 

flow....:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here he was talking about things like Being and Essence in the mid-20th century, in ways far more reminiscent of Augustine and Aquinas than of, say, Kierkegaard and Sartre, long after philosophy had officially pronounced metaphysics a dead end.

 

I'm sure it's Tillich's focusing on "anxiety over non-being" and that non-being (finitude) is necessarily part of being (infinitude) that gets him the existentialist label. Kierkegaard dealt with the same stuff, and since they both believed in God and were Christians, I don't think they deserve the existentialist label. I think Kierkegaard would reject it if he had been alive when it was coined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I post a test. You (Fred) take it. I pose a question about Platonism. You post some links. I follow those links and discover:

It's all very dialectical, isn't it? :P

 

(I just read of Dionysius the Areopagite in Keith Ward's book and he piqued my interest. Now I'm piqued more.) :)

Alas, Pseudo-Dionysius is one feast I've not yet had time to partake of. But it's really high on my list. You can actually get the complete works of Pseudo-Dionysius in the Classics of Western Spirituality series.

 

(So Hegel could be called a Neo-Platonist. That clears up some confusions. I'd say yes, I definitely fall into the Neoplatonist category of thought.)

I find that I don't convince people to become Platonists, so much as convince them that they already were, and just didn't know it. B)

 

Oh, and I wanted to mention that, after reading Keith Ward's book, I had a bit of an epiphany that monism does not equal pantheism. It's something I've misunderstood for a long time, and something I think you were trying to tell me once.  :)

I know the last time we tackled monism, I had distinguished between oneness in the numerical sense and oneness in the unitive sense. I think in that post I equated monism with numerical oneness, when it's more likely correct to say that one could be a monist in either sense.

 

The monism article at Wikipedia is pretty good too, as it distinguishes between a handful of different types.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know the last time we tackled monism, I had distinguished between oneness in the numerical sense and oneness in the unitive sense.  I think in that post I equated monism with numerical oneness, when it's more likely correct to say that one could be a monist in either sense.

 

The monism article at Wikipedia is pretty good too, as it distinguishes between a handful of different types.

 

I'm a monist in the panentheist sense, which probably doesn't make sense, since the sense in which I mean it is both in a numerical AND unitive sense. :D I think kenosis plays an important role in my monism (but then again, maybe not). Hehehehe. I totally appreciate Tillich's and Wittgenstein's point, that language points to symbols, which point to realities.

 

Ok, I'll stop.

 

Seriously, it all comes down to one thing for me: a hope in a unitive but participatory, "afterlife." When I say I'm a panentheistic monist as opposed to a pantheist monist, I mean (and please cut me some slack with any temporal language I use ;) ), that I feel that God experiences the totality of the cosmos (as an "outside" observer), as well as experiencing the finitude of the cosmos thru the lives of finite beings. These finite beings "eminate" from God (hence the numerical monism), but perhaps, just perhaps, upon returning to the Source, Life will be given a place in God. I don't know if Hegel's "sublate" is the correct term for this, because it isn't clear as to whether he believed in an afterlife.

 

Kierkegaard's "Let God be God in you" really smacked me upside the head the other night. It was almost a voice out of the dark type experience when I was praying. I reeled a bit and said "Ok, ok, I get it. I'll try." :huh:

 

 

PS: Have you seen THIS? I would LOVE to hear Paul Tillich teach Hegel, or Kierkegaard, or Schleiermacher.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(The article on "The Absolute" mentions Sprigge, whose Wiki stubb mentions "Absolute Idealism," which mentions "Neutral Monism," which mentions "Spinoza and Dialectical Monism." Whew! I'm back to where I started.)

 

And back to where I started does NOT include Spinoza in any way, shape or form apparently. Ewww, did he really hold these ideas:

 

Some of Spinoza's philosophical positions are:

 

God is the natural world and has no personality.

The natural world made itself.

There is no real difference between good and evil.

Everything must necessarily happen the way that it does. Therefore, there is no free will.

Everything done by humans and other animals is excellent and divine.

All rights are derived from the State.

Animals can be used in any way by people for the benefit of the human race.

 

:angry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously, it all comes down to one thing for me: a hope in a unitive but participatory, "afterlife." .... perhaps, just perhaps, upon returning to the Source, Life will be given a place in God. I don't know if Hegel's "sublate" is the correct term for this, because it isn't clear as to whether he believed in an afterlife.

In the philosophical spirit of coining new terms when no suitable ones exist, I think I will coin the term "metalife." :)

 

I think we do play out some of the drama of procession and return in the world of manifestation -- death, obviously, being the final material return. I believe life already has a place in God, and that the totality of manifestation exists, and is perceived and enjoyed, eternally in God -- but that life, by its very nature, is itself finite and temporal. I'm not picking apart your temporal language, by the way, just stating what I think at the present moment.

 

All the same, I stand before the gulf of infinity thoroughly expecting to be terrified, surprised, and overjoyed beyond my wildest dreams at whatever awaits me "there."

 

Kierkegaard's "Let God be God in you" really smacked me upside the head the other night. It was almost a voice out of the dark type experience when I was praying. I reeled a bit and said "Ok, ok, I get it. I'll try."  :huh:

Yes, indeed. That sounds like a good prayer mantra if I've ever heard one.

 

PS: Have you seen THIS? I would LOVE to hear Paul Tillich teach Hegel, or Kierkegaard, or Schleiermacher.

No way!!! That would be amazing! If anybody needs Christmas present ideas for me....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe life already has a place in God, and that the totality of manifestation exists, and is perceived and enjoyed, eternally in God

 

Ah come on! You KNOW what I meant! :D That finite, sentient life in this cosmos, might have a place (consciously aware) in eternity, in bliss, with God. That we might maintain a participatory awareness.

 

All the same, I stand before the gulf of infinity thoroughly expecting to be terrified, surprised, and overjoyed beyond my wildest dreams at whatever awaits me "there."

 

Should I play devil's advocate and ask you what you mean by "me" and "there"? ;)

 

Here's a bad analogy: If I could somehow empty out part of myself and create finite entities (children) and send them out into the world ... I'd still be me, but I'd also be them. When they return, I could absorb them completely (not necessarily a bad thing) or I could unitively join with them, still giving them relative autonomy, but participating in knowledge and bliss.

 

I'm more Ramanuja than Shankara. At least for today. As far as I currently understand either Ramanuja or Shakara, which isn't very far.

 

I sure appreciate your taking the time to discuss these things with me. My husband just gives me a blank stare. :unsure:

Edited by AletheiaRivers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of Spinoza's philosophical positions are:

 

God is the natural world and has no personality.

The natural world made itself.

There is no real difference between good and evil.

Everything must necessarily happen the way that it does. Therefore, there is no free will.

Everything done by humans and other animals is excellent and divine.

All rights are derived from the State.

Animals can be used in any way by people for the benefit of the human race.

A pure pantheism, with no transcendent reality or standard, sort of forces you into these positions, though, no?

 

Merry Christmas, if I don't "see" you before then!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service