Monday, July 31, 2006

Existential Theology

Another distinctive trait is Existential Theology. Would it surprise you if I said this theology and Sigmund Freud have something in common? With that in mind, it is really sad to me that some people suggest that the Bible cannot stand alone on issues. There has to be a psychology or counseling book placed along side it. As I typed about this wacko theology; I thought how the Bible might as well be thrown out the window according to it. It obviously is not based on the Word of God. It falls way short of the truth! Our study comes from the booklet Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House.

Existential Theology

Theology-Existential theologians claim that we have to “demythologize” Scripture. “To demythologize Scripture is to reject not Scripture of the Christian message, but the world-view of a past epoch.” That means to explain everything supernatural as myth. The important part of Christian faith consequently becomes a subjective experience, rather than an objective truth (see Salvation). The Bible, when demythologized, does not talk about God, but about man.

God-Objective knowledge of God’s existence is not possible. The concept of God was a help for the early Christians to understand themselves, but in our time, with a different world-view, we can see behind the myth. Thus, God is our statement about human life. “It is therefore clear that if a man will speak about God, he must evidently speak of himself” (Bultmann). If God exists, he works in the world as if he does not exist. And we cannot know about him in any objective way.

Trinity-The Trinity is a myth relating to the supernatural content of the Bible (see God).

-Jesus is just a common man. As the New Testament is called a myth, we do not have much, if any, knowledge of the “historical Jesus.” That leaves us a picture of Jesus without any “divine” intervention. The Cross has no significance regarding the vicarious bearing of sins, and the Resurrection is utterly inconceivable as an historical event. This is also true of the Virgin Birth and other miracles.

Holy Spirit-All we know about the Holy Spirit belongs to the untrustworthy supernatural parts of the Bible, which are really only mythical.

Revelation-The Bible is not a source of objective information about God. To understand themselves better people in the first centuries created a myth around Jesus. He did not perform miracles, nor rise from the dead. If we can “strip the myths” from the Gospel, we discover the original purpose behind the myth and can find guidance for our lives today. This is called “demythologization.” The Bible becomes a book that has as its aim to transform persons through encounter.

-“Salvation” is to find ones “true self.” This is done by a choice to put our faith in God, and this choice will change our view of ourselves. Salvation, then, is a change of our whole outlook and conduct in life, built on an experience of “God”; it is not a change of man’s nature. As we do not know anything about God objectively, it is a matter of “faith in faith.”

Myth-Bultmann understood myth as a way to speak of the Transcendent in terms of the world: “Mythology is that form of imagery in which that which is not of this world, that which is divine, is represented as though it were of this world and human; ‘the beyond’ is represented as ‘the here and now.’”

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