Tutor: Howard Taylor
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Christianity and Contemporary Thought. Tutor. Howard Taylor. TutorHoward Taylor. : Chaplain - Heriot-Watt Edinburgh. University, Also at Heriot-Watt lectures in: ` Moral & Social Philosophy’ . `Philosophy of Science and Religion’ Visiting lecturer ` International Christian College’. (Two modules - alternate years). Convenor: Church of Scotland Apologetics Committee. Previously: Church of Scotland Parish Minister: St. David’s Knightswood Glasgow - 12 years. Innellan, Toward, and Inverchaolain Churches - 5 years. Worked in Malawi, Africa - 16 years. Missionary: Minister, Theology lecturer, African Language teacher. Maths and Physics lecturer: University of Malawi. Degrees from: Nottingham, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Author of several small books/booklets. Married with three grown up sons and two grandsons and one granddaughter.. Main Subjects for B313 . Background to Christian thinking in the West including analysis of some Biblical passages. Ideologies and views of the human person that have shaped or are shaping our modern Western world, including: Supposed political solutions to the human condition Marxism. Differing views on Religion’s relation to Politics. Alternative spiritual solutions to humanity’s problems: Eastern religions, Green spirituality and especially New Age thought; The collapse of ideology Existentialism, Nihilism and Post Modernism. The ‘problem of evil’ for various worldviews. The mystery of existence. Why do matter and energy exist? - where did they come from? Scientific theories about the origin of the universe have to assume the initial existence of some kind of energy/law of nature. (Eg: Wave function of the Universe - Stephen Hawking’s phrase) leading to matter/space-time/laws of physics in the big bang. But scientific theories cannot explain how the initial energy/laws of nature came to exist or why they exist or did exist. If God exists why does He exist? Was He created? Whether or not God exists we are face to face with the mystery: Why does anything exist at all? Stephen Hawking:` Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?’ JJC Smart (atheist philosopher): Why should anything exist at all? - it is for me a matter of the deepest awe. World Views: : 1. Atheistic Materialism There is nothing spiritual - no god, spirit or human soul. matter/energy/physical laws (in one form or another) are the basis of all that exist - the whole story. Impersonal They are eternal They have developed into the universe including all its life and human life and personal human minds. In principle the human person, including his/her appreciation of beauty, right and wrong, could, in the future, be understood entirely by physics. A complete understanding of the human person could, in future, come from a study of impersonal physical laws/matter/energy which make up his physical body/brain and environment. See quotation from Francis Crick on next slide. World Views: . Atheistic Materialism continued Francis Crick: ( “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more that the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” The page 3) Astonishing Hypothesis World Views: . 2. Deism: God is entirely transcendent - out there, not in here God created the universe with its physical laws and now leaves it to run its course. There is no continuing relation between God and the physical universe. God is not relevant to our physical lives. . 3. Pantheism `God’ is immanent - in here, not out there There is no Creator God distinct from the universe. `God’ is the spiritual dimension of the physical universe. God is impersonal. We tune into God rather than pray to Him in a personal way. We may pray to spirits but not to God. All things are sacred in their own right. The physical/spiritual universe is eternal. World Views: 4. Theism - God is both transcendent and immanent He is distinct from the physical world but He is with and `in’ all things. He alone is eternal. He created matter/energy/laws of physics. He holds all things in being. He is personal Mind. Some believe that we may know Him personally. World Views: As well as the theism already outlined: 5. Christian Theism. God is love. He does not remain distant from our sin and suffering. He stoops to the human level, and bears sin, pain and death for us. (The Cross) He lifts us up back to where we belong, forgiving us all our sin. (The resurrection) Although this is seen in Jesus, it is a process that occurs throughout history - that is what the Bible is about. Judgement, new Creation and eternal life are realities. There our true destiny is fulfilled.
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