The Study of God: on method

Recently a friend of mine who has very little religious education gained interest in theology, and surprised me with maybe the best question I have been asked in a while: what is the theological method?

If you have ever studied something seriously, academically, critically, you understand his question. Ιt is a question of epistemology: “how do I know?”. In traditional sciences, there is a scientific method: controlled, observable and reproducible experiments lead to conclusions and allow predictions. The experiment is then repeated and reviewed by other scientists who confirm or contest the conclusions, and as that happens the whole community arrives at very probable theories about a subject. History also has its method, since history cannot be repeated or reproduced, neither controlled, so it stands outside the realm of science. Math and logic, along with philosophy, all have their systems of proof testing. So when we speak of the Divine, what is our method to differ between truth and non-truth? How do we know? Continue reading The Study of God: on method

Of Rivers and Stardust

I have a really bad relationship with time, it is always ominously behind me. Ahead of me too.

I have the tendency of getting bored of whatever I am going through really fast, making me a rather transient person. I need to keep moving forward and on and on. The next season, the next chapter. However, I, almost contradictingly, find myself constantly believing that I have also arrived: I am here, where I was supposed to be. A sense of destiny, or providence, or what-have-you, makes the past easy to deal with, while constantly pushing me forward. But, if I’ve arrived, is this all there was? There has to be more. I am as much moved by discontentment as by curiosity, but chasing wind is extremely tiring. Continue reading Of Rivers and Stardust

Better a House of Mourning

One of my favorite things in Montreal is to walk up the Mt. Royal with a good friend, see the city skyline (the picture on the main page of the blog), then walk down on the other side, where the cemetery is. One day, passing by that place, I asked a friend of mine if she liked cemeteries. She said yes, because they’re beautiful, but she implied that she would still rather not have them — people shouldn’t have things holding them back from going on with life.

For her, monuments for the deceased held people back. She’s not the only one who thinks like that. Continue reading Better a House of Mourning

An Other Self: Self-Awareness, Nirvana, and the Übermensch.

Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. – Dante Alighieri, 1265 – 1321

Human beings seem to be the most evolved creatures on earth. We have covered the globe with our civilizations, we have built monuments, we have developed science and art and religions, and our scientists are currently tinkering with the very fabric of reality as they experiment with quantum physics. Yet, both religious and unreligious, we seem to all understand that we are not quite there yet. We feel a need to transcend our humanity: the Buddhist seeks for Nirvana, the Existentialist wants to weave his own meaning, the Darwinian waits for the next evolutionary step, the Western Christian walks in sanctification, the Eastern Christian in theosis. Nietzsche said that “What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal”.

It seems to be the most evident truth about humans throughout all philosophies: we are not done yet. We are not, we become. Continue reading An Other Self: Self-Awareness, Nirvana, and the Übermensch.