Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God


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Bible Living

I think having that common language makes Rahner a good dialogue partner. As you move toward the horizon, you never get to it. That longing, Rahner would say, is God: infinite mystery, drawing us near.

To believe in God means pleasing Him alone

Because if we could comprehend it, we could transcend it. My theology professor would always use the image of the horizon versus an island. An island is concrete. You can circle it. You can circumnavigate it.

You can get out on it, walk around. You can measure it. God is not the island. God is the horizon beyond the island.


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God is what allows you to experience the island. You have to start from the same set of presuppositions. Take Richard Dawkins for example. He and I could percent agree on the fact that neither of us believe in that old-man-in-the-sky God. But Richard Dawkins would never have had that conversation with me.

There is no common language.

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Monotheism

We have the Vatican Observatory. How many churches can say they operate one of the premier scientific observatories in the entire world? In my book, I quote a letter that St. The pope asked Coyne: What can we as faithful Christians learn from science? What can we learn from evolution? The pope encourages that exploration. We have the support of the institution in terms of opening up that dialogue. The greater challenge in our parishes is to move people in their theology and their understanding of scripture. When I was at Washington Theological Union, I went to the Kennedy Center to hear a concert with a fellow student, and we ran into a couple who were tourists from Texas.

The man found out that we were seminarians. He was Baptist. Do you know how I lost my faith? I started reading the Bible. He was floored. Most scientists can agree that love exists, that humans have intangible things that we call freedom, that we call agency, things that cannot be explained away by science. Maybe we can understand more aspects of them through science.

Most scientists, even those who are pretty strong atheists, would agree with that. Where Christians get tripped up is when they say scientists need to engage Christians in dialogue because we can teach them about morals.

What Does The Term Mystery Mean When Used In The Bible?

We can teach about ethics. There are plenty of atheists that can teach Christians a lot about morals and ethics. We have to stop presuming that we have some sort of monopoly on the truth. Christians need to enter into the conversation with a whole lot more humility than we have in the past. And scientists could enter the conversation with a little more humility, too, and say that maybe Christianity does have something to add—community.

Of course, people touched by the Jesus-story--then as now--respond in different ways and at different levels. However, it remains true that the story of Jesus continues to capture the imagination of people, to inspire new vision and hope. These people feel that Jesus somehow enables them to be more authentically human and to live their lives with greater openness to the divine mystery.

How is it, then, that this first century Jew from Palestine came to exert such influence on human beings and world history?

2. The Meaning of Religious Beliefs

Evidently, there is no simple answer to this question. In fact, the best answers are not expressed in words, but in the lives and deeds, the witness and testimony, of Jesus' followers. In other words, it is only by risking our own lives and entering into the mystery of the Jesus-story that we can begin to understand something of the profound meaning of his life, death and resurrection for us and our world. Different approaches to the mystery of Christ.

How then do we enter into the mystery of this Jesus-story? To begin, we need to situate ourselves within the living tradition of the followers of Jesus. For most, this means becoming part of an ecclesial community or Christian Church which celebrates the memory of Jesus in Word and Sacrament. In this way, the Jesus-story is brought to life again as people experience his reality at the centre of their lives and world. From earliest times, this was expressed by saying that 'Jesus is the Christ' Peter or, even more profoundly, Jesus is 'Lord and God' Thomas.

The continuation of the Jesus-story throughout human history has been expressed in many ways: some have retreated to the desert, or at least to a monastery, to contemplate the mystery of Christ in solitude and prayer; others have chosen to live their Christianity in the market-place, inspired by Jesus' who heals the sick, defends the poor and upholds the rights of people against all forms of injustice.

In these multiple testimonies to the power of Jesus Christ at work in the world, we can discern different ways of telling, embracing and interpreting the Jesus story. From very early times in Christian history, it became evident that there are essentially two distinct approaches to the mystery and reality of Jesus Christ.


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  4. One is called a christology 'from below' because the emphasis is on the events in the historical life of Jesus: the one who came among us as a great prophet to announce the kingdom of God and who, despite his untimely death, has been raised on high by God. The other approach is called a christology 'from above' because it begins by affirming the divine origins of Jesus who is 'God made man'. These two approaches--sometimes called 'low ascending' and 'high descending' christologies --are meant to be complementary. However, throughout the centuries, it has been the 'high descending' christology that has held the most sway.

    More recently, the 'low ascending' christology has had a return to favour. Just as we can speak of trends in clothes or music, we might also speak of christological trends.


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    The important thing is to realise that the mystery of Jesus Christ surpasses all our attempts to speak and understand. Moreover, it is only by entering the story in word and deed, that is by becoming followers of Jesus, that we can hope to understand who he is and what he means for us today. The Gospels as privileged sources. These are some of the dyings and risings that we experience every day. Now when we look at the Paschal Mystery in the context of our religious beliefs and the life of Jesus Christ, we come to a deeper meaning of dying and rising.

    We learn from Jesus that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness.

    Sacred mysteries

    We learn that all life has this rhythm of dying and rising and that God is with us in good times and in bad. Death no longer has the last word. Becoming conscious of our own dyings and risings helps us have a greater sense of compassion for others and a greater willingness to reach out. Think about your own life. What is a dying or rising that you have experienced today, this week, this year? The Paschal Mystery in Everyday Life. Printer Friendly.

    Episode 28 - Mystery of Faith

    Discover how the Beatitudes can help shape your own life. If you were to design a Nativity scene, what would it look like? See different interpretations of the Nativity scene.

    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God
    Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God

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