(Welcome to Conversations with Bob! A coupla geeks doing theology!)
Thanks Bob for your last post!
Thank you for articulating the difference in our approach, "top-down" versus "bottom-up." I am a bottoms up kind of guy (theologically speaking)!
Yes, I would agree that the overall approach of Friedrich Schleiermacher is one that resonates with me. Here is a nice introduction to Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher's philosophy.
And a handsome portrait.
Schleiermacher was famous for his phrase, the "Feeling of Absolute Dependence." Here is a description:
Schleiermacher specified religious feeling as the "feeling of absolute dependence." Correlated with the feeling of absolute dependence is a consciousness or intuition of God. Human blessedness, he taught, consists in the strengthening of the God-consciousness, and sin is the obscuring of this consciousness. Jesus Christ shared the humanity of all human beings but was unique in the strength and constancy of his God-consciousness, and his redeeming work consists in the impartation of his God-consciousness to the believer. He was not afraid to call his theology "mystical," centered as it was upon the personal communion of the believer with the wholly God-conscious Christ.
Thank you also for your good thoughts on creation. I too "believe" that God created the universe. What does that mean? I don't believe that in the same way that I believe in evolutionary theory or gravity. I use the word 'believe' (in the context of God creating) as faith or trust. I trust that God created (or more precisely) creates the universe. Creation is an ongoing process.
For me to say I trust that God creates the universe is to say that the universe is blessed or is meaningful. Einstein once quipped that the most important question we face is whether or not the universe is 'friendly.' My faith is one of trust in the benevolence of creation and in the God who creates.
Sometimes I doubt. I often wonder if the universe is friendly at all. My faith is shaken at times by science (that continually knocks down my idols that I have called God), by cruelty, greed, and war, and by my own estrangement from the universe and myself. My faith or trust in God as creator does not come by proof or scientific method. When it comes, it comes usually by grace, that is, I cannot engineer it. I experience it. I need to place myself in an attitude and in a place where I can open myself to that trust.
I need to have my trust restored, my faith renewed, my hope strengthened. This happens in worship, in conversation, in study, in doing (and in failing), and in approaching creation with awe, gratitude, compassion, and in celebrating creativity among other things. I need to be in communication with spiritual seekers and revealers of the Divine in the past and in the present.
I believe, help my unbelief.