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Early Christian Writings
Religious Studies
Undergraduate 2

Additional Religious Studies Flashcards




Reason is the interpretation of experience. What are the types of experience?

Physical -- Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Social Psychological -- Natural Order --> Economics, Sociology, Psychology

Spiritual -- Supernatural Order --> Humans have capacity to know spiritual realities

3 Major Reasoning Assumptions

anthropology: study of or account of what constitutes human nature

cosmology: study of or account of nature of the cosmos or universe. Includes categories of the nature of matter, spirit (or lack thereof), kinds of beings that exist, physical forces, time, history, etc.

theology*: most specifically, the study of the nature of God and of God's relationship to both creations and the world.


Nietzsche: Theology is the nature of God. 

invention: God is primarily a product of invention
  • constructed to serve human need for control
  • maintained to keep human beings servile to hold up master/slave
  • primarily a projection of our own power and capacities – we are afraid of our own power so we make up a God to fill our sense of potential
"God is dead":
  • God may or may not exist, but regardless of that, the principles of Enlightenment make it impossible to believe in God now
  • God or the idea of God no longer has any meaning in post-modern societies
Nietzsche: Anthropology is the nature of humans. (I don't doubt Sarah's fuckability)

intellect: (human's are reasoning. This gives them intellectual independence, but makes them succeptable to religion, which circumnavigates reason)

  • reason is central feature of what makes humans human – main source of maximum human potential
  • reason is basis of human freedom – free thought allows free self-determination
  • knows world through sciences
  • easily 'duped' into believing in religious narratives because overthrown by desires for control, comfort, escapism, fantasy

drives, desires:  (respond to outward stimuli whether to stop something feared or gain something desired)

  • humans fundamentally driven by fear; fear primal urge of humans
  • because of fear, humans driven to desire power, control, and escape
  • feelings are bad because irrational;  they inhibit reason by making us cling to narrative and religion; feelings include fear and root of desire for comfort, escape, childishness

soul?: (the soul is a misaligned word that implies religion, but is really reasoning and desires

  • humans may not have souls
  • soul generally product of the narrative
  • belief in soul encourages focus on other world/afterlife
    • thus makes us passive in this world, excuse for not taking responsibility

freedom: (of reason, independence, religion and expression)

  • primarily defined as freedom from:
    • from constraints on reason
    • from dependence on others
    • from dependence on God
    • from dependence on narrative
  • humans are source of own freedom – through use of strong will and sound reason
    • stop indulging in fantasies, in submission to narrative, etc.
    • confront fears because irrational
  • "super-man" or "ubermench" – humans have capacity to be strong and intelligent and advance beyond primitive attachments to religion and narrative
Nietzsche: Cosmology is the nature of the universe
intelligible: universe is knowable to an extent through (hard) sciences (because physical)

physical: universe/reality in general does NOT include any kind of "spirit" or supernatural realm – humans are not spiritual, no God, angels, demons, etc.

ordered: universe is ordered in such a way that it can be studied by science, but this order does NOT grant the universe meaning or purpose; cosmos void of intrinsic purpose, end, or meaning

  • can be understood as story driven by master/slave power dynamic
  • series of stages of progress marking the advancement of civilization:
      • primitive       --> advanced
        superstitious  -->  rational
        -->  rational, independent
        --> mature
        --> independent
  • re-telling of history in terms other than advancement and master/slave dynamic --> attempt to impose order, meaning, and sense on something that is simply chaotic and empty
Smith Journal -- Nativity House Problems
  • Social, economic – poverty, not enough resources,
  • Children born into situations where they have no control or options – economic and social factors give them little ability to help selves
  • Nobody to trust, nobody compassionate towards the marginalized,
  • Mental and physical disabilities, addiction, war vets
Smith Journal -- Nativity House Solutions
  • Society needs to promote universal understanding of human dignity
  • Society needs to prioritize promoting awareness
  • More resources need to be allocated to provide for under-privileged
  • People need some kind of “fresh start”—if past suffering, abuse, mental illness, war trauma, etc. were not constraining them, people might be able to overcome problems
Somehow people need to have an equal ability to overcome life problems and obstacles. Can this be done with out divesting humans of freedom, responsibility, and real genuine human experiences (suffering, growth, etc.)
Pelagian Ability

God created humans with free will

At creation given ability (choose + or -), will (conscience) = human freedom (actions)

Human beings choose the bad, cloud of sin that tarnishes the will

Pelagian God's Aid

God gives the Laws to help guide human beings. Works to take away tarnish.

Humans go back to old ways.

God sends Christ the teacher to teach the interpretation of the bible. He cleanses all people of their sins through baptism and uses himself as an example of how to live a holy life. 

Pelagian Our Action

We have the capability to be righteous people. We simply need to choose the good. Noah, Lot, Joseph and Job are examples of this.

We must overcome the feeling to commit sin


Nietzsche Origins of Religion

Forming of a metaphysical myth.

Narrative becomes institutionalized, nationalized, socialized

Master slave dynamic, power of religion used over people

Scientific revolution reason vs. mythos/religion

Christianic problems 

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