Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Christian Humanism - Educational Videos to Explore

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Christian Humanism
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The parable of the Good Samaritan is often cited as an example of the humanist principle in Christian teaching.
Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles.
The ancient roots of Christian humanism may be seen in Jesus' teaching of the parable of the Good Samaritan and Saint Paul's emphasis on freedom from the external constraints of religious law, as well as the appeal to classical learning by the Christian apologists. Although its roots thus reach back to antiquity, Christian humanism grew more directly out of Christian scholasticism and Renaissance humanism, both of which developed from the rediscovery in Europe of classical Latin and Greek texts.
Renaissance humanism generally emphasized human dignity, beauty, and potential, and reacted against the religious authoritarianism of the Catholic Church. While Renaissance humanists stressed science and sensuality, Christian humanists used the principles of classical learning to focus on biblical studies, theology, and the importance of individual conscience, thus creating the intellectual foundations for the Protestant Reformation.
Later Christian humanists challenged not only the Catholic Church but the authority of the Bible itself and developed liberal Christian theology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, stressing Jesus' humanity and the realization of God's kingdom in Christian community. The term today describes a variety of philosophical and theological attitudes, but tends to reject secularist ideologies which seek to eliminate religious discussion from the political arena.


Christian humanism can be seen as existing at the core of the Christian message. Jesus himself held the commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27, Leviticus 19:18) to be essential. The parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates this principle in action, stressing that even a member of a despised social class can embody true religion more than priests. Elsewhere, Jesus emphasized that charitable works such as feeding the hungry and caring for the sick are more important than mere acknowledgment of him as "Lord" (Matthew 25:34-40).
Justin Martyr
The writings of Saint Paul, the earliest Christian writer, may be interpreted as applying classical Greek ideas to traditional Jewish beliefs and thus developing a new religious philosophy. Paul emphasized the freedom of Gentile Christians from Jewish law and wrote of the liberty of the individual conscience in a personal relationship with God. A more direct type of Christian humanism can be seen in the second century, with the writings of Justin Martyr. Justin demonstrated the usefulness of classical learning in bringing the Christian message to a pagan audience, and also suggested the value of the achievements of classical culture itself in his Apology and other works.
Many years later, Church Fathers also made use of classical learning in developing Christian theology and explaining it to audiences in the Roman Empire. Apologists such as Origen engaged in dialogs with pagan writers and referred to classical texts to defend the Christian faith. The development of Logos theology, a critical phase in the evolution of the mature trinitarian doctrine, emerged from the application of Greek philosophical ideas to the Christian message. Later, influential writings of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, for example, confirmed the commitment to using pre-Christian knowledge, particularly as it touched the material world and not metaphysical beliefs.


After the Muslim conquest, however, Greek learning was largely lost to western (Latin) Christianity. The rediscovery and translation of formally lost Greek texts in Europe, especially those of Aristotle, resulted in new approaches to theology.

Peter Abelard's work (early twelfth century), which emphasized the use of formal logic both to expose and reconcile contradictions in the writings of the Church Fathers, encountered strong ecclesiastical resistance, but also unleashed a powerful new spirit in theological studies. After a period of ecclesiastical reaction in which some aspects of classical learning were banned from theological discourse, writers such as Thomas Aquinas (thirteenth century) succeeded, though not without considerable difficulty, in establishing that Aristotelian principles could be used as an effective tool in expressing Christian theology.

The Renaissance

Both Christian and classical humanists placed great importance on studying ancient languages, namely Greek and Latin. Christian humanists also studied Hebrew, focusing on scriptural and patristic writings, Church reform, clerical education, and preaching. Whereas non-Christian humanism valued earthly beauty as something worthy in itself, Christian humanism valued earthly existence specifically in combination with the Christian faith. Christian humanism saw an explosion in the Renaissance, emanating from an increased faith in the capabilities of humanity, combined with a still-firm devotion to Christian faith.
One of the first great texts of the maturing Christian humanist tradition was Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's Oration on the Dignity of Man (c. 1486). However, the country of Pico's birth, Italy, leaned more toward civic humanism, while specifically Christian humanism tended to catch hold further north, during what is now called the Northern Renaissance. Italian universities and academia thus stressed classical mythology and literature as a source of knowledge, while the universities of the Holy Roman EmpireFranceEngland, and the Netherlands applied classical learning more to the study of the Church Fathers and biblical texts.
Near the end of the fifteenth century, Johann Reuchlin became a champion for the humanist cause when he defended the right of Jews to read the Talmud and other Jewish works, which conservative Dominican intellectual leaders in Germany insisted should be banned as anti-Christian, prompting major debates between humanists and traditionalists in the great universities of Europe. Reuchlin's younger contemporary, Erasmus of Rotterdam, became the leading Christian humanist thinker of the era and completed the first New Testament in Greek in 1514. His work would come to play a major role in the theological debates of the early Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation and beyond

John Calvin
Christian humanism thus blossomed out of the Renaissance and was brought by devoted Christians to the study of the sources of the New Testament and Hebrew Bible. The invention of movable type, new inks, and widespread paper-making put virtually the whole of human knowledge at the hands of literate Christians for the first time, beginning with the publication of critical editions of the Bible and Church Fathers and later encompassing other disciplines.

Erasmus pioneered this movement with his work of publishing the New Testament in Greek, producing a firestorm of interest in the "original" text of the Bible. Martin Luther went even further by translating the scriptures into his native German, and arguing for the "freedom of Christian conscience" to interpret the scriptures without interference from the Catholic Church.
John Calvin, at the Sorbonne, began studying scripture in the original languages, eventually writing his influential commentary upon the entire Christian Old Testament and New Testament. Each of the candidates for ordained ministry in the Reformed churches in Calvinist tradition was required to study the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek in order to qualify. In England, Christian humanism was influential in the court of King Henry VIII, where it came to play an important role the the establishment of the Church of England.
Meanwhile, Christian humanism continued to find advocates in the Catholic tradition as well. Erasmus, for example, remained a Catholic, and many of the leading thinkers of the Counter-Reformation were deeply immersed in Christian humanist thought. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, Christian humanism was the prevailing intellectual thought of Europe.


John Locke
As the primary intellectual movement which laid the foundation for the Protestant Reformation, the legacy of Christian humanism is immense. In subsequent decades and centuries, Christians continued to engage the historical and cultural bases of Christian belief, leading to a spectrum of philosophical and religious stances on the nature of human knowledge and divine revelation.
The Enlightenment of the mid-eighteenth century in Europe brought a separation of religious and secular institutions and challenged Christian faith in ever more radical ways. At the same time, the idea of God-given human rights beyond the authority of any government, initiated by the English philosopher John Locke and enshrined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, represents a direct outgrowth of Christian humanist thinking.
Biblical criticism and the development of liberal theology in the late nineteenth century may also be seen as manifestations of the Christian humanist spirit. However, Christian humanism stops short of secular humanism, which seeks to divorce any religious discourse from public political debate. Indeed, Christian humanism emphasizes the need to apply Christian principles to every area of public and private life.
Today, the term "Christian humanism" is used widely to describe widely divergent viewpoints including those of such Christian writers as Fyodor DostoevskyG.K. ChestertonC.S. LewisJ.R.R. Tolkien, Henri-Irénée Marrou, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

See also


  • Bequette, John P. Christian Humanism: Creation, Redemption, and Reintegration. Lanham, Md: University Press of America, 2004. ISBN 9780761828075.
  • D’Arcy, Martin C. Humanism and Christianity. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1969. OCLC 3888.
  • Lemerle, Paul. Byzantine Humanism The First Phase: Notes and Remarks on Education and Culture in Byzantium from Its Origins to the 10th Century. Canberra: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986. OCLC 16808726.
  • Oser, Lee. The Return of Christian Humanism: Chesterton, Eliot, Tolkien, and the Romance of History. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007. ISBN 9780826217752.
  • Shaw, Joseph M. Readings in Christian Humanism. Minneapolis: Augsburg Pub. House, 1982. ISBN 9780806619385.

Renaissance Humanism and Christian Humanism

Renaissance Humanism is the study of subjects that are focused on the actions and abilities of humans. It emphasizes on human dignity, beauty, and potential.
Renaissance Humanism started in the late thirteen hundreds when scholars began to study different subjects from religion. The subjects they studied are known as humanities. Even though the humanists of the Renaissance learned subjects besides religion, they weren't any less religious. The start of humanism started due to the Europeans want for knowledge. The craving for knowledge was caused by the rediscovery of ancient texts that were thought to be lost.
Christian Humanism
Christian humanism is the belief human characteristics, such as freedom, individual conscience, and rational inquiry, are compatible with the teachings of Christianity. It is a combination of humanist and Christian ideas.
Christian humanists focused on biblical teachings, theology (the study of God's nature and religious belief), and the importance of individual conscience using the principals of classical learning. It was based on the humanity of Jesus and his teachings.

What Was Christian Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #13

In this episode, I introduce the Christian. or Northern, Renaissance Humanist movement of the 16th century. I discuss its characteristics and examine the ideas of its two biggest thinkers, Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More.

What Was the Renaissance? AP Euro Bit by Bit #1

In this video, I introduce you to the major changes that characterized the Renaissance in Europe. I will expand on these ideas in the next few videos.

What Was Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #2

In this video, I describe the intellectual movement of humanism and profile four major figures of the movement: Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla, Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola

What Was Secular Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #3

In this video, I examine the secular humanist movement of the 15th century. I focus on the ideas and works of Leonardo Bruni, Leon Battista Alberti, and Niccolo Machiavelli.

What Was Civic Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #4

This is an overview of civic humanism. In it, I highlight the contributions of Niccolo Machiavelli, Jean Bodin, Baldassare Castiglione, and Francesco Guicciardini.

Christian Humanism: Introductory Lecture

A seventy-four minute introduction to a semester-long course on Christian Humanism.  This episode focuses on the emergence of the concept of the Logos from Heraclitus to St. John's Gospel.

Christian Humanism Lecture: From St. Paul to Nietzsche

This second lecture of the semester is divided into, roughly, two parts.  Part one continues the first lecture, considering in details the implications of the Logos for dignity, equality, and liberty. I look at St. Paul, Cicero, and, briefly, St. Augustine. Part two considers the greatest (that is, most important) thinker of the nineteenth-century, the anti-humanist Friedrich Nietzsche.

Russell Kirk and Christian Humanism

A part of my Hillsdale College upper-level history course, Christian Humanism.  This episode considers Kirk's own Christian Humanism as he understood it in the 1950s. I also look at Kirk's definition of conservatism, asking the questions 1) what to conserve and 2) how to conserve. Very little in the way of biographer in this lecture.  That will be in the next one.

The Five Canons of Christian Humanism

In honor of Russell Kirk's definition of conservatism through the employment of six canons, I decided to define Christian Humanism through five.  This lecture--just a little over 30 minutes long--is the concluding lecture for my Hillsdale College upper-level history course, The Christian Humanist Vision of History.

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