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What natural theology inquires into is what human intelligence can figure out about God without using any of the truths beyond reason, that is, the truths divinely revealed. To see how theology and natural theology differ for Aquinas, it may help to look into faith and theology in more detail. One seems blind in accepting on faith the truths of revelation found in the Bible. They seem blind because faith is a way of knowing something second-hand. A faithful person is in the position of believing what another intellect the divine intellect sees.

Now although one does not see for oneself the truths accepted in faith, one desires to see them for oneself. Faith tends to prompt intellectual questioning, inquiry, and seeking into the meaning and intelligibility of the mystery held in faith. Why did God create the world? Why does God allow so much suffering? Why did God become Incarnate? Why did he have to die on a cross to save humanity? Many more questions come up. One asks questions of the truths of divine revelation without doubting those truths.

On the contrary, one raises such questions because in faith one is confident that one truth of divine revelation can explain another truth of divine revelation. Thus, one questions the faith in faith. Natural theology , on the other hand, does not presuppose faith as theology does. Natural theology does not attempt to explain truths beyond reason such as the Incarnation or the Trinity, and it certainly does not attempt to base anything on claims made in the Bible.

Rather, natural theology uses other sources of evidence. Natural theology appeals to empirical data and the deliverances of reason to search out, verify, justify, and organize as much truth about God as can be figured out when one limits oneself to just these sources of evidence. Aquinas practiced both theology and natural theology. Furthermore, he blended the two rather freely, and blended them into a unified architectonic wisdom.

His architectonic contains both theology and natural theology sometimes they are difficult to sort out. Aquinas is primarily a theologian and his best-known work is his Summa Theologica. Aquinas saw himself as using truths of natural reason to help understand truths of divine revelation. Consequently, as part of his theology, Aquinas presents and refines many philosophical arguments truths of natural reason that he had inherited from multiple streams of his culture: Aristotle, Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, Muslim philosophers and commentators on Aristotle, and the Jewish Rabbi Moses Maimonides.

Aquinas saw himself as taking all the truth they had discovered and using it all to penetrate the meaning and intelligibility of what God is speaking through the bible. In his Summa Contra Gentiles , Aquinas presents in lengthy detail a series of philosophical demonstrations of the existence of God, philosophical demonstrations of a variety of divine attributes, a philosophical theory of naming God, as well as multiple philosophical points concerning divine providence, for example, the problem of evil.

For the first two volumes of the Summa Contra Gentiles , Aquinas proceeds without substantial appeal to the authority of Scripture although Aquinas does repeatedly point to the agreement between what he arrived at philosophically and what Christians hold by faith in their Scriptures.

He seems to intend his arguments to presuppose as little of the Christian faith as possible. The Summa Contra Gentiles , traditionally, was pointed out as one of the principal locations of Aquinas natural theology. One old interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles says that its purpose was to train Christian missionaries who would be required to engage Muslims in discussion and debate about God.

Since Christians and Muslims held no common sacred texts, they would need to dispute in terms afforded by their common humanity, that is, the truths of natural reason. That skepticism, ironically, led to several developments in natural theology. Not long after Aquinas, certain philosophers began to doubt that knowledge of God could be obtained apart from divine revelation and faith. William of Ockham — rejected central theses of Aristotelian philosophy that Aquinas relied upon in arguing for the existence of God, divine attributes, divine providence, and so forth.

Ockham rejected the Aristotelian theory of form. He believed that a world construed in terms of Aristotelian essences was incompatible with God and creation as revealed in Scripture.

Radical Feminist Theology

Nonetheless, Ockham was a Christian. Having rejected the Aristotelian theory of form and essence, natural theology as practiced by Aquinas was not possible. Of the two ways available for obtaining some knowledge of God — faith in revelation and reason without revelation — Ockham rejected the latter. Consequently, the only way remaining to know something of God was by faith in divine revelation. After Ockham, the modern period abounded in various views towards natural theology. On the one hand, there were many who continued to hold that nature affords some knowledge of God and that human nature has some way of approaching God even apart from revelation.

The scholastic thinker Francisco Suarez , for example, presented arguments for the existence of God, divine attributes, and divine providence. On the other hand, the rise of general anti-Aristotelianism for example, Bacon , the rise of a mechanistic conception of the universe for example, Hobbes , and the methodological decision to ignore final causality for example, Descartes , all made traditional theological arguments for the existence of God from nature harder to sustain. Modern philosophy and modern science was perceived by many to threaten the traditional claims and conclusions of natural theology, for example, that the existence and attributes of God can be known apart from revelation and faith.

Many Christian thinkers responded to the new situation posed by modern philosophy and modern science. These responses shared with modern philosophy and modern science a non-Aristotelian, and perhaps even anti-Aristotelian, line of thought. Descartes advanced his argument in such a way that not only did he intend to avoid any Aristotelian presuppositions about the external world, he apparently intended to avoid any presuppositions at all about the external world — even the presupposition of its existence.

In Great Britain, there grew up another form of natural theology tending to use empirical starting points and consciously probabilistic forms of argument. Two examples are noteworthy in this regard. The former latter work begins from the fact, presumably accessible empirically, that something or other has always existed. The latter work offers a probabilistic argument in favor of the existence of God and certain attributes based on analogies between what is found in nature and what is found in revelation.

David Hume — offered perhaps the most poignant criticisms of the post-Aristotelian forms of natural theology. His Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding contained a chapter criticizing the justification for belief in miracles as well as a chapter leveled against arguments from design.

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The latter criticism against design arguments, as well as additional criticisms of various divine attributes, was offered in much more extensive detail in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Although Hume did not dissuade his contemporaries such as Paley from doing natural theology, Hume still had a significant impact on natural theology through his influence on Immanuel Kant. Immanuel Kant — found himself faced on the one side with a rationalism that made quite ambitious metaphysical claims and on the other side with an empiricism that allowed humans to know little beyond what was immediately sensible.

The rationalists claimed to offer in modo geometrico, a series of demonstrations of many truths about God proceeding from a set of axioms self-evident to reason and needing no empirical verification. Later, their approach would be called a priori. The empiricists followed a different course, and stressed the human incapacity to know substantive necessary truths, or at least Hume seems to have stressed this or Hume as Kant understood him.

In his work, Kant is widely thought to have posed perhaps the most significant argumentative challenge to theology, natural theology, and metaphysics in general. For Kant, arguments for the existence of God cannot prove their point due to the limits of the human cognitive capacity. Henceforth, any attempt to do classical theology, natural theology, or metaphysics had to answer the Kantian challenge.

Natural theology after Kant took two various routes. Whether and to what extent Darwinian principles eliminate the necessity for positing a divine designer is one of the most hotly contested issues in natural theology today. But there was more to post-Kantian natural theology.

In Catholic circles, natural theology went in two directions. On the one hand, there were some who intended to use modern philosophy for theological purposes just as the mediaevals had done. Antonio Rosmini - , for example, developed a theology and a natural theology using elements from Augustine, Bonaventure, Pascal, and Malebranche. On the other hand, there were some who revived the thought of Thomas Aquinas. At first, there were but a handful of neo-Thomists. But in time Thomism was not only revived, but disseminated through a vast system of Catholic education. Thomists disagreed amongst each other on how to relate to strands of contemporary thought such as science and Kant.

At any rate, neo-Thomists tended to develop their own counter-reading of modern philosophy — especially Kant — and to use Thomistic natural theology as an apparatus for higher education and apologetics. Outside neo-Thomistic circles, natural theology was generally out of favor throughout the twentieth century. Due to neo-Kantian criticisms of metaphysics, an extreme confidence in contemporary science, a revival and elaboration of Humean empiricism in the form of logical positivism, as well as existentialism among Continental thinkers, metaphysics was thought to be forever eliminated as a way of knowing or understanding truth about God or anything at all for that matter.

Natural theology was thought to have suffered the same fate as being part of metaphysics. It is fair to say that in many places metaphysics and natural theology were even held in contempt. Towards the second half of the twentieth century, however, the tide began to turn — first in favor of the possibility of metaphysics and soon afterwards to a revival of natural theology.

Natural theology today is practiced with a degree of diversity and confidence unprecedented since the late Middle Ages. Arguments from the reality of an objective moral order to the existence of God are circulated and taken seriously. Ethical theories that define goodness in terms of divine command are considered live options among an array of ethical theories. Discussions of divine attributes abound in books and journals devoted exclusively to purely philosophical treatments of God, for example, the journal Faith and Philosophy.

The problem of evil has also been taken up anew for fresh discussions — both by those who see it as arguing against the existence of God and by those who wish to defend theism against the reality of evil. For people of faith who wish to think through their faith, to see whether reason alone apart from revelation offers anything to corroborate, clarify, or justify what is held by faith, there is no shortage of materials to research or study or criticize. Rather, vast quantities of books, articles, debates, discussions, conferences, and gatherings are available.

For those who have no faith, but wish to inquire into God without faith, the same books, articles, debates, discussion, conferences, and gatherings are available. Natural theology is alive and well to assist anyone interested grappling with the perennial questions about God. James Brent Email: jbrentop gmail. Natural Theology Natural theology is a program of inquiry into the existence and attributes of God without referring or appealing to any divine revelation.

Historical Beginnings of Theology and Philosophy The story of natural theology begins where theology begins. Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Theology As philosophy was developing from the Pre-Socratics through to Plato and Aristotle, another development was taking place among the Israelites or the ancient Jews. Distinction between Revealed Theology and Natural Theology The distinction between revealed theology and natural theology eventually grew out of the distinction between what is held by faith and what is held by understanding or reason.

Chadwick, Here Augustine describes being asked to believe certain things, that is, take them on authority, even though they could not be demonstrated. Thomas Aquinas In the work of Thomas Aquinas - , one finds two distinctions that serve to clarify the nature and status of natural theology.


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Modern Philosophy and Natural Theology Not long after Aquinas, certain philosophers began to doubt that knowledge of God could be obtained apart from divine revelation and faith. Natural Theology Today Outside neo-Thomistic circles, natural theology was generally out of favor throughout the twentieth century.

References and Further Reading a. Primary Sources i. VII was an influential text upon later conceptions of God and the Good. Aristotle, Physics , particularly Bk. The locus classicus for the argument from motion for the existence of a first, unmoved mover. Aristotle, Metaphysics , particularly Bk.

Mediaeval Natural Theology Augustine, Confessions , trans. Chadwick, Henry. Oxford, In Bk. VI, Augustine draws a distinction between things demonstrable and things to be taken on authority. Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will , trans. Williams, Thomas. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Out of the many works of St. Augustine, Bks. Augustine considers eternal truths, the order of the world, and the nature of reason, and proceeds to discuss the relationship between these things and the wisdom the pre-existed that world.

Many students find this dialogue satisfying to read. Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. Green, Richard. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, A shorter work, cast in semi-dialogue form, that synthesizes and presents a great deal of late Hellenistic natural theology. It is fair to call this work one of the principal sources of mediaeval humanism and philosophy.

We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

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The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.

Perhaps I am a romantic, but it is my hope that in the future Humanity will live by the truth, with greater harmony between different people, their religions and cultures, and to life in all its complex beauty. Albert Einstein's ideas on Physics and Reality are also significant. It was from reading Einstein that I first realised that matter was not made of tiny 'particles'. And having also read Lorentz who believed in an Absolute Space I realised that a slight modification of Einstein's ideas on Physical Reality solved many of the problems of modern physics. Please see links on the side of this page for the main articles which explain and solve many of the problems of postmodern Metaphysics , Physics and Philosophy from the simple foundation of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter WSM.

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated.

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of Nature , and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i. Albert Einstein , Responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts.

I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature. I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty.

Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms. Stenger, Has Science Found God? One strength of the Communist system I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation.

I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.

The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action. I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth.

I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility. The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.

Einstein observed that specialization is invariably damaging to Science as a whole; The area of scientific knowledge has been enormously extended, and theoretical knowledge has become vastly more profound in every department of science. But the assimilative power of the human intellect is and remains strictly limited. Hence it was inevitable that the activity of the individual investigator should be confined to a smaller and smaller section of human knowledge. Worse still, this specialization makes it increasingly difficult to keep even our general understanding of science as a whole, without which the true spirit of research is inevitably handicapped, in step with scientific progress.

Every serious scientific worker is painfully conscious of this involuntary relegation to an ever-narrowing sphere of knowledge, which threatens to deprive the investigator of his broad horizon and degrades him to the level of a mechanic It is just as important to make knowledge live and to keep it alive as to solve specific problems.

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this. Buddhism answers this description.. In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this religious feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair.

Albert Einstein , For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capable, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere.

Yet is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is , and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values.

To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of man. And if one asks whence derives the authority of such fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason, one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions, which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals; they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to find justification for their existence.

There is no room in this for the divinization of a nation, of a class, let alone of an individual. Are we not all children of one father, as it is said in religious language? Woodman, M. Dancing in the flames: The dark goddess in the transformation of consciousness.

Boston, MA: Shambhala. Stone speaks of the growing consciousness and awareness of our ecological and environmental relationship evident during this time. Stone goes on to discuss the nature of the Goddess as she understands Her. Stone asks us to widen our perceptions of linear and finite time and to embrace the feminine principle that is Goddess. Keywords: Goddess, female principle, consciousness, Mother Earth, Gaia What I want to start out with is a bit of background on how I chose the topic I'm going to talk about today.

In the very beginning, my concern was primarily political, feminist. I happened to be very good friends with Susan Griffin. It has nothing to do with feminism. I knew there was a connection. It was very important to me but being constantly discouraged, I wondered if I should really put my time and energy into it. So I thank Susan for that permission. I was a sculptor and teacher of art history and art.

As I kept working, my main concern was political. In the beginning, the real beginning, as far as we know, God was worshipped as a woman, as female, as the mother who gave birth not only to all life on the planet, but to the planet itself. Earth, heavens, oceans, everything. This article was transcribed from the original by Mark A. I had been an atheist probably from the time I was about 12 or 13—and continued to be so when I started doing my research and working on the book. Throughout the process of researching, and traveling, going to the different museums and excavation sites and libraries and so on, more and more strange events kept happening to me that kept throwing information into my lap, such as bumping into a book on the floor of the supermarket when I was there to get apples and oranges.

And then finding a prayer in that book that I had been looking for all that week and couldn't find. There was the book on the floor and my shopping cart sort of thumped over it. I picked it up and found the prayer. Constantly going to libraries and, particularly, the British Museum reading room where often I would order one book and another one would arrive instead.

This turned out to be exactly what I needed and wanted, while the one I had ordered was not. Events like this kept happening to me over and over as I was doing my research. I never bothered counting my money. I knew if I counted it, it would be like in the cartoons where someone walks off a cliff, keeps walking and then looks down.

They suddenly realize where they are and then they fall. I figured that I better not count my money. I just kept digging into my pocket and hoped it was there. And it was, every time. Over that period of years, I started to get the feeling that it was more than my own decision to reclaim Goddess evidence, that there was some energy in the universe that wanted this information made public, wanted it made known. I can only type with two fingers.

I reached the point, after all those years of research and writing, of feeling more and more that there was that energy, and, at the time, it still seemed to be the energy of a very feminist concern. More recently I have felt that from that same energy, from that same inner voice, that before I give a talk or before I, in any way, address other people or do a lecture or a workshop, I sit down and meditate that morning, or some time before.

It makes it very easy. I brought it today. I want to read it to you. I wrote this a few weeks before the first moonwalk. It was for a poster that I did right before the walk. It showed our planet from the distance that we have seen it from so often since—those photographs from so far away. On July 20 th, , Armstrong and Aldren will leave their spacecraft and walk about the surface of the moon. It was hard to look up at the moon afterward and instead of seeing the little marks and face of the moon, seeing their footprints.

We see the Earth as a sphere, textured with snow and with grass, with water and with mountains. We see that the sphere is inhabited by life forms of all kinds, made possible by the nature of the sphere itself. The further we get, the wider the view, until we see the sphere spinning around in space, a part of a much larger cosmological system. The life forms that exist on Earth have developed in a continual evolutionary process, and are still evolving. There is the intuitive belief that this evolution will be toward humans of greater consciousness, to a species of people perhaps already evolving, who do not see physical combat and violence as the solution to the myriad problems of existence on the planet.

This consciousness implies a dismissal of the pettiness of racial, national and continental boundaries. It is the mature consciousness of being a part of the life force itself, and brother or sister to all human beings on the Earth. It is the consciousness that knows there are no fences, no black borderlines, no names of countries—in the view from the moon. This is a period of time in the history of humans of a consciousness of the ecological relationship of humans to our environment, whether that environment be natural or human made.

It is the time to observe and question what we have so far developed to better life on the planet, and to decide which directions are valuable and which are destructive, if life on planet Earth is to continue to exist at all. We have arrived at a time that allows us a planetary consciousness and along with it a planetary conscience. This is not a transcendent image of Goddess up in the heavens, sitting on a throne in the clouds.

She said she would picture a woman up on a throne, and kept going from image to image of what She might look like, but somehow She always ended up with a long white beard. Many feminists today talk about the Goddess as immanent, which means inside of us, inside of everything, and that to me is somewhat acceptable, except it still has a certain static or rigidified quality about it. I found myself having a little difficulty with the perception, because I kept seeing a little lady behind my sternum, a little, immanent Goddess who was talking to me. Over time, and having long been influenced by the Tao Te Ching, I have come to regard Goddess as Life Force, Life Energy, that which creates and nurtures all that is, all that continues to be.

She's almost always portrayed in that sort of negative way. But Mother Nature is all. I have a bit of trouble with the idea of Gaia Consciousness because Gaia is the ancient Greek Earth Goddess, although the Greeks did write about Gaia creating the heavens Gaia gave birth to Uranus as Her son, and Uranus is the heavens, the whole cosmos. Basically, what I think She was telling me to talk about today was the idea of expanding our sense of space, developing the sense of all space, seeing ourselves as animals on this planet, spinning around on this tiny sphere out in space—and really having that perception of our reality.

In terms of time, one of my biggest problems with Western civilization and theology is that of a sense of very finite time. I think many of you probably know by now that many Bibles, up until the time of Darwin, gave the date of the creation of the Earth specifically as BCE. That was supposedly the beginning of all time. The reason no one thought Earth was any older, even when they found very old bones, was because they had that mindset, that BCE was the earliest date possible, so they could not conceive of anything before that time.

That same kind of finite time thinking also leads to what is called Armageddon Theology, the idea that Earth is going to end in a very short time. Over the last decade or so, many people have been preaching that Judgment Day is coming any day now and that a nuclear holocaust will actually be Judgment Day and on that day Jesus will return for a Second Coming. Somehow or other, after reading the Sermon on the Mount, I believe that Jesus, or whoever said those words, was a very wise person.

So why would there be evolution? Why would God or Goddess work at cross purposes? Are we only going to have it for another decade? By looking back, realizing the thousands, the millions, the billions of years that have preceded us, by going back into history and into prehistory, we can look ahead and see that there could be billions of more years and that if the planet is not destroyed, it can continue to support life.

And we need to see that we are always at that center perspective point. A sense of time, stretching out to a vast sense of time, is what will make us conscious enough to want to preserve this planet for future generations. The idea that the planet itself is alive makes it even more pressing, more pertinent, that we must preserve the planet and the life that exists on it and is part of it.

So we need that much broader spatial perspective and that much broader time perspective. Well, that was about the eight century BCE. But in studying ancient history, we realize that writing was developed by BCE at least. This means that for well over 2, years before Homer there was not only writing, but the accumulation of texts in large libraries.

Once you have written records, you have history! We can gain a certain amount of evidence from prehistoric artifacts and ruins.

Goddess as Nature: Towards a Philosophical Thealogy - Semantic Scholar

But the only way we can really understand what they were beyond personal interpretation is by extrapolating backward from the written evidence. Faced with the all too real threats of poisonous pollution of land, sea and air, and the complete extinction of many species of life on earth, perhaps even our own, we might do well to examine the rituals, parables, and symbolism of spiritual beliefs that included regarding various aspects of nature as sacred, thus inviolable.

Along with the reclamation of our heritage as women, we may gain from the spiritual wisdom inherent in many of the accounts. One cannot help but wonder if polluting the environment was to be regarded as blasphemous to our deepest religious beliefs, and if our religious values were truly in focus with nature life and existence, would such beliefs and attitudes not help to ensure the very survival of life upon this planet?

There are great diversities in both images and practices of Goddess reverence as it has been known in various cultures. Yet a careful consideration of some of the links between Goddess reverence and the sanctity of nature may provide us with a useful understanding of why the even now familiar title, Mother Nature, has survived in societies that claim to reject Goddess reverence and preach against so called nature cults or religions.

We realize we want this planet to be preserved because there are a lot of little people already born, some not yet born, that need a place to be. They need a home. Thank you. Karen Tate Abstract This essay explores how the mythology of the Sacred Feminine, deity, archetype and ideal, might re-establish the foundations on our planet necessary for a sustainable future for all life and Mother Earth.

Tate posits that a paradigm shift into a post- kyriarchal world might be achieved using secular law alongside thealogical thinking. As such, this essay compares the values of Republicans, conservatives and male- dominated Abrahamic traditions with liberals and Goddess ideals, establishing how progressive ideologies of Democratic principles are more in sync with the spirituality of the Divine Feminine. If Goddess had a political affiliation, given our two political parties, She would be a Democrat.

Keywords: Goddess, politics, Eco-feminism, sustainability, thealogy Goddess is a Democrat! Imagine the feedback from that statement in my interviews with Riane Eisler and Starhawk on my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine! But what were we really saying in that statement that might not have been immediately evident? We were saying that the strategy to move us toward that paradigm shift, into a post-kyriarchal world, would not just be the use of secular law, but a change in theology.

We believe at the Institute for Thealogy and Deasophy that the mythology of the Sacred Feminine, deity, archetype and ideal, might re-establish the foundations on our planet necessary for a sustainable future for all life and Mother Earth. Such intolerant male-dominated religions put forward the belief that their god is the only real god who gives them license to crusade against non- believers. All this we face, in conjunction with potential environmental catastrophe that can affect national security and life on the planet as we know it.

We must see the Divine not just in male terms, which is dominant in the collective psyche. We must also see the Divine in female terms and value the ideals that go along with maternal values, or we may never achieve a contemporary egalitarian society of partnership and peace for people of Gaia. Compare the generally accepted views of liberals and conservatives.

Likewise we observe many conservative Christians who misinterpret doctrine believing their wealth as a gift from God for their discipline and rationalize poverty as punishment for sin or being lazy. They view government as the protector of the environment and people and want government to help alleviate social ills and protect civil liberties and human rights.

So let us look at several examples of the marriage between liberal values, political platforms of Democrats, and Sacred Feminine mythology. We find under the broad umbrella of Goddess, many faces across continents and cultures, with no mandate that we worship one name, one face. Instead we see a metaphor for plurality, diversity and inclusion in the loving and life-affirming Sacred Feminine, rather than the jealous, One Way, androcentric and exclusionary god of patriarchy keen on asking men to sacrifice their sons to prove their loyalty and a holy book filled with violence.

Generally speaking, it is the natural home of those embracing gender equality and peoples of all walks of life; gay, straight, people of all skin colors and religions or no religion at all. Juxtapose that with the majority of white, Christian faces peering out at you from a male-dominated Republican National Convention. Consider the mythology of the Inuit Goddess Sedna. She is the gatekeeper between humankind and the sea creatures upon which people depend for their livelihood.

If humans becomes too greedy and exploits the creatures of the sea, Sedna cuts him off until he takes only what he needs. Greed and excess are taboo as we are all inter-dependent upon each other. Real Democrats are the gatekeepers demanding regulation so that corporations cannot run amok and destroy the resources of Mother Earth or rights of people. Most notable is former Vice President Al Gore who pressed for stern regulation of greenhouse gases; Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to build greater knowledge about man-made climate change.

On the other hand, because of the Republican world view in favor of free trade and globalization, the GOP has fought against taking steps to alleviate the threat of climate 14 Liberals. Springfield, MA: Merriam- Webster. Likewise the Roman Lady Libertas represented the deification of the virtue of freedom.

Republicans have forced a watering down of regulation of Wall Street and threaten to de-fund many consumer protections agencies. And how can we ignore Fox News, arm of the Republican Party that cannot get into Canada because of regulations there against the media disseminating misinformation. Priestesses of pharmacology, mid-wives and women hold the power over their own bodies and life and death is in their hands. Today patriarchy dictates to women the parameters of beauty and women fall victims to their standards spending millions with plastic surgeons to live up to some impossible ideal.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, They say, here, take our pill and see your sacred blood magically disappear. Disconnect from one of the very things that empowers you as a woman! In a not-so veiled culture war, the GOP has declared war on women by attempting to de-fund Planned Parenthood, thwarting access to contraception, trying to pass laws to make divorces harder to obtain, trying to legalize the murder of abortion providers, and by having miscarriages investigated and abortions abolished. Goddess Thealogy affirms female power. Researchers such as Merlin Stone and Heide Goettner-Abendroth, in her book, Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future point to matriarchal societies where Goddess was venerated and maternal values practiced, women and children were protected and had a spot at the center of the culture, reaping the benefit of that positioning at the center.

According to Nawal El Saadawi, there can be no real democracy without equality and there is neither under patriarchy. Fortunately, the strides made by the United Nations and the U. State Department help to empower women. This very empowerment is considered the moral imperative of our time.

Former President and Democrat Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Church because of how the Bible discriminates against the female gender and thwarts women from realizing their fullest potential. Republicans continue to vote down laws that would guarantee equal pay for women despite women being heads of households In America alone more than three million elderly women live in poverty and the typical woman working full time, all year, earns just 77 percent of what her male counterpart earns. This makes it more difficult for women to compete for degrees or jobs with their male counterparts.

We do not exploit others. We strive for win-win situations through negotiation and partnerships, not power over and domination. Over the years we have witnessed how patriarchy, militarism, imperialism, colonialism, conquest, and fundamentalism exploit people and resources creating poverty and inequity at home and across the globe. We can witness how predator or disaster capitalism is used to amass great wealth and grab power for the haves, leaving the have-nots vulnerable and at a disadvantage. We see how the absence of journalistic integrity coupled with corporate interests can result in a country brainwashed into any number of ideas, including the bogus Iraq war ginned up by the Bush administration.

We see how history and school books are re- written to serve a conservative agenda. We are standing at the crossroads with the Goddess Hecate. She is shining her light and showing us where we have been, where we are, and where we might go. It is up to us to decide what kind of world we want to live in. Mahatma Gandhi was asked by a journalist what he thought of Western civilization. We say we are a religious nation, yet the poverty rate is the third worst among developed nations according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the poverty rate is expected to rise from Yet despite unemployment benefits being an insurance workers pay into, Republicans held these benefits hostage until President Obama agreed to extend tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of people in country.

Republicans, the so-called family values folk, want to keep us at the mercy of healthcare monopolies. The latest census figures show the gap between rich and poor widening to the largest margin ever with the richest 1 percent pockets more than 20 percent of total income which is greater than the total amount earned by the bottom 50 percent. The Dalai Lama said it would be Western women who would come to the rescue of the world. How would people re-act to a change in the mythology? Well, if the popularity of the recent movie Avatar is any indicator, the movie many I know equated with Goddess church, I think the Sacred Feminine might stage a coup based on the concept of inter-connection, reverence for Nature, a Mother Goddess, and respect of one another and the planet.

Most people thought those were pretty cool ideas they would like practiced in society. My radio show listeners proclaimed they wanted to book passage on the first ship to Pandora. Vatican spokesman, Rev. Can we do it? Can change happen? When St. Paul was run out of Ephesus, lucky to be alive after he tried to turn the masses away from their beloved Goddess Artemis, he must have wondered if this fledgling Christianity he was selling would ever stick.

If you lived and worshiped in Pagan Rome, you probably never dreamed you would see the day the empire would be dominated by Christians, and if you were an early Christian fearing for your life, you surely wondered what the future held. Women being burned at the stake during the Inquisition surely could not foresee the changes that might be in store for women, no doubt like their sisters of the nineteenth century, when it was debated if women had souls.

Slavery was the norm across the globe in ancient times, including in the fledgling United States. Contemporary films like Iron Jawed Angels have documented how American women fighting for the vote were abused, and threatened with institutionalization and arrest for their activism and desire for equality. Certainly, not that long ago, the thought of an African American or woman becoming President was unheard of in the United States. One thing is certain, change and transformation are inevitable. They occur when enough people will it, usually after a profound event, or when circumstances collide that usher in transitions of new beginnings.

Recent events, whether across the globe, as in the Arab Spring in Egypt and the liberation of Syria, or closer to home, with the partisan political battle to retain worker rights in Wisconsin or the occupation of Wall Street and Washington D. But have the majority of people had enough yet? Can these social and political activists tip the scales in favor of the have-nots?

Will values of the Sacred Feminine finally have their rightful place in society? Will Goddess Thealogy be reborn in the mainstream world? References El Saadawi, N. Galbraith, J. It is meant to serve as a reflexive depiction of how post- patriarchal communities of praxis form related to religious discourse. Keywords: thealogy, Sacred Feminine, spiritual path, scholarship, experience As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.

To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Henry David Thoreau On the margins of traditional theological reflection is the liminal space where many women forge their spiritual paths.


  1. Natural Theology | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  2. Goddess as Nature!
  3. Browse Cari.
  4. Top Hat and Tails (Strictly Private).
  5. Pilgern im Massentourismus (German Edition).
  6. For centuries, these paths have generally been separate from those of their male counterparts. But, thankfully, those days are drawing to a close. For today we find a myriad of individual scholars women and men who are all undertaking their own journeys, pursuing their own passions and personal longings for an academic locality that will be not only intellectually rewarding and spiritually satisfying but also effect change as well—change that could incite collective healing, social justice, and egalitarianism—all aspects of a post-patriarchal order.

    These paths which merge at the oft controversial concept of the Sacred Feminine and include the discourse of thealogy are subversive to the mainstream social, religious and academic status quo, often resulting in professional as well as personal costs. Here, for the first time, was an academic center where Women, Religion and the Feminine Divine were valued, validated, and legitimated not only personally, but also professionally.

    This innovative research centre provides scholars with a collective voice, support, understanding and an important political agency to chart new territories within the political, religious, and academic mainstreams that are post-patriarchal in nature. This community of scholars describe their collective voyage as a deeply thealogical journey that attends to their spiritual, intellectual, and political desires.


    • Die Bedeutung des Anderen - Identitätskonstruktion zur Zeit des Kolonialismus und im Zeitalter der Globalisierung im Vergleich (German Edition).
    • The Thrill of You (Mills & Boon Kimani) (The Coles, Book 6)!
    • Goddess as nature: towards a philosophical thealogy - ResearchSPAce.
    • Compare and Contrast: Baroque vs. Classical Music.
    • Thealogy - Wikipedia.

    They believe dialogue, research, and scholarship with respect to the Sacred Feminine is not only timely and relevant given the rise of people and communities who uphold the principle of the Divine Feminine, but it is essential to healing our world and bringing about a social order that is more in balance as well as socially just. Thealogy is an academic field, an exploration in the process of becoming or self- actualizing, and a mode of political praxis with the various faces of the Goddess at its central core.

    Just like any social science and philosophical discipline, thealogy is embedded within subjectivity. Similarly, thealogy does not advocate for the dismissal of theological discourse, but merely is positioned as a counterpoint or complement to a discourse that has for many centuries privileged the Divine Masculine. This essay is a brief phenomenological account detailing the paths of four scholars and what brought them to the Sacred Feminine, thealogy and to the research center. I do not reject the notion of the Divine Masculine but purport that both aspects are important for social transformation, collective healing, and consciousness-raising.

    Presently, patriarchal and masculinist assumptions dominate the socio-religious order in our world, and as a result, the feminine is viewed as the lesser or secondary aspect. As such, thealogy from my viewpoint is more accurately political thealogy grounded in post-secular feminist theory which argues that religious traditions with regard to their assumptions about the nature of gender and how it relates to divinity often mirror the way in which social and power relations are delineated in a given society. For example, the mainstream Christian tradition readily adheres to the conception of the supreme sovereignty of a white male God.

    As religion and culture often mirror one another, it therefore stands to reason that the more secular domains of society will reflect this bias, As a result, women and people of different races and ethnicities will not be deemed as fully human and fully citizens in their own right as this symbolic construction is a barrier to their social agency Hope, ; Irigaray, In her latest book, Restoring the Goddess, Barbara Walker proffers that thealogy, which regards the voices of the other half of the population, is the solution—the much needed discourse that has the potential to transform existent kyriarchal social and political structures.

    I contend that thealogy has the political efficacy and the discursive agency to aid in dismantling systems of oppression, domination, and violence. The transformation of patriarchy comes about when femaleness in all its various manifestations is sacralized by society.

    As a post-secular feminist and a political thealogian, I maintain that the recognition of the full humanity of women and marginalized others does not only come about through secular activist approaches such as changing secular laws, fighting for equal pay in the workplace, or electing a female President, but also through a refashioning of the religious realm as it is the also the sacred, not simply the profane, that manifests patriarchy.

    In the words of Merlin Stone : "Women's rights are a matter of women's rites. I had never considered studying the Goddess academically although I had long been in Her fold. It was my post graduate research, or perhaps the hand of the Great Mother Herself, that led me along this path. I paused to reflect on the words of the Lady of the Lake when I suddenly realized that the Great Mother was speaking through literature. Three years of research into 18 contemporary novels led to my Masters dissertation which was published in as Literature of the Sacred Feminine: Great Mother Archetypes and the Re-emergence of the Goddess in Western Traditions.

    Four years of extensive research into five spiritual memoirs written by contemporary Western women who have committed their lives to a Feminine Divine is resulting in a new thealogy and a new methodology. They have revealed a new emerging Depth Thealogy — a psycho-religious thealogy that moves beyond binary dualisms towards Divine Union, a plural, syncretistic and inclusive thealogy that easily contains many faith traditions. What flowed from these pages was a thealogy unlike any other I had yet encountered, and it resonated with everything I have ever held dear or sacred.

    What has resulted is the merging of two paths—the personal and academic—in relation to the Goddess, and somewhere along the way, I became a Thealogian. My path to the Institute was the result of a marvelous synchronicity, or perhaps again the hand of the Goddess Herself, and the passion and collaborative spirit of Angela Hope. There is no single conversion experience or motif to speak of in my biography, rather one finds a gradual identification with an emergent feminist religious discourse and worldview.

    What precisely does thealogy mean to me in terms of a spiritual path? This is difficult to answer. I belong to no specific religious tradition, Goddess-centered or otherwise. I am personally uncomfortable with formalized religious ritual. Thealogy aims to think otherwise than the norms and ideals of patriarchy, deploying alternative narratives and values than those that inform and underpin the dysfunctional world in which we live. Within the thealogical imagination, one encounters such diverse elements as ancient and suppressed gynocentric metaphors and myths, the metaphysical privileging of becoming rather than being, the valorization of embodiment, natality and organicism, and the creative adaptation of the new sciences of Gaia theory, chaos and ecology.

    It is my belief that this religious imaginary warrants exploration and commitment, not least because of what it may say about our survival as a species, but also because of what it may contribute to our understanding of the flourishing of all life. I conclude by repeating a point I have made elsewhere, namely, this is not a path for women alone. They are active, capable, determined, and bound to win. They have one thousand generations back of them… Millions of women, dead and gone, are speaking through us today.

    This was the matrix of faith out of which so much radical human rights activism emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. It was out of these millennial flames that Matilda Joslyn Gage, the first American feminist historian of Goddess worship, witchcraft, and matriarchal prehistory provided cogent gynocritical challenges to patriarchal religion. My academic interest in this intellectual history coupled with my Pagan love for my ancestral home inspires my passion for finding the Goddess not in distant lands and ancient times, but right where I am, among the humble and heterodox histories of Quaker radicals and rough canal workers; farmers and freedom seekers; Spiritualists and suffragists.

    It is at this intersection that spiritually gifted individuals have contributed challenges to the patriarchal model beautiful not only in their radical appeal to the disempowered, but in their depth, intensity, and eloquence. To honor this, one of my most important goals is to move beyond investigation toward creation as I endeavor to create a thealogy arising from my body, my experience, and my understanding of our collective historical legacy.

    Transcribed letter, Sally Roesch Wagner personal papers. Joy, K. London: Routledge. Reid-Bowen, P. Walker, B. Amherst: Prometheus Books. At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember? On the 23rd of February , Merlin Stone passed from this earthly realm. She left behind a loving family, many friends, colleagues and a legacy of the Feminine Divine. As three of her contemporaries, Zsuzsanna Budapest, Carol P. Christ and Bobbie Grennier, remember Merlin we mark and honour her life, her contributions to the world, and the legacy that remains.

    You are much too hard to let go! I cannot celebrate you, and bemoan you, and preserve you forever all at once. So, I will just talk to you as you once were, here, in my house many years ago.

    You are here

    Merlin, sweet sister, recline comfortably on my leather couch. Your phone no longer worked. Letters to your address were returned. That was your last footstep for most of us. Then nothing for decades, and many years I spent in search of Merlin Stone. Suddenly, your man Lenny called, and he told us you passed away. February 23, You knew years ago that your beautiful mind was changing. I get it. Even in these fertile times, women were still spiritual orphans.

    We had no soul reflection in the high spiritual places. We had no knowledge of where we had been as women, or where we could aspire to go. We had politics and feminism. We needed more. Some important part of us was still very empty.

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    We simply had no spiritual past. No evidence for that. Even feminists were frowning. Some politicos called us bliss bunnies! We had no ground to stand on. Our cultural past had been stolen from us. Schools certainly never mentioned us; the divine feminine was either a perfume or a lipstick shade, or maybe a salad dressing, but certainly not an all powerful real Goddess. We simply had no information about our own great people, as a gender.

    Who did we pray to? Always men? Who went back in time, and stole it all back for us? Who was smart enough to read the old, musty out-of-print books in hopes of finding a couple of lines the patriarchs missed when they erased the Goddess culture? Like an Amazon of the libraries, it was you who hunted down the hard-to-come-by books, visiting museums and travelling to far-off distant lands for research.

    All around the globe, Merlin Stone had libraries, it found our traditions of celebrations, our goddesses and was you our moral codes. We did come from somewhere who hunted awesome, and our foremothers had left us treasures in down the ritual, sacred poetry, and art… footsteps for us to follow. Now, the books books, are with Beacon Press. All of us stand to thank her for this very travelling potent gift of the legitimized woman spirit.

    As usual, Merlin would just smile and make little of my accolade. She taught Art History; and that led her research.