Christian Theology

March 19, 2012

Touching Dust and Deity

Filed under: Blogroll,christian theology,Christianity — Christian Theology @ 10:19 am
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“Whether we are a very complicated but arbitrary string of molecules that occurred by accident and for no reason, or something wonderful and worthy of honor and mutual respect somehow touching both the dust and deity, are mutually exclusive positions that can bear no middle ground and predetermine the life and thought of the one that chooses to think themselves to be one, or the other.”

 

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  1. The relevance of Indian Catholic Theology
    Religion plays a major role in the lives of the people of India in almost every aspect. In the multi-religious context of India, respect for the religion of the other is very important. Humans all over the world want to live in unity, harmony and peace. Almost all the world religions believe that this world is created by One and the same God. Today, as we live in a global village, where we envisage true realization of human unity based on mutual love. This is essential for a healthy and peaceful life. Living in a multi-religious context we have to learn to share and appreciate beliefs, religious experiences, cultural and other values of each other.
    In reality, what we experience in our day- to-day life is practically opposite to this universal longing of the humanity. The world is divided on the basis of religions, believes, rituals, cultures and languages. Constant tensions and conflicts and wars are going on in various parts of the world based on these factors.
    The true followers of all religions, therefore, must come together to put up a struggle against these divisions and destructions among the humans in the name of religions. The followers of different religions, with their own unique religious experiences, can understand, respect, enrich and complement each other in this effort. This opening and sharing should not remain the privilege of the intellectuals and scholars alone, but should also penetrate the life of the ordinary people. True understanding of the Scriptures of various religions and their messages will help the masses to be alert.
    World religions play a major role in the lives of people all over the world. Harmony among the believers of various religions demands understanding and acceptance of the unique and complementary elements in these religions and their Scriptures. It requires serious study of the significant belief systems, themes and messages of various religions and their scriptures. Such investigations are essential to understand the nature and purpose of various religions. These theological efforts will help people of various religions.
    We understand that all religions are not the same. Each of them has its own Sitz im Laben (the unique context). They have their unique message to offer to the world. They are born and developed in various cultures and among different people. In spite of this uniqueness of each religion and the differences that exist between them, there exists a basic unity between them. One such theological theme fond in the Synoptic Gospels and the Indian Scripture Bhagavad Gita is “The reign of God and the establishment of Dharma”
    “The reign of God and the establishment of Dharma”
    The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel (Mk. 1.15; Cf. Lk. 4: 18-19).
    Whenever there is a decline of ”dharma’ and rise of ”adharma’ O Bharata (Arjuna)”, then I send forth myself. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of dharma, I come into being from age to age (Bhagavad Gita. 4: 7-8).
    The passage from the Gospel Mark and the passage from Bhagavad Gita have always fascinated me. When questions arise in my mind about the relevance and meaning of my mission as a dedicated disciple of Jesus, these passages from the Scriptures of World Religions have always helped and encouraged me. It is conviction that the person of Jesus proclaimed the reign of God through his life and action. In the Indian context the work of Jesus can be explained in terms of God’s promise to his people to establish dharma on earth in a situation of ever increasing adharma.
    It could be seen in almost all the world Religions that the human longing for the establishment of the reign of God and that of dharma is universal. This human yearning is manifested in different terms and in various cultural expressions, symbols and rituals. Though developed in different cultures and times, the unity of the experience underlying beneath these expressions and theologies is captivating. The values promoted by these world religions go beyond the boundaries of religions and cultures.
    Catholic Theology and Indian Religious Traditions
    The main Scripture of Catholic tradition is the Bible, consisting of Old and New Testaments. Among the Indian Religious traditions, the mainstream Religion is Hinduism. Other religions are Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism etc. The Hindu tradition has great strength of Scriptures in Sanskrit such as Vedas, the Upanishads, the Dharmasaastras, the Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Bhagavad-Gita.
    In the Catholic Tradition, the Old Testament basically speaks about how God created the Universe as good and the humans in his own image (Genesis) and preserved it through ages in- spite of human rebellion against their creator God. At the end of this Old Testament tradition Jesus is presented as the Messiah who came to reconcile the Universe and the Humans to God by establishing the Reign of God on earth. The New Testament writings speak Jesus action towards this goal and the effect that followed his life on earth.
    In the Hindu Tradition, the scriptures are divided into “Sruti” and “Smriti” writings. Basically, the writings of both these traditions speak of “dharma”. In Hindu tradition, Dharma is some total of requirements for the life of a religious person. In other words, if one practices dharma as prescribed in Vedas and post Veda scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita, he/she will be in good relationship with the Divine.
    The core of Catholic and Mainstream Indian Theology
    In other words, the core of Catholic Theology is ultimately a research in to the “proclamation of the Kingdom God” (Mark. 1:14-15) in human situation, life and activities. Similarly the core of the Mainstream Indian Theology is a research into the understanding of Dharma, practice of it in various situations of daily life and activities. Both the Reign of God and establishment of Dharma by the Divine in this Universe and in the lives of humans, make this world God’s own Kingdom or a place where all live by Dharma. In both cases there will be radical transformation of this world and in the lives of human, leading them to wholeness of life, love, peace and happiness.
    Rev. Dr. Anthoney

    Comment by anthoney — September 21, 2012 @ 11:12 pm | Reply


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