Philosophy of Religion (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
This series editor has spent an entire professional lifetime focused specifi- .. Gould, who argued that religion and science could coexist comfortably, are. representatives of science at the University of Regensburg, This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Gould once put it, religion and science are coming together again. Long the .. In other words, the credible threat of corporeal punishment McNamara, P. ( ), Where god and science meet: How brain and evolutionary studies alter.
He and his colleagues surveyed thousands of people and asked them to rate the degree to which they embraced hundreds of different possible goals.
In the end, the researchers identified 16 basic desires that we all share: Reiss then developed a questionnaire, called the Reiss Motivation Profile, that measures how much people value each of these 16 goals.
More thanpeople have now completed the questionnaire. The research is described in Reiss's book Who Am I? For example, there is the desire for social contact. For extroverts, religion offers festivals and teaches that God blesses fellowship. For introverts, religion encourages meditation and private retreats and teaches that God blesses solitude. Most philosophers throughout the history of ideas, east and west, have addressed religious topics.
One cannot undertake a credible history of philosophy without taking philosophy of religion seriously. While this field is vital for philosophy, philosophy of religion may also make a pivotal contribution to religious studies and theology. Religious studies often involve important methodological assumptions about history and about the nature and limits of religious experience.
These invite philosophical assessment and debate. Theology may also benefit from philosophy of religion in at least two areas. Historically, theology has often drawn upon, or been influenced by, philosophy. Platonism and Aristotelianism have had a major influence on the articulation of classical Christian doctrine, and in the modern era theologians have often drawn on work by philosophers from Hegel to Heidegger and Derrida.
Another benefit lies in philosophy's tasks of clarifying, evaluating, and comparing religious beliefs. The evaluation has at times been highly critical and dismissive, but there are abundant periods in the history of ideas when philosophy has positively contributed to the flourishing of religious life.
This constructive interplay is not limited to the west. The role of philosophy in distinctive Buddhist views of knowledge and the self has been of great importance.
Just as philosophical ideas have fueled theological work, the great themes of theology involving God's transcendence, the divine attributes, providence, and so on, have made substantial impacts on important philosophical projects. Hilary Putnam, for example, has linked the philosophy of truth with the concept of a God's-eye point of view. At the beginning of the 21st century, a more general rationale for philosophy of religion should be cited: Philosophers of religion now often seek out common as well as distinguishing features of religious belief and practice.
This study can enhance communication between traditions, and between religions and secular institutions. The Meaningfulness of Religious Language A significant amount of work on the meaningfulness of religious language was carried out in the medieval period, with major contributions made by Maimonides —Thomas Aquinas —Duns Scotus —and William of Ockham — In the modern era, the greatest concentration on religious language has taken place in response to logical positivism and to the latter work of Wittgenstein — This section and the next highlights these two more recent movements.
Logical positivism promoted an empiricist principle of meaning which was deemed lethal for religious belief. The following empiricist principle is representative: The stronger version of positivism is that claims about the world must be verifiable at least in principle. Both the weaker view with its more open ended reference to evidence and the strict view in principle confirmation delimit meaningful discourse about the world.
Ostensibly factual claims that have no implications for our empirical experience are empty of content. In line with this form of positivism, A. Ayer — and others claimed that religious beliefs were meaningless.
How might one empirically confirm that God is omnipresent or loving or that Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu? In an important debate in the s and s, philosophical arguments about God were likened to debates about the existence and habits of an unobservable gardener, based on a parable by John Wisdom in — The idea of a gardener who is not just invisible but who also cannot be detected by any sensory faculty seemed nonsense.
It seemed like nonsense because they said there was no difference between an imperceptible gardener and no gardener at all. Using this garden analogy and others crafted with the same design, Antony Flew see his essay in Mitchell made the case that religious claims do not pass the empirical test of meaning. The field of philosophy of religion in the s and s was largely an intellectual battlefield where the debates centered on whether religious beliefs were meaningful or conceptually absurd.
Empirical verificationism is by no means dead. Some critics of the belief in an incorporeal God continue to advance the same critique as that of Flew and Ayer, albeit with further refinements. Michael Martin and Kai Nielsen are representatives of this approach. And yet despite these efforts, empiricist challenges to the meaningfulness of religious belief are now deemed less impressive than they once were. In the history of the debate over positivism, the most radical charge was that positivism is self-refuting.
The empiricist criterion of meaning itself does not seem to be a statement that expresses the formal relation of ideas, nor does it appear to be empirically verifiable. How might one empirically verify the principle? At best, the principle of verification seems to be a recommendation as to how to describe those statements that positivists are prepared to accept as meaningful.
But then, how might a dispute about which other statements are meaningful be settled in a non-arbitrary fashion? If the positivist principle is tightened up too far, it seems to threaten various propositions that at least appear to be highly respectable, such as scientific claims about physical processes and events that are not publicly observable.
For example, what are we to think of states of the universe prior to all observation of physical strata of the cosmos that cannot be observed directly or indirectly but only inferred as part of an overriding scientific theory? Or what about the mental states of other persons, which may ordinarily be reliably judged, but which, some argue, are under-determined by external, public observation? A person's subjective states—how one feels—can be profoundly elusive to external observers and even to the person him or herself.
Can you empirically observe another person's sense of happiness? Arguably, the conscious, subjective states of persons resist airtight verification and the evidence of such states does not meet positivist's standards van CleveTaliaferro Also worrisome was the wholesale rejection by positivists of ethics as a cognitive, normative practice.
The dismissal of ethics as non-cognitive had some embarrassing ad hominum force against an empiricist like Ayer, who regarded ethical claims as lacking any truth value and yet at the same time he construed empirical knowledge in terms of having the right to certain beliefs.
Can an ethics of belief be preserved if one dispenses with the normativity of ethics? The strict empiricist account of meaning was also charged as meaningless on the grounds that there is no coherent, clear, basic level of experience with which to test propositional claims. A mystic might well claim to experience the unity of a timeless spirit everywhere present. Ayer allowed that in principle mystical experience might give meaning to religious terms.
Those who concede this appeared to be on a slippery slope leading from empirical verificationism to mystical verificationism Alston A growing number of philosophers in the s and s were led to conclude that the empiricist challenge was not decisive.
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Critical assessments of positivism can be found in work by, among others, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, and John Foster. One of the most sustained lessons from the encounter between positivism and the philosophy of religion is the importance of assessing the meaning of individual beliefs in comprehensive terms.
Carl Hempel developed the following critique of positivism, pointing the way to a more comprehensive analysis of the meaning of ostensible propositional claims.
Hempel's observations apply with equal force to the philosophy of meaning and science, as well as to the philosophy of religion. But no matter how one might reasonably delimit the class of sentences qualified to introduce empirically significant terms, this new approach [by the positivists] seems to me to lead to the realization that cognitive significance cannot well be construed as a characteristic of individual sentences, but only of more or less comprehensive systems of sentences corresponding roughly to scientific theories.
A closer study of this point suggests strongly that… the idea of cognitive significance, with its suggestion of a sharp distinction between significant and non-significant sentences or systems of such, has lost its promise and fertility… and that it had better be replaced by certain concepts which admit of differences in degree, such as the formal simplicity of a system; its explanatory and predictive power; and its degree of conformation relative to the available evidence.
The analysis and theoretical reconstruction of these concepts seems to offer the most promising way of advancing further the clarification of the issues implicit in the idea of cognitive significance.
HempelIf Hempel is right, the project initiated by Ayer had to be qualified, taking into account larger theoretical frameworks. Religious claims could not be ruled out at the start but should be allowed a hearing with competing views of cognitive significance. Ronald Hepburn summarizes a widely held conviction that complements Hempel's position: Ayer himself later conceded that the positivist account of meaning was unsatisfactory Ayer With the retreat of positivism in the s, philosophers of religion re-introduced concepts of God, competing views of the sacred, and the like, which were backed by arguments that appealed not to narrow scientific confirmation but to broad considerations of coherence, breadth of explanation, simplicity, religious experience, and other factors.
But before turning to this material, it is important to consider a debate within philosophy of religion that was largely inspired by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Religious Forms of Life and Practices Wittgenstein launched an attack on what has been called the picture theory of meaning, according to which statements may be judged true or false depending upon whether reality matches the picture represented by the belief.
It gives rise to insoluble philosophical problems and it misses the whole point of having religious beliefs, which is that the meaning is to be found in the life in which they are employed. By shifting attention away from the referential meaning of words to their use, Wittgenstein promoted the idea that we should attend to what he called forms of life.
As this move was applied to religious matters, a number of philosophers either denied or at least played down the extent to which religious forms of life involve metaphysical claims. Phillips have all promoted this approach to religion. It may be considered non-realist in the sense that it does not treat religious beliefs as straightforward metaphysical claims that can be adjudicated philosophically as either true or false concerning an objective reality.
By their lights, the traditional metaphysics of theism got what it deserved when it came under attack in the mid-twentieth century by positivists. This Wittgensteinian challenge, then, appears to place in check much of the way philosophers in the west have approached religion.
When, for example, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, and Hume argued for and against the justification of belief in God, metaphysics was at the forefront. They were interested in the best possible arguments for and against God's existence. The same preoccupation with the truth or falsehood of religious belief is also central to ancient and medieval philosophical reflection about the Divine.
When Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas articulated arguments for God's existence they were engaged in full-fledged metaphysics. At least two reasons may support recent non-realism. First, it has some credibility based on the sociology of religion. Religion seems pre-eminently to be focused upon how we live. For example, prayer to God by parents for the recovery of a child's health may be understood as an expression of their anguish and an effort to center their hope on the child's getting better, and not as an attempt to persuade God to violate the laws of nature by miraculously healing their child.
A second reason that might be offered is that the classical and contemporary arguments for specific views of God have seemed unsuccessful to many philosophers though not to all, as observed in section 4.
Tilghman takes this line and argues that if the traditional arguments for God's existence are re-interpreted as part of religious life and not treated as if they were adjudicating metaphysical truth-claims, then they have an intelligibility and force that they otherwise lack. Non-realist views have their critics from the vantage point both of atheists such as Michael Martin and theists such as Roger Trigg.
By way of a preliminary response it may be pointed out that even if a non-realist approach is adopted this would not mean altogether jettisoning the more traditional approach to religious beliefs.
If one of the reasons advanced on behalf of non-realism is that the traditional project fails, then ongoing philosophy of religion will still require investigating to determine whether in fact the tradition does fail.
As John Dewey once observed, philosophical ideas not only never die, they never fade away. A more substantial reply to Wittgensteinian non-realism has been the charge that it does not preserve but instead undermines the very intelligibility of religious practice. Let us concede that religious practice is antecedent to philosophical theories that justify the practice—a concession not shared by all.
Even so, if one engages in a religious practice, such as prayer to God or Buddhist meditation to see through the illusion of having a substantial, enduring ego, the development of some sort of philosophical theory to make sense of this practice seems inevitable.
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Once such a theory is in place and historically there have been no lack of these theoriesit makes sense to raise the question of its truth.
While Malcolm has proposed that it makes sense to believe in God without believing that God exists, others have submitted that lack of belief that God exists makes belief in God meaningless.
Belief that X is prior to belief in X. One may hope that something will occur a child recovers from illness without the accompanying belief that it will occur, but it is more puzzling to suppose that one can trust a Divine being without believing or hoping there is some Divine reality there to rely upon.
While non-realism might seem to lay the groundwork for greater tolerance between religions and between religions and the secular world because it subverts the battle over which religion has a true picture of the cosmos, critics have lamented the loss of a normative way of choosing between religions, ways that seem to be used in commonplace philosophical reflection on the merits of religion.
So, today it is still not at all unusual for people to claim they have changed religions or stayed with their own or abandoned all religion or converted to a religionfor reasons like the appeal to religious experience, answered or unanswered prayer, miracles or the lack of them, moral and cultural relativism, an overwhelming sense of the reality of good and evil, and so on. Although realists and non-realists are at odds in debate, each side can learn from the other.
Non-realists can consider the realist approach to divine attributes and a philosophy of God as reflections of a religious form of life. And a realist philosophical treatment of God's goodness may reveal important insights about practical religious forms of life. On the other hand, the non-realist approach to religion may offer a fitting caution to realists about approaching religion as a mere theoretical, abstract enterprise.
Imagining a middle ground is not easy, however. To ask whether God exists is not to ask a theoretical question. If it is to mean anything at all, it is to wonder about praising and praying; it is to wonder whether there is anything in all that.
Near the end of his life, D. Phillips' own train of thought seemed to land him solidly in Feuerbachian atheism and thus Phillips concluded his work as a solid realist: A better example of someone who was a realist but took religious forms of life as a central reference point is John Clayton see especially his Religions, Reasons and Gods: Essays in Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion.
Ancient philosophy of religion wrestled with the credibility of monotheism and polytheism in opposition to skepticism and very primitive naturalistic schemes. For example, Plato argued that the view that God is singularly good should be preferred to the portrait of the gods that was articulated in Greek poetic tradition, according to which there are many gods, often imperfect and subject to vice and ignorance. The emergence and development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on a global scale secured the centrality of theism for philosophical enquiry, but the relevance of a philosophical exploration of theism is not limited to those interested in these religions and the cultures in which they flourish.
While theism has generally flourished in religious traditions amid religious practices, one may be a theist without adopting any religion whatever, and one may find theistic elements however piecemeal in Confucianism, Hinduism, some versions of Mahayana Buddhism, as well as in the religions of some smaller scale societies. The debate over theism also has currency for secular humanism and religious forms of atheism as in Theravada Buddhist philosophy.
Consider first the philosophical project of articulating theism and then the philosophy of divine attributes. Terms applied both to God and to any aspect of the world have been classified as either univocal sharing the same senseequivocal used in different sensesor analogical.
There is a range of accounts of analogous predication, but the most common—and the one assumed here—is that terms are used analogously when their use in different cases John limps and the argument limps is based on what is believed to be a resemblance. It seems clear that many terms used to describe God in theistic traditions are used analogously, as when God is referred to as a father, shepherd, or fountain. More difficult to classify are descriptions of God as good, personal, knowing, omnipresent, and creative.
Relationship between religion and science
Heated philosophical and theological disputes centre on unpacking the meaning of such descriptions, disputes that are often carried out with the use of thought experiments. In thought experiments, hypothetical cases are described—cases that may or may not represent the way things are. In these descriptions, terms normally used in one context are employed in expanded settings.
Thus, in thinking of God as omniscient, one might begin with a non-controversial case of a person knowing that a proposition is true, taking note of what it means for someone to possess that knowledge and of the ways in which the knowledge is secured.
A theistic thought experiment would seek to extend our understanding of knowledge as we think of it in our own case, working toward the conception of a maximum or supreme intellectual excellence befitting the religious believers' understanding of God.
List of religious ideas in science fiction - Wikipedia
Various degrees of refinement would then be in order, as one speculates not only about the extent of a maximum set of propositions known but also about how these might be known. That is, in attributing omniscience to God, would one thereby claim God knows all truths in a way that is analogous to the way we come to know truths about the world?
Too close an analogy would produce a peculiar picture of God relying upon, for example, induction, sensory evidence, or the testimony of others. Here a medieval distinction comes into play between the res significata what is asserted—for instance, that God knows X and modus significandi the mode or manner in which what is signified is realized or brought about—for instance, how God knows X. We might have a good grasp of what is meant by the claim that a being is omniscient while having little idea of how a being might be so.
Thought experiments aimed at giving some sense to the Divine attribute of omniscience have been advanced by drawing attention to the way we know some things immediately bodily positions, feelings and intentionsand then by extending this, coaxing us into conceiving a being that knows all things about itself and the cosmos immediately see Beaty and Zagzebski for a constructive view, and Blumenfeld in Morris ed.
Philosophers are now more cautious about drawing such inferences as we are increasingly aware of how some features of an imagined state of affairs might be misconceived or overlooked. Even so, it has been argued that if a state of affairs appears to one to be possible after careful reflection, checking it against one's background knowledge in other areas, then there is at least some warrant in judging the state of affairs to be a bona fide possibility Sorensen ; see also Taliaferro and Gendler and Hawthorne Work on the divine attributes has been vast.
To generate a portrait of the literature on divine attributes, consider the issues that arise in reflection on omniscience, eternity, and goodness. If God does know you will freely do some act X, then it is true that you will indeed do X. But if you are free, would you not be free to avoid doing X? Given that it is foreknown you will do X, it appears you would not be free to refrain from the act. Initially this paradox seems easy to dispel. If God knows about your free action, then God knows that you will freely do something and that you could have refrained from it.
God's foreknowing the act does not make it necessary. After all, it is necessarily the case that if I know you are reading this entry right now, then it follows that you are reading this entry, but your reading this entry may still be seen as a contingent state of affairs.
But the problem is not so easily diffused, however, because if God does infallibly know that some state of affairs obtains then it cannot be that the state of affairs does not obtain.
Think of what is sometimes called the necessity of the past.
Once a state of affairs has obtained, it is unalterably or necessarily the case that it did occur. If the future is known precisely and comprehensively, isn't the future like the past, necessarily or unalterably the case? If the problem is put in first-person terms and one imagines God foreknows you will freely turn to a different entry in this Encyclopedia moreover, God knows with unsurpassable precision when you will do so, which entry you will select and what you will think about itthen an easy resolution of the paradox seems elusive.
To highlight the nature of this problem imagine God tells you what you will freely do in the next hour. Under such conditions, is it still intelligible to believe you have the ability to do otherwise if it is known by God as well as yourself what you will indeed elect to do?
The psychology behind religious belief
Self-foreknowledge, then, produces an additional related problem because the psychology of choice seems to require prior ignorance about what we will choose. Various replies to the freedom-foreknowledge debate have been given.
Some adopt compatibilism, affirming the compatibility of free will and determinism, and conclude that foreknowledge is no more threatening to freedom than determinism. While some prominent philosophical theists in the past have taken this route most dramatically Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth centurythis seems to be the minority position in philosophy of religion today exceptions include Paul Helm and Lynne Baker.
A second position adheres to the libertarian outlook, which insists that freedom involves a radical, indeterminist exercise of power, and concludes that God cannot know future free action.
What prevents such philosophers from denying that God is omniscient is that they contend there are no truths about future free actions, or that while there are truths about the future, God freely decides not to know them in order to preserve free choice. On the first view, prior to someone's doing a free action, there is no fact of the matter that he or she will do a given act. This is in keeping with a traditional, but controversial, interpretation of Aristotle's philosophy of time and truth.
Aristotle may have thought it was neither true nor false prior to a given sea battle whether a given side would win it. Some theists, such as Richard Swinburne, adopt this line today, holding that the future cannot be known.
If it cannot be known for metaphysical reasons, then omniscience can be analyzed as knowing all that it is possible to know. That God cannot know future free action is no more of a mark against God's being omniscient than God's inability to make square circles is a mark against God's being omnipotent. Other philosophers deny the original paradox. They insist that God's foreknowledge is compatible with libertarian freedom and seek to resolve the quandary by claiming that God is not bound in time God does not so much foreknow the future as God knows what for us is the future from an eternal viewpoint and by arguing that the unique vantage point of an omniscient God prevents any impingement on freedom.
God can simply know the future without this having to be grounded on an established, determinate future. But this only works if there is no necessity of eternity analogous to the necessity of the past.
Why think that we have any more control over God's timeless belief than over God's past belief? If not, then there is an exactly parallel dilemma of timeless knowledge.
For outstanding current analysis of freedom and foreknowledge, see the work of Linda Zagzebski. In the great monotheistic traditions, God is thought of as without any kind of beginning or end.
God will never, indeed, can never, cease to be. Some philosophical theists hold that God's temporality is very much like ours in the sense that there is a before, during, and an after for God, or a past, present, and future for God.
This view is sometimes referred to as the thesis that God is everlasting. This is sometimes called the view that God is eternal as opposed to everlasting. Why adopt the more radical stance? One reason, already noted, is that if God is not temporally bound, there may be a resolution to the earlier problem of reconciling freedom and foreknowledge.
As Augustine put it: If God is outside time, there may also be a secure foundation explaining God's immutability changelessnessincorruptibility, and immortality. Furthermore, there may be an opportunity to use God's standing outside of time to launch an argument that God is the creator of time.
Those affirming God to be unbounded by temporal sequences face several puzzles which I note without trying to settle. If God is somehow at or in all times, is God simultaneously at or in each?
If so, there is the following problem. If God is simultaneous with the event of Rome burning inand also simultaneous with your reading this entry, then it seems that Rome must be burning at the same time you are reading this entry.
This problem was advanced by Nelson Pike; Stump and Kretzmann have replied that the simultaneity involved in God's eternal knowledge is not transitive. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.
Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?
I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: This is the very word used by the emperor: Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.
John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time.
The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and simply asserts being, "I am", already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates' attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands cf.
Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.
Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria - the Septuagint - is more than a simple and in that sense really less than satisfactory translation of the Hebrew text: From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act "with logos" is contrary to God's nature.
In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which, in its later developments, led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata.
Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazm and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness.
God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which - as the Fourth Lateran Council in stated - unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language.
God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love, as Saint Paul says, "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone cf. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe.
We can also express this the other way around: The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity - a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the programme of dehellenization: Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought.
As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself.
When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this programme forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.
The liberal theology of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this programme was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal's distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In my inaugural lecture at Bonn inI tried to address the issue,  and I do not intend to repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization.
Harnack's central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: