procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

i believe in God

a common statement indeed.
the question the christian asks is then: which god? or perhaps: what do you mean you believe in god - are you a christian?

Karl Barth in Dogmatik im GrundriƟ says that when Christians say: i believe in (on) God, they mean to say i believe in (on) the Lord Jesus Christ.*

firstly, i wonder how this might work apologetically. imagine a conversation with a non-Christian:
NC: yeah i believe in God
you: oh right, so you believe in Jesus?
NC: um i dunno about Jesus, i mean i believe he existed and stuff...
you: i guess my point is that to say you believe in God is to say that you believe that God reveals himself, that he doesn't want to remain a mystery, but wants to be known, and that God has made himself known is in the man Jesus, who incidentally, said that he was the only way to know the Father, that is, God.

i guess where you go then is to say that for someone to believe in an abstract idea of 'God' is simply that: abstract. but the way Barth so simply puts it makes it 'konkret', a statement of fact that must be engaged with.

worth a try, anyway!

*Und wenn wir sagen, ich glaube an Gott, so heisst das konkret: ich glaube an den Herrn Jesus Christus. the german isn't in (in) but an (on). it makes logical sense but not grammatical. hence my brackets.

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Anonymous steph said...

I wasn't aware that all Christians took that very Johannine view of God - necessarily believing that Jesus incidentally said that at all.

8:08 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

hi steph
i'm not sure what's behind your comment...
are you questioning whether it is right to believe john's gospel is a word-for-word account of what jesus said - the exact words (allowing of course for any translation that occurred) - then i guess that would be a pretty hard argument to maintain - although if your question is a historical one, then yes, many christians do believe that jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
complete with thees, thous and comeths.

but do i believe that if you asked jesus, 'look - john reckons you said you're the only way to God. is he right?', then i think jesus would have said yes, i think all those who saw him and heard him would have said yes, i think those who saw the disciples, and saw the degree to which they were convinced that Jesus said that, they too would say yes, Jesus did say that. those who wanted him killed for blasphemy probably believed he said something of the kind.

if you would like to elaborate on your question a little further (if i've got your question wrong), go nuts! (it's the interweb after all!)

11:15 pm  
Anonymous steph said...

I accept that you believe that but I don't think all Christians believe Jesus would have said that, while still believing the Jesus was the messiah.

11:38 pm  
Blogger byron smith said...

Not sure Barth would have cared how it works apologetically, since he thought apologetics was an exercise in unbelief... :-)

4:24 am  
Blogger psychodougie said...

Hi Byron - you're showing up my lack of reading of Barth.
tho i guess you're not anti-apologetics - do you like my extrapolation of Barth's idea here as an apologetic approach?

11:53 am  
Blogger byron smith said...

No, I'm not against apolgetics per se (although I think that it is possible to pursue apologetics in ways that undermine faith), nor do I think that Barth would be against your attempt here. He would probably just call it proclamation instead of apologetics.

As for whether this idea is any good, have you tried it?

7:23 pm  

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