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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, February 17, 2012

Religion, or Professed Lack Thereof

From Herman Bavinck:

"Religion as the relation to God indicates the place in which human beings stand in relation to all other creatures.  It embraces dogma, law, and cult and is therefore closely connected with science, morality, and art.  It encompasses the whole person in his or her thinking, feeling, and action, in the whole of his or her life, everywhere and at all times.  Nothings falls outside of its scope.

"Religion extends its power over the whole person, or all of humanity, over family and society and state.  It isthe foundation of the true, the good, and the beautiful.  It introduces unity, coherence, and life into the world and its history.  From it science, morality, and art derive their origin; to it they return and find rest.  'All the higher elements of human life first surfaced in alliance with religion.' It is the beginning and the end, the soul of everything, that which is highest and deepest in life.  What God is to the world, religion is to humanity.

"Nevertheless, religion is distinguished from all the forces of culture and maintains its independence from them all.  Religion is central; science, morality, and art are partial.  While religion embraces the whole person, science, morality, and art are respectively rooted in the intellect, the will, and the emotions.  Religion aims at nothing less than eternal blessedness in fellowship with God; science, morality, and art are limited to creatures and seek to enrich this life with the true, the good, and the beautiful.

"Religion, accordingly, cannot be equated with anything else.  In the life and history of humankind, it occupies an independent place of its own, playing a unique and all-controlling role.  Its indispensability can even be demonstrated from the fact that at the very moment people reject religion as an illusion they again turn some creature into their god, thus seeking to compensate for their religious need in some other way."

-from Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. I.  p.268,9.    Paragraph divisions have been altered.
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