Kung and Edwards an Analysis of Theology Essay

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Kung and Edwards

An Analysis of Theology in Dennis Edwards' Ecology at the Heart of Faith and Hans Kung's a Global Ethic

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Faith in the modern world is dissimilar from that which existed in the medieval age of faith, when Church doctrine was preached and understood; when such a thing as heresy existed and was feared; when nations were united under one religion -- one faith. Today, the desire for unity is no less -- but it is no more founded upon the desire for truth; rather, it is founded upon the desire that everyone unite together under the faith of a new global ethic -- a global religion that unites believers and non-believers alike: "We invite all people, whether religious or not, to…commit to this global ethic" (Kung, 1993, p. 14). What united the nations of Christendom -- Christ and the Church -- was shattered with the Peace of Westphalia and the age of Enlightenment. While the world has found less and less reason to unite itself to Christ, it has not, however, found less and less reason to unite itself to the new Enlightenment and the new Romance, based on "social and economic order, in which everyone has an equal chance to reach full potential as a human being" (Kung, 1993, p. 15). The new global order is based, in a sense, on the Liberation Theology of the 20th century -- which grew out of the social unrest in the Latin American countries -- much in the same way "magical realism" has grown and spread (Faris, 2004, p. 2). The nature of this new theology is found in Dennis Edwards' Ecology at the Heart of Faith and in Hans Kung's A Global Ethic. This paper will analyze how the authors have arrived at their theological positions in light of the following key elements of theology: the Theological Method, the Dynamic of Faith/Revelation, the Use of Scripture, and the Religious Symbol.

Edwards' Ecology at the Heart of Faith

Theological Method

Essay on Kung and Edwards an Analysis of Theology Assignment

The social location of Dennis Edwards (2001) is no different from that of Kung or the other Liberation Theologians -- although Edwards defines his theology as ecological. His position is one that asserts social, economic, and political primacy over the spiritual by disabusing the world's religions of their uniqueness and uniting them all under the roof of a new idea, expressed in the unification of "the idea of Goad as communion, the theology of perichoresis, and the contemporary retrieval of the Trinity as a liberating doctrine" (p. 66). Thus, Edwards can stipulate that one accept the fact that "Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same Creator God, the one God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Moses, the God of Jesus, and the God of Muhammad" (p. 66), when the fact of the matter is that they simply do not. It is a gross sweeping away of all distinctions that allows Edwards to draw such a conclusion in the name of the new global ethic. Edwards uses Scripture, of course, to show how Jesus Himself is not against a global ethic -- just so long as that global ethic does not insist on the primacy of Jesus Christ as Savior: the new nameless "Spirit" is the Spirit at the heart of the Global Ethic: "They experienced the Holy Spirit as the life-giving, energizing presence of God, as the one who had formed theme into the church of Jesus Christ and who had been poured out upon each as the power of resurrection life, making them children of God and enabling them to address God as Abba (Rom 8:15)" (p. 67). Thus, Edwards establishes the authoritative grounds for the Ethic.

Edwards' method, audience, and goals are easily discernible -- by promoting syncretism he forms a new religion; the audience is everyone of our global society who has little to no prejudice or doctrinal beliefs; and the goal is to convert all to a religion-based singularly on the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity -- ideals which, both Edwards and Kung prove, are not dead.

Dynamic of Faith/Revelation

Edwards conceals the fact that faith is based upon reason. His illogical appeal to syncretism is a fanciful depreciation of medieval scholasticism. Instead, Edwards takes a subjective approach to Revelation -- disregarding the fact that Scripture, as gathered and made official by the early Church, which reserved the sole right of authority over its interpretation. Thus, Edwards can make such claims as this (quoting an excellent source for those who seek to depart from traditional doctrine -- Karl Rahner): "Rahner speaks of a central task of Christian theology as guarding the docta ignorantia future (the 'learned unknowing' of the future). With this expression, he insists that the critical role of theology is to resist closure with regard to the future" (p. 89). Never mind the fact that, according to Church teaching, the deposit of faith shall have nothing added to it. Both Rahner and Edwards are proposing that a new religion show come along to replace Christianity, just as Christianity replaced Judaism. The new religion, of course, is of their own making: the Global Ethic -- which officially dethrones Christ, who was, essentially, dethroned already some centuries ago when Protestantism shattered Europe.

Use of Scripture

Edwards' understanding, therefore, of Scripture is the Church has no authoritative interpretation of it whatsoever. By using Rahner as his source of inspiration (a devoted modernist, much enamored of Vatican II theology which is dualistic and distinctly departing from traditional eschatology), Edwards shows his own reluctance to give much credibility to Jesus as Head of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Edwards gives credence to the belief that what Jesus really intended was that, through the evolution of mankind's spirituality -- through the historical journey that generations had to experience -- humankind is now ready to develop a new theology, one that -- as Jesus would allow -- puts our faith in liberty, fraternity, and equality. Because Jesus was meek and humble of heart and loved the poor, Edwards concludes that Liberation Theology is the key to mankind's happiness: "The way of wisdom involves praxis -- the combination of active engagement and ongoing reflection that is at the heart of all liberation theology. Conversion to the Earth, to solidarity with the creatures that make up our planetary community, must involve action" (p. 112). This action, of course, is the overthrow of the Church.

Religious Symbol

Of course, to do so Edwards must retain Christ as a religious symbol -- as, in fact, the raison d'etre of his new theology: Christ is the Omega Man -- the Teilhard de Chardin cosmonaut. According to Malachi Martin (1987), however, "Teilhard de Chardin knew he was not talking about anything remotely similar to traditional church doctrine; that was in part why he had to invent his complex and idiosyncratic vocabulary" (p. 311). The new vocabulary supplied Liberation Theologians a way to reshape Jesus into their own religious symbol: "The appealing and even convincing sleight-of-hand here consisted of giving the Biblical term poor the same meaning as Marx and Marxists had given to the term proletariat" (Martin, 1987, p.311). Thus, Edwards creates a new symbol for his new religion by using the old symbol of Christianity and giving it a new meaning.

Kung's A Global Ethic

Theological Method

Kung's theological method is no different from Edwards: it is, however, more pronounced. It immediately asserts unity over truth, displacing the world's doctrines for syncretism -- attempting to draw people of different faiths into a new faith based on the ideals of the French Revolution. His social location is a cemented in social equality as Edwards: "Our world is experiencing a fundamental crisis: a crisis in global economy, global ecology, and global politics. The lack of a grand vision, the tangle of unresolved problems, political paralysis, mediocre political leadership with little insight or foresight, and in general too little sense for the commonweal are seen everywhere. Too many old answers to new challenges" (p. 17). The grand vision that Kung proposes is the new religion of the Global Ethic. It is not, at any rate, the grand vision of old -- Jesus Christ. In fact, Kung, unlike Edwards will make very little attempt to reach his target audience through appeal to Christ -- Christ is yesterday's God; today's is yet to be determined.

Dynamic of Faith/Revelation

Kung places no emphasis upon faith in Divine Revelation: Divine Revelation has been discounted by the Age of Social Science: Kung, instead, appeals to the idea of committing "to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women" (p. 32). This new partnership will not be based on the doctrines of Christ -- for Christ founded just one religion and the world contains many -- therefore, basing it on Christ would make it to exclusive, and Kung wishes to embrace all people of all theologies. He is like Romulus opening the gates of Rome to all the outcasts of other societies so that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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