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    • Dutch Catholics have re-branded the Lent fast as the "Christian Ramadan" in  an attempt to appeal to young people who are more likely to know about Islam  than Christianity.

    • In traditional Christianity, the ennobling of human nature takes place because  of Christ's Incarnation; in Marxism, the State takes His place. Marxism  offers a theory of sin (private property) and salvation (collective ownership),  a church that dispenses grace (the State, as administered by the vanguard of the  proletariat), and a litany of saints and sinners. (Of course, it was far more  violent than even the worst of the excesses of the Inquisition.)
    • A great danger of all religious ideas is their tendency  to be employed for political purposes, a tendency which always introduces an  element of distortion. If this is true for Catholic doctrine generally—and the  sometimes-sordid history of the temporal power of the Church certainly  demonstrates that it is—it is all the more true of the church's social teaching.  Because it is necessarily addressed to issues of civic obligation and its  relationship to personal ethics, social teaching is especially vulnerable to  political manipulation, even if the magisterial texts that concern this topic  emphasize again and again that Church is not attempting to push a particular  political agenda, valid for all times and places.
    • The difference between Christianity and atheism  turns out to be just the opposite of what atheists have understood it to  be.  Christianity is not trust in the irrational while atheism  is trust in reason.  Rather, Christianity represents an  ultimate rationalism, while atheism represents an ultimate  irrationalism.  In the atheist worldview, rationality and  ethics are the anomalies that require explanation.  In the  Christian worldview, irrationalism and evil are the anomalies.   At the very least, atheism, not Christianity, has the up-hill battle in  explaining how the existence of human rationality makes sense in their  worldview.  But the atheist’s ultimate explanation for  anything can be only one thing, the irrational.  Therefore, in  terms of the atheist worldview there can never really be a rational explanation  for anything. On the basis of the wholly irrational the existence of rationality  cannot be rationally explained.  Cornelius Van Til offers a  vivid description of the futility of atheism’s attempt to explain human  rationality by an appeal to the non-rational:
    • Put in historical context, we see in Van Til the confluence of two great streams of Christian  thought: the apologetic tradition that seeks to establish as beyond question the  truth of Christianity and the epistemological tradition that subjugates man's  intellect to God's revelation.   Secularists and even many Christians have rejected this synthesis as  impossible.  Such critics maintain  that either Christianity must be based on faith to the exclusion of reason or  Christianity must be tested by the deliverances of reasons in order to establish  its truth.  Van Til showed that only on the basis of faith can there be  reason (credo ut intelligentum).  In thus combining a biblical, Reformed  epistemology together with a non-compromising apologetic argument, Van Til brought about a "Copernican Revolution" in Christian  thought.


      Over the years, however, Van Til's  revolutionary thought has been subjected to criticism from many quarters.  As a seminal thinker Van Til concentrated on the major components of apologetic  system, but neglected to develop and elucidate a number of its more intricate  features.  Consequently, Van Til bequeathed the task of tying together the loose ends of  his system to his followers.

    • The one criticism that perhaps disturbed Van Til the most was that of G. C. Berkouwer.[8]  Berkouwer  notes, with a good deal of irony, that although Van Til claims to have arrived at his apologetic system from the  Bible itself, there is a conspicuous absence of biblical exegesis in his  writings.  To this charge Van Til readily confessed: "This is a defect.  The lack of detailed scriptural exegesis  is a lack in all of my writings.  I  have no excuse for this."[9]  He later added, "¼ I  would like to be more exegetical than I have been.  Dr. G. C. Berkouwer was right in pointing out my weakness on this  point."[10]

    1 more annotation...

    • Indeed, the New Testament is full of historical-theological exposition,  particularly in the books of Acts and Hebrews as well as the gospel accounts,  about how Jesus Christ fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies related to  the Messiah. Simply put, whether you believe Christian claims or not, the  apostolic preaching of the early Church was not based on folklore or myth but a  systematic understanding of Hebrew Scripture as testifying to the person and  redemptive work of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah.

    • The origins of the scientific revolution in the European can be traced to the  re-discovery of Aristotle in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Originally,  Aristotle based knowledge on a kind of empiricism: he would investigate a  question by a) examining what everyone else had said about the matter, b) making  several observations, and finally, c) deriving either general or probable  principles on the matter from both a and b. This method of thinking, which is  the theoretical origin of empirical thought, formed the rudiments of a  new revolution in human thinking.


        . Learning (1:13-18)


        II. Pleasure (Wine and mirth) (2:1-3)


        III. Great accomplishments ("A legacy of achievement") (2:4-17)


        IV. Hard work and financial reward ("A successful career") (2:18-23, 4:4-12,  6:7-8)


        V. Popularity and Fame (4:13-16)


        VI. Wealth (5:8-6:2)


        VII. Family (6:3-6)


        VIII. Anticipation of the Future ("A dreamer") (6:9-12)


        The second half of the book begins giving answers. After exhausting all the  available avenues of pleasure or fulfillment available on this earth, Solomon  begins the second half of the book by explaining such things on the earth as  can bring some peace into life. While not ends in themselves, and while  not the ultimate goal or purpose of existence, his advice throughout most of the  rest of the book is practical and true, and tends to help greatly in leading a  contented life.

        1. Wisdom and folly contrasted in a variety of ways (7:1-14)  
        2. Moderation in all things (7:15-18)  
        3. Don't set yourself up to resist authority (8:1-9)  
        4. Accept that there are things we will not understand or know (8:10-17)  
        5. All men come to the same end (death) (9:1-6)  
        6. Enjoy the good things in life. Live it to its fullest. (9:7-12)  
        7. Seek wisdom for its own sake, not for glory. (9:13-18)  
        8. Be liberal in business (11:1-6)  
        9. Enjoy your youth while you are young (11:7-10)  
        10. Don't waste opportunities to serve God (12:1-8)
    • So what's depressing? Only if you wanted deeply to find fulfillment in  physical things should this conclusion make you sad. In fact, we should actually  feel relieved when we read Ecclesiastes. It should be a joyful thing to us. If  happiness could only be found in completely indulging all of our heart's desires  on this earth, how many of us could ever hope to be truly happy? Which of us can  do what Solomon was able to, and indulge every one of his whims?

    • The fundamental principle is that religious feeling, the sense of absolute  dependence on God as communicated by Jesus  through the church, and not the creeds or the letter of Scripture or the  rationalistic understanding, is the source and law of dogmatic theology. The  work is therefore simply a description of the facts of religious feeling, or of  the inner life of the soul in its relations to God, and these inward facts are  looked at in the various stages of their development and presented in their  systematic connection. The aim of the work was to reform Protestant theology by  means of the fundamental ideas of the Reden, to put an end to the unreason and  superficiality of both supernaturalism and rationalism, and to deliver religion and theology from a relation of dependence on perpetually  changing systems of philosophy.
    • 19. Dogmatic Theology is the science which systematizes the doctrine prevalent  in a Christian Church at a given time
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