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基督教思想史 – 序章﹕教義的慨念

六月開始我參加了基文會舉辦﹐為期約半年多的網上閱讀小組。這次閱讀的書藉如以往一樣﹐皆是艱深的學術著作﹐今回讀神學大師田立克(Paul Tillich)的基督教思想史(A History of Christian Thought)。這部書是田立克在芝加哥大學的講義收編而成﹐很有系統地從早期教會開始﹐整理各家各派的神學論說﹐讓讀者明白今天的基督教是從何而來。依照平常我的閱讀習慣﹐是看完整本書後才寫篇讀後感。不過這本巨著的內容甚廣博湛深﹐恐怕半年後我己忘記很多讀過的知識。雖說只是組上閱讀小組﹐但有不少博士級的前輩帶頭討論﹐學習程度可以比媲大學的遙距課程。我想比較認真地讀這本書﹐不想水過鴨背看完便忘記了﹐所以我決定整理閱好每個星期讀筆記﹐一來可以幫助自己溫習﹐二來可以和來這裏的朋友分享閱讀心得。

序章是全書的簡介﹐教義(dogma)的慨念。說起教義或教條﹐一般人會對此有負面反應。認為教義是死板板﹐與生活脫節﹐教徒盲目地守著的過時規矩。其實教義(dogma)一字是源於希臘文dokein一字﹐是指思考﹐想像和意見的立場。中世紀黑暗年代政教合一﹐教會用政治手段以教條迫害異己﹐才造成啟蒙年代以後的人對教條的反感。

田立克用把從功用的角度去解釋教條﹐教條只不過是用來分辨教派之間信仰的不同。若沒有教條的話﹐人們就不能分辨不同的宗教或教派。從廣義的角度來說﹐不單只宗教﹐每一個哲學學派也是一套教條。基督教中也有很多不同的教義﹐教義本身也隨著歷史不停在變遷。教義並不是像十戒一樣﹐神給摩西刻了在石上後就不曾改變﹐而是經由歷代神學家不停發展。

教條的產生是因為教會內部有爭議﹐必須一錐定音統一口徑才確立教條。所以從歷史的角度上看﹐每一條教條也是在否定某一個想法﹐用來保障教會信仰的一致性。田立克認為教徒可以在接受教條的同時質疑教條﹐對教條從來不質疑只是盲目的信仰。透過對教條的質疑﹐才可以認識教條確立的原意﹐我們才能夠尋找到自己信仰的身份。

若果從純學術的考古社會學的角度去看﹐教條的定義只就是用來把教徒分類。但是若從神學的角度去看﹐把不同教派互相不乎的教條並列的話﹐田立克並沒有告訴我們應該 信那一套教條。這本書 的主旨只客觀陳述教義的來龍去脈﹐並不對每一教條強加形而上的對錯判斷﹐不知會不會變成教條相對主義呢﹖

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2 comments to 基督教思想史 – 序章﹕教義的慨念

  • Cecilia

    Dogma doesn’t change over time. It evolves. That means the fundamental of the dogmas does not change. The Church elaborates and brings them to fullness over time. When new issues arises, say abortion, the Church hold councils to clarify that it is wrong basing on the fifth commandments that one shalt not kill.

    When the Church defines a dogma, its purpose is to avoid further doubt and controversy. For example, before the dogma of Immaculate Conception was defined, it was already a truth. It was just that too many people argued about it then the Church decided to confirm this dogma so that no further discussion was needed. Therefore, there is no room for further thoughts on dogmas. When a dogma is defined, the faithfuls are obliged to believe; otherwise excommunication will be incurred. This is not blind faith. If everyone freely uses their private interpretation on dogmas, there will be no religion rather every individual is a religion. The Magisterium teaches us with her authority through the fact that the Church is guided by the Holy Ghost and the infallibility of the Pope on faith and moral. Therefore, Dogmas are infallible because they are defined using the infallible authority of the Church.

    But, if it’s just general teachings (not Dogma) of the Church, faithful can judge whether to follow it or not based on the infallible teachings of the Magisterium. For example, if the Church suddenly says it’s ok not to go to Mass on Sunday, faithful can choose not to follow because it is against the Teaching of the Church throughout her history. Nevertheless, we, as faithful, cannot make our own dogma.

  • Here is a paradox: the infallible authority of the Church itself is a dogma.

    It is no doubt that if there is no dogma, there is no religion. The problem is what to do if there are two sets of conflicting dogma. Or two religion with conflicting dogmas claiming for the same “Truth”.

    Paul Tillich’s point on dogma is that a dogma arise only when some point is challenged. The dogma of Immaculate Conception is an answer to the religion revolution, as we will see in later cheaper.

    Here is another paradox, if dogma is Truth discovered, why can’t a lay person (given that he is faithful and knowledgeable) make new dogma through new discovery in theology?

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