De Civitate Dei

Luke Pigott's Blog

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Philosophy..Theology

One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot about and engaging in my Theology classes is the relation between Philosophy and Theology. It has forced me to consider the subject more deeply. Ultimately, it seems that what it comes down to is the end of the various studies, for instance: the end of science is the study and documentation of the observable universe (or so my liberal arts brain seems to think that’s what it is haha…sorry if I butchered it), the end of psychology would be the study and documentation of the human psyche, etc. 

As such, Theology seeks to study the observable, or perhaps better said, “knowable” (in a sense at least) aspects of God, and all that pertains to Him, and since God, by nature, would have to be the “unmoved mover,” it logically follows that He is the creator and ultimate end of all things. The very practice that makes this even possible at all is the presupposition of “sacra doctrina,” or sacred teaching, i.e. scripture, which Aquinas views as the “principles” that are originated in God, i.e. the foundation of theology as a “science,” in the sense that in a medieval sense, music was a science that received it’s principles from arithmetic. I wish not to enter into thoughts on Christian apologetics or appeals to the previously written documentations of natural theology to denote why this first principle can be seen as acceptable to me or others. It’s neither here nor there haha….and I offer no original thoughts on that other than to recite what resonated with me beforehand. 

Alas, back to philosophy, whose end seems to be the study and attempt at dissection of ontology/existence. Being as Christians believe man to be made in the image of God, philosophical ideas are fairly central to our discussions, since they relay further revelation or depth at least into the perception of the nature of man. The general Theological view seems to be that Philosophy helps to clarify Theological concepts, and since Theology deals with all things in existence, it has to dialog with all the other disciplines as well, which is why you’ll commonly read of a “Theological Anthropology,” etc. 

I guess what I’m currently contemplating is some of my extra reading in philosophy I’ve been trying to do to catch up on this a little bit, and I haven’t done much…just kind of a bit of a survey, if you will, and trying to relate them to their respective theologians where applicable. Augustine had neoplatonism, Aquinas had Aristotle, Kierkegaard and some others seem to have been pioneers in philosophy and brought that into their own theology (in this case, namely, existentialism), Karl Barth responded to Hegel’s philosophy via it’s influence on the German protestant liberal school from which he emerged to critique. 

I bet you’re wondering what my point in all of this is. Oddly enough, it’s quite simply an observation. People used to respond to each others’ ideas and consider them for themselves in philosophy, and theology enjoyed a dialog with the philosophers and other theologians throughout this process. However, it seems that trend has completely ceased with the postmodern era. I may be incorrect in this, and for sure, theologians are responding in a legion of ways, but philosophical progress and examination seems to have fallen to the wayside. The only postmodern philosophers I can even recall are Lyotard and, perhaps, Foucault. 

The discussion has turned to the era itself. Philosophers speak of humanity as the collective “we” living in “the postmodern age.” The idea of no metanarratives (which has become itself a metanarrative) seems to have taken such pertinence to the thinkers that this age is all that is now discussed. In response to the alleged horrors of the ethnocentric modernism, postmodern thinkers seem to have snubbed their nose so fully that they have fully disappeared into their own respective sphincters. 

Kalle Lasn: “Post-modernism is arguably the most depressing philosophy ever to spring from the western mind. It is difficult to talk about post-modernism because nobody really understands it. It’s allusive to the point of being impossible to articulate. But what this philosophy basically says is that we’ve reached an endpoint in human history. That the modernist tradition of progress and ceaseless extension of the frontiers of innovation are now dead. Originality is dead. The avant-garde artistic tradition is dead. All religions and utopian visions are dead and resistance to the status quo is impossible because revolution too is now dead. Like it or not, we humans are stuck in a permanent crisis of meaning, a dark room from which we can never escape.” 

This is, indeed, a hard world for the Theologian to engage, but perhaps, in a sense, this analysis rings true with the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” 

What seems to be missing from the picture here (and I am biased obviously) is revelation from God, not that it isn’t there, but it isn’t sought. Also, there’s no denying the Church also has to take some responsibility here for letting fall by the wayside perhaps what is most important, in light of temporary political power or other various idols. Lord, forgive us. My hope is that one day, the decentralization of Western centrality will truly occur (as postmodernism itself is, essentially, a western idea about western culture) but relativism will, once again, be rejected so that all cultures and traditions will be able to dialog with each other in pursuit of actual truth. At least that…philosophically, seems like a better idea to me haha. What I really hope for above all things is the dwelling of Christ in His church to enable us to do so much more good in the world for Himself.

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flannelanimal:

I’ve been thinking lately about what kind of illustrator I want to be, asking myself if I’m at the right place or making the right steps towards reaching goals.  I know that my future isn’t in paper dolls, and I don’t think I have the gift of produce stunning work that would grace magazines or books.  But I do love making images that tell stories.
/
Picking up my copy of Essex County and writing about it a few posts ago kind of spurred me into thinking about a story I was writing this time last year.  I had spent at least a year building the characters on paper, and putting together storylines, planning what I thought would be a graphic novel one day.  I had the first storyline fully written and 90% drawn, and for some reason I got discouraged and dropped the whole thing.  It meant a lot to me, so I don’t know how I was able to drop it so abruptly, or why.  But last week, I took a look at it again - the first time in a year - and everything came rushing back.  I remembered why it meant so much to me, and the vision I had for it.   So I sat down and wrote a second storyline, and I’m making plans to really focus on it again. I don’t quite know how I’ll fund it (maybe soon I can start a Kickstarter), but when I’m not working on paying projects, all of my time will go to this.  Something that’s completely and fully my own work.  That’s the kind of thing my soul needs right now.  The paper doll stuff is fun, but man oh man do I not want to be a guy chasing an internet fad.  And the best part is, every now and then I can have a full issue’s worth of a story that I can actually share with people.  As soon as I get the first storyline done, I’m going to post it here and see what you guys think.

flannelanimal:

I’ve been thinking lately about what kind of illustrator I want to be, asking myself if I’m at the right place or making the right steps towards reaching goals.  I know that my future isn’t in paper dolls, and I don’t think I have the gift of produce stunning work that would grace magazines or books.  But I do love making images that tell stories.

/

Picking up my copy of Essex County and writing about it a few posts ago kind of spurred me into thinking about a story I was writing this time last year.  I had spent at least a year building the characters on paper, and putting together storylines, planning what I thought would be a graphic novel one day.  I had the first storyline fully written and 90% drawn, and for some reason I got discouraged and dropped the whole thing.  It meant a lot to me, so I don’t know how I was able to drop it so abruptly, or why.  But last week, I took a look at it again - the first time in a year - and everything came rushing back.  I remembered why it meant so much to me, and the vision I had for it.   So I sat down and wrote a second storyline, and I’m making plans to really focus on it again. I don’t quite know how I’ll fund it (maybe soon I can start a Kickstarter), but when I’m not working on paying projects, all of my time will go to this.  Something that’s completely and fully my own work.  That’s the kind of thing my soul needs right now.  The paper doll stuff is fun, but man oh man do I not want to be a guy chasing an internet fad.  And the best part is, every now and then I can have a full issue’s worth of a story that I can actually share with people.  As soon as I get the first storyline done, I’m going to post it here and see what you guys think.

(Source: kylehiltonillustration)

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My bandcamp

I made a bandcamp. There you’ll find an “EP” of music from Petit Gulf Cotton, Codie and Josie Band, Ellephare, and my solo stuff available for free or whatever you want to pay. It’s a sampler to expose folks to the great guys/gals I’ve worked with and upcoming CDs you should definitely buy/support. Any money donated will assist my poor self in buying taco bell. :)