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Lecture 10

THL 1000 Lecture 10: THL 10

Theology & Religious Studies
Course Code
THL 1000
Timothy Hanchin

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THL 1000
Dr. Hanchin
Miroslav Volf, “Theology for a Way of Life” in Practicing Theology, 245-263
Class Discussion Notes:
“At the heart of every good theology lies not simply a plausible intellectual vision but more
importantly a compelling account of a way of life, and that theology is therefore best done from
within the pursuit of this way of life” (247)
“Christian beliefs as beliefs entail practical commitments. These commitments may need to be
explicated as to become clear, or they may need to be connected to specific issues in concreate
situations, but they don’t need to be added to the beliefs; they inhere in beliefs” (254)
“The Christian faith is not primarily about human doing but receiving. The barebones formal
injunction to which the gospel can be reduced is, ‘Receive yourself and your world as a new
creation.” (254)
“By being attracted to and habituated in a set of practices, (Christians) have embraced the set of
beliefs that sustain these practices and that are inscribed to them” (256)
“Right practices well practiced are likely to open persons for insights into beliefs to which they
would otherwise be closed” (257)
“Christian beliefs normatively shape Christian practices, and engaging in practices can lead to
acceptance of deeper understanding of belief” (258)
“As the highest good, God matters for God’s own sake, not for the sake of a preferred way of
life. Since we identify who God is through beliefs- primarily through the canonical witness to
divine self-revelation – adequate beliefs about God cannot be ultimately grounded in a way of
life; a way of life must be grounded in adequate beliefs about God” (260)
Substantive Points:
Miroslav believes that beliefs
shape practices. He talks
about how Christian beliefs
“entail practical
commitments” however he
explains that these
commitments aren’t added to
the beliefs but rather “inhere”
them. He then explains how
engaging in the practices,
after you have the beliefs,
gives you deeper
understanding or acceptance
of that belief, but is not what
the belief stems from since it
came first.
If someone were to do the
practice first and then fall into
the belief from there, would it
be wrong since the end point
is still the same?
I would disagree with
Miroslav and argue that
practices shape belief because
starting from a young age we
are usually conditioned by
our parents to go to church or
follow their practices, and as
a result we adopt the beliefs
that go with the practices. I
however do not think this is a
bad thing because we
ultimately have the choice
whether or not to accept the
beliefs and so although we
may not start with the right
idea in mind, we ultimately
establish our own personal
beliefs independent of our
parents’ influence.
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