Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Theology

Editor-in-Chief: Taliaferro, Charles

1 Issue per year

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2300-6579
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Theology that Emerges from Cognitive Science: Applied to African Development

Jim Harries
Published Online: 2018-01-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0002

Abstract

Recent developments in cognitive science are here interpreted as an apologetic for Christian theology. Naturalistic faiths are suggested to be dependent on the invention of ‘religion’, and domestication of the foreign through translation. A refusal to accept that a relationship with God is something that develops in the course of reflection, has added to his apparent invisibility. Advocates of embodied thinking who effectively undermine Descartes’ philosophy, open the door to theological reflection. A gender-based exploration reveals that means of predicting the embodied nature of thinking also point to the significance of God. Because human thinking is embodied, God also is perceived by people through his embodied impact - much as is the wind. That correct understanding of God brings human wellbeing, is here suggested to be as true for Africa as for Europe.

Keywords: theology; cognitive science; positivism; naturalism; embodied thinking; atheism; development; Africa; cognitive linguistics

References

  • Almond, Philip, C. The British Discovery of Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.Google Scholar

  • Asad, Talal. ‘The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category.’ In: A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion, edited by Michael Lambeck, 115-132, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Capen, Carole A. Bilingual Dholuo - English Dictionary Kenya. Tucson, Arizona: Carole A. Capen, 1998.Google Scholar

  • Cresswell, James and Rivas, Rodrigo Farias. ‘Cognition, Culture, and Religion: the ontogenetic role of culture and its consequences in the study of religious experiences.’ Open Theology, 2016, 2, 113-132.Google Scholar

  • Cusack, Carole M. ‘Vestigial States: secular space and the churches in contemporary Australia.’ George Shipp Memorial Lecture at the Workers Education Authority (WEA), 72 Bathurst Street, Sydney, 1st October 2015.Google Scholar

  • Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. ‘Brownian Motion.’ Encyclopædia Britannica, 2017, https://www.britannica.com/science/Brownian-motion (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Fauconnier, Gilles and Turner, Mark. The Way We Think: conceptual blending and the mind’s hidden complexities. New York: Basic Books, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Franks, Peter Emanuel. ‘A Warning on the Decay of Social Fabric in South Africa,’ 2005, Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/user-5758807/peter-e-franks-a-warning-on-the-decay-of-social-fabric-in-south-africa (accessed 15.06.17)Google Scholar

  • Gale, Thomson. ‘African Traditional Religions.’ Encyclopedia.com, 2006, http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-traditional-religions (accessed 15/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Georges, Jayson and Baker, Mark, D. Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: biblical foundations and practical essentials. Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘A Linguistic Case for the necessity of Enculturation in Theological and Economic Teaching based on the ‘Shape of Words’: including a case study comparing Sub-Saharan Africa with the West.’ In Jim Harries, Vulnerable Mission; insights into Christian Mission to Africa from a position of vulnerability, 111-128, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘Language in Education, Mission and Development in Africa: Appeals for Local Tongues and Local Contexts.’ In Jim Harries, Vulnerable Mission: insights into Christian Mission to Africa from a position of vulnerability. 239-255, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘African Development and Dependency in the light of Post-Modern Epistemology.’ William Carey International Development Journal, 1(3), Summer 2012, http://www.wciujournal.org/journal/article/african-development-anddependency- in-the-light-of-post-modern-epistemology (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘The Great Delusion: post-colonial language policy for mission and development in Africa reviewed.’ Transformation, an international journal of holistic mission studies, 29:1, January 2012, 44-61.Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are NOT ‘religions’.’ https://www.academia.edu/16011593/Islam_Hinduism_and_Buddhism_are_NOT_religions_ (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘Shadow-boxing: the missionary encounter with Christian theology in world religions’, The Pneuma Review, Journal of Ministry Resources and Theology for Pentecostal and Charismatic Ministries & Leaders, 2016, http://pneumareview.com/shadow-boxing-the-missionary-encounter-with-christian-theology-in-world-religions/ (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. New Foundations for Appreciating Africa: beyond religious and secular deceptions. World of Theology Series 9, World Evangelical Alliance. Bonn: Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘Faith in Christ the Way Forward in African Development’, Association of Christian Economists (UK), Publications, 2017, http://nebula.wsimg.com/bd295ef6488013a2d8e8093f3ea3e79a?AccessKeyId=E117CE44BCF580E0021E&disposition=0&alloworigin=1 (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. ‘Enabling the Majority World to Benefit from ‘Superior’ Western Theology,’ Currents in Theology and Mission, 44:2 (April 2017), 2017, http://currentsjournal.org/index.php/currents/article/view/64/82 (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Harries, Jim. The Godless Delusion. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, (in press).Google Scholar

  • Heiphatz, Larisa & Lane Jonathon D., & Waytz, Adam & Young, Liane, L. ‘How Children and Adults Represent God’s Mind.’ Cognitive Science, January 40:1, 2016, 121-144.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Jakobsen, Janet R., and Pellegrini, Ann. Secularisms. London and Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Keleman, Deborah & Rottman, Joshua & Seston, Rebecca. ‘Professional Physical Scientists Display Tenacious Teleological Tendencies: purpose-based reasoning as a cognitive default.’ Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142:4, 2013, 1074-1083.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, George, and Johnson, Mark. Metaphors we Live By. London: University of Chicago Press, 1980.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, George, and Johnson, Mark. Philosophy in the Flesh: the embodied mind and its challenge to western thought. New York: Basic Books, 1999.Google Scholar

  • Louchakova-Schwartz, Olga. ‘Theophanis the Monk and Monoimus the Arab in a Phenomenological-Cognitive Perspective.’ Open Theology, 2016, 2, 53-58.Google Scholar

  • Mangalwadi, Vishal. The Book that made your World: how the bible created the soul of western civilisation. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Martin, David. On Secularization: towards a revised general theory. London and New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2005.Google Scholar

  • Marty, Martin E. ‘To Bad We’re So relevant: the fundamentalism project projected.’ Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 49:6, 1996, 22-38, http://www.illuminos.com/mem/selectPapers/fundamentalismProject.html (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Masuzawa, Tomoko. The Invention of World Religions: how European universalism was preserved in the language of pluralism. London: University of Chicago Press, 2005.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Moyo, Dambisa. Dead Aid: why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa. London: Allen Lane, Penguin Books, 2010.Google Scholar

  • Musolff, Andreas. ‘Metaphors: sources for intercultural misunderstanding?’ International Journal of Language and Culture, 11, 2014, 42-59.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Myers, Bryant L. Walking with the Poor: principles and practices of transformational development. Revised and updated. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011.Google Scholar

  • “Naturalism,” in Oxford Living Dictionaries. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/naturalism (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Nongbri, Brent. ‘Dislodging “embedded” religion: a brief note on a scholarly trope.’ Numen 55, 2008, 440-460.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Oviedo, Lluis. ‘Religious Cognition as a Dual-process: developing the model.’ Method and Theory in the Study of Religion. 27, 2015, 31-58.Google Scholar

  • “Positivism”, in: Oxford Living Dictionaries. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/positivism (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Reitan, Eric. ‘Moving the Goalposts? The challenge of philosophical engagement with the public God debates.’ Philo, 13:1, Spring-Summer 2010, 80-93.Google Scholar

  • Sanders, John. ‘Podcast on Theology in the Flesh.’ 2016. www.drjohnsanders.com/theology-in-the-flesh-podcast/ (accessed 13/06/17)Google Scholar

  • Sanders, John. Theology in the Flesh: how embodiment and culture shape the way we think about truth, morality, and God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sharifian, Farzad. Cultural Linguistics. Amsterdam/PA: John Benjamins, 2017.Google Scholar

  • Slyke, James A. van. The Cognitive Science of Religion. [Kindle edition] Abingdon: Routledge, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Stepan, Alfred. ‘The Multiple Secularisms of Modern Democratic and non-Democratic Regimes’, in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Calhoun, Craig and Juergensmeyer, Mark and VanAntwerpen, Jonathan, 114-144, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Troeltsch, Ernst. ‘Christianity and the history of religion,’ in Religion in History, translated by James Luther Adams and Walter F. Bense. 77-86, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991 (1897).Google Scholar

  • Ungerer, Frierich, and Schmid, Hans-Joerg. An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics. Second Edition. [Kindle edition] Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.Google Scholar

  • Vainio, Olli-Pekka. ‘What does Theology have to do with religion? Dual process accounts, cognitive science of religion and a curious blind spot in contemporary theorizing.’ Open Theology, 2016, 2, 106-112.Google Scholar

  • Varela, Francisco, J. & Thompson, Evan & Rosch, Eleanor. The Embodied Mind: cognitive science and human experience. London: The MIT Press, 1993.Google Scholar

  • Venuti, Lawrence. The Scandals of Translation: towards an ethics of difference. London: Routledge, 1998.Google Scholar

  • Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1930.Google Scholar

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. New York: Cosimo Books, 2007 (1922).Google Scholar

  • Zaman, Asad. ‘The Rise and Fall of Logical Positivism.’ The Express Tribune. October 4, 2015.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-05-05

Accepted: 2017-07-03

Published Online: 2018-01-01


Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 15–28, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0002.

Export Citation

© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in