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Subject and Object in Worship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

George D. Chryssides
Affiliation:
Plymouth, England

Extract

If God is not a person, what sense does it make to worship ‘it’? The problem of worship takes on a new aspect in the light of models of God which have recently been promulgated by certain philosophers and theologians – that God is ‘Being itself’, ‘the ground of our being’, ‘experienced non-objective reality’, an inspiring picture, a fictional entity in a religious story, a linguistic device for indicating the fundamentality of our perspective on life or ‘the self not yet become’.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1987

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References

page 367 note 1 Tillich, Paul, Systematic Theology (Welwyn: Nisbet, 1953).Google Scholar

page 367 note 2 Ibid.

page 367 note 3 Ogden, Schubert M., Christ Without Myth (Dallas: SMU Press, 1979)Google Scholar, and Bultmann, Rudolf, Kerygma and Myth, ed. Bartsch, W. H. (London: SPCK, 1962 & 1964), p. 168.Google Scholar

page 367 note 4 Wittgenstein, L., Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief, ed. Barrett, Cyril (Oxford: Blackwell, 1970).Google Scholar

page 367 note 5 Braithwaite, R. B., An Empiricist's View of the Nature of Religious Belief (Cambridge University Press, 1950;Google Scholar reprinted in Mitchell, B. G., (ed.), Philosophy of Religion (London: Oxford University Press, 1971).Google Scholar

page 367 note 6 van Buren, Paul M., The Secular Meaning of the Gospel (London: SCM, 1963).Google Scholar

page 367 note 7 Cupitt, Don, Taking Leave of God (London: SCM, 1980).Google Scholar

page 367 note 8 Brown, Stuart C., Religious Belief (Milton Keynes: The On University Press, 1973), p. 59.Google Scholar

page 367 note 9 Smart, Ninian, The Concept of Worship (London: Macmillan, 1972, p. 74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

page 367 note 10 James Rachels, pursuing a somewhat different line of argument from Brown and Smart, contends that there cannot be any being worthy of worship – a being who exists and who is of superior moral status to man. I do not wish here to comment on his argument that the existence of such a being would be incompatible with the notion of moral autonomy, which is the thrust of his argument, but merely to note once again the assumption that for worship to be possible the object of worship must be a being who is distinct from the worshipper. See Rachels, James, God and Human Attributes; Religious Studies, Vol VII (1971), pp. 325–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

page 368 note 1 Hume, David, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, reprinted in Wollheim, R. (ed.), Hume on Religion (London: Fontana, 1963), p. 202.Google Scholar

page 369 note 1 Revelation 7·9–11.

See my ‘God and the Tao’, Religious Studies, XIX (1983), 1–11.

page 369 note 3 The United Reformed Church, Alternative Order for Service of Ordination, with Responses, Schedule D (revised, 1983).Google Scholar

page 369 note 4 Tzu, Lao, Tao Te Ching, transl. Lau, D. C. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963), v. I.Google Scholar

page 370 note 1 Op. cit. vv. 56 and 117.

page 371 note 1 Manjushri Puja Sadhana (Conishead: Wisdom Publications, 1980), p. 6.

page 373 note 1 Henderson, E. H., ‘Theistic Reductionism and the Practice of Worship’, International journal of Philosophy of Religion, X (1979), 2540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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