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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Dooyeweerd: What is religion?

What is religion?

Herman Dooyeweerd

To the question, what is understood here by religion? I reply: the innate impulse of human selfhood to direct itself toward the true or toward a pretended absolute Origin of all temporal diversity of meaning, which it finds focused concentrically in itself.

This description is indubitably a theoretical and philosophical one, because in philosophical reflection an account is required of the meaning of the word "religion" in our argument. This explains also the formal transcendental character of the description, to which the concrete immediacy of the religious experience remains strange.

If, from out of the central religious sphere, we seek a theoretical approximation of it, we can arrive only at a transcendental idea, a limiting concept, the content of which must remain abstract, as long as it is to comprehend all possible forms in which religion is manifested (even the apostate ones). Such an idea invariably has the function of relating the theoretical diversity of the modal aspects to a central and radical unity and to an Origin.

From: Dooyeweerd, H. 1953. New Critique of Theoretical Thought Volume 1. The Necessary Presuppositions of Philosophy. Philadelphia: P&R, p. 57.

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