• Before or Outside the Text: A Comparative Study on Jean-Luc Marion and Paul Ricoeur's Idea of Revelation

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Tang, Joseph; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2010-05)
      This essay explores the idea of revelation of two French philosophers, Jean-Luc Marion and Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur and Marion are very important figures not only in contemporary continental philosophy, but also in their contributions to the discussion of religion, or what some may call the "theological turn." Marion contends that revelation is the saturated phenomenon ' par excellence', free from the constraints of reason and metaphysics. For Ricoeur, a longer route in approaching the phenomenology of religion through the detour of hermeneutics is much needed. Such a longer path serves to concretely ground the discussion of revelation in a historic, linguistic, and textual milieu. Therefore, while Marion thinks that revelation is immediate and unconditionally given, Ricoeur maintains that revelation as manifestation names the possibility for biblical Scripture, and through hermeneutic interpretation, is able to open a world into which one might project one's ownmost possibilities.
    • A Certainty of Death: Appreciating Human Animalhood

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Hubble, Paul; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2009-04)
      Engaging the work of Barry Allen and Karl Marx, a range of topics come together in an analysis of civilization as the buildup and breakdown of tissues. Life and death are both moments and directions. Death, as a moment in life, is certain. Human life, lived against death at its present scale, doesn't succeed in controlling or securing what it seeks to control and secure. Concerns about human knowledge and economies-civilizational tissue and its behaviours-are contrasted with familiarity and wealth as tissue, which are valuable goods against which their bastardizations can show up. We cannot place blind faith in technology, since it often fails the test of good tissue-life and the means to continued life. We cannot place blind faith in market freedom, as long as economic agents are programmed as they are, and as long as wealth is not understood as good, living tissue.
    • From Paradox to Possibility: Gauging the Unique Contribution of Christian Voices to the Public Discussion of Ecological Crisis

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Gerritsma, Sara L.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2008-12)
      This thesis argues that western societies are caught in a paradox: Individuals and groups are increasingly concerned about the harmful effects humanity is having on the earth's health, while at the same time environmental degradation increases and societies are doing relatively little to stop environmentally harmful actions. Chapter 1 explores the deeper roots of our current situation, arguing that westerners are caught up in a harmful ideology that prioritizes economic growth and material prosperity at all costs, which means that steps to protect the environment will not be undertaken if these steps will have negative (or even neutral) impacts on economic growth. Suggesting a theocentric (God-centered) alternative to this harmful ideology, chapter 2 defends the expression of openly religious perspectives in the public political discussions of environmental crises but also emphasizes the responsibility of all participants to dialogue in a respectful, civil manner and to be open to truths coming from marginal perspectives. Finally, chapter 3 gives a number of concrete suggestions for public policies that can address the roots of ecological degradation and engage citizens who are ready and willing to take steps to reduce their environmental footprint.
    • Pumping Intuitions and Making Practice Different: Richard Rorty's 'Intuitive' Account of Reference and Truth

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Euverman, Ryan M.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2010)
      This thesis explores and makes explicit various aspects of Richard Rorty's rhetorical program for shifting our traditional conceptions of reference and truth. Rorty wants to persuade us to adopt verification (coping) semantics in place of correspondence seeking semantics. I argue against his intuition pumps by considering Keith Donnellan's remarks on description and reference and argue for a view of correspondence truth that is based on what the object, whatever the object, permits us to say. Making this point allows us to see a purposeful conflation in Rorty's work. If beliefs are true because they are justified, Rorty's fallibilistic remark that any of our beliefs may not be true (in the cautionary sense) would follow. But truths may pay because they follow (as "attributive representations") from 'unblocked' objects, or they may just pay. Thus, I suggest that Donnellan preserves William James' remark that we desire correspondence truth, an everyday explanatory notion.
    • Taking Hannah Arendt to Church: Toward a Renewed Appreciation of the Mutuality Between Moral Philosophy and Religious Life and Culture

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Allers, Christopher R.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2007-09)
      In this study, I consider the possibility of extending Hannah Arendt's critiques of conformity and behavior and her insights on thinking and moral philosophy to Christian life and culture. With Arendt, I argue that the possibility to refrain from perpetrating great evils made possible by uncritical conformity resides within the activity of thinking itself, as she defines it. Furthermore, I argue, again with Arendt, that refraining from such evils is a moral decision which finds its ultimate standard in the self. Although she culls many helpful insights from religious traditions, Arendt refrains from extending her moral philosophy into any realm in which religion is considered to be the valid standard of what constitutes moral behavior. Instead, I argue, against Arendt, that Christians can, and perhaps should, develop a more mature understanding of religion and a more "covenantal" understanding of their relationship with the divine.
    • Written Into the Land: Use, Identity and the Human Awakening to an Eloquent Creation

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; D'Angelo, Christopher J. M.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2009-02)
      This thesis argues that human land use is a decisive yet commonly overlooked indication of the sort of people we are. As such, to grasp that we live in a world in 'ecological crisis' requires grappling with the moral, spiritual and narrative underpinnings and effects of those twentieth century shifts in urban/suburban development and farming practices that have so dramatically altered the North American cultural and geographical landscape. In particular, this dilemma is approached from a biblically informed Christian perspective. Chapter 1 proposes that understanding and experiencing the world as Creation requires accounting for the embodied and wondrous character of existence. Chapter 2 examines aspects of the biblical narrative that provide resources for rethinking destructive land use patterns. In conversation with agrarians and new urbanists, Chapter 3 provides an agrarian ethic for urbanites; a vision rooted in agrarianism that acknowledges how deeply the fate and health of cities and farms are intertwined.