Throughout this course we have studied the relationship between one's embedded and deliberative theology. We understand this relationship to be cyclical in nature; when one's deliberative, or second order theology, is reflected upon it can have the effect of altering one's embedded or first order theology. The dynamic between these two concepts is simple enough to understand. Though, what lacks simplicity in this arrangement is the origins of the relationship altogether. In order for one to reflect upon their own embedded theology, there must actually be an embedded theology in the first place. The roots of this first order theology can and should be called into question. If in any instance one's embedded theology is based solely on familial or social pressures, then whenever second order theology inspires sincere reflection upon it the embedded theology will morph to such a degree that knowingly, or unknowingly, a conversion will occur.
Keywords: Eldridge Cleaver, Leo Tolstoy, Saint Teresa, Benjamin Franklin
[...] Though the recounting of this experience is brilliant and inspirational it is important to attempt to answer the essential question—why? Why had Eldridge Cleaver converted to Christianity? It is probable that Eldridge Cleaver was not raised as a Black Muslim and converted at some point in his life. Had the pressure of his peers during that turbulent time in American history somehow influenced his decision to become a Black Muslim it is no surprise that he eventually converted from it? [...]
[...] It must be true that at some point in Franklin's life he began to place less importance on a specific sect's guidelines for worshipping and more emphasis on the virtues dictated by it. In How to Think Theologically, authors Stone and Duke write, grow in faith is to deepen, extend, and perhaps revise our understanding of its meaning and to arrive at clearer means by which to state and act on our convictions.” Well, to Franklin, the clearest way to “state and on his convictions was to remove himself from an organized religion altogether. [...]
[...] eventually becomes the child's first order theology and is the basis for all deliberative theology that comes to follow it. Although the reflection on (and subsequent alteration of) embedded theology is always possible, the individual does not have his or her own beliefs at this point. All they appear to have is their commentary on a belief system that was never truly their own to begin with. Obviously building anything on top of a faulty foundation renders the likeliness of deterioration under stress very high. [...]
[...] From The Book of Her Life she writes, father was fond of reading good books, and thus he also had books in Spanish for his children to read. These good books together with the care my mother took to have us pray and be devoted to our Lady and to some of the saints began to awaken me when, I think, six or seven years old, to the practice of virtue.” Even though Saint Teresa of Avila was raised in accordance to Christian faith, she still had many misgivings about becoming a nun when she entered the convent. [...]
[...] She was ultimately guided by the fear of purgatory to remain in the convent and to become a nun. It was as if she remained a Christian and remained in the convent as a form of protocol. It was not until after she began what would become twenty years of mystic visions and revelations that it appears her relationship with God became authentic. In this particular scenario, which is much more convoluted than this essay has room for, it appears that in her early Christian life she was primarily guided by fear and obedience. [...]
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