Review of Jonathan Chaplin: “Herman Dooyeweeerd: Philosopher of State and Civil Society”

I have posted a new article

Review of Jonathan Chaplin: Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society

Jonathan Chaplin’s analysis of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is helpful in discussing (1) the state’s role in harmonizing and protecting individual and communal interests within various societal spheres and (2) Dooyeweerd’s ideas of public justice and public interest, which he uses to justify state intervention in other societal organizations. But Chaplin continues a conservative reading of Dooyeweerd. This is due to (a) his misunderstanding of the ideas of individuality structures and enkapsis (b) his misunderstanding of enkaptic relations among institutions, natural communities, organized communities and free associations, (c) a consequent incorrect distinction between internal and external functions of the state and (d) an inadequate discussion of the idea of human rights. Dooyeweerd’s use of enkapsis allows him to develop a view of societal sphere sovereignty very different from that of Abraham Kuyper, and one that allows the intervention of the state in other societal organizations because there is a one-way enkaptic relationship.

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The Complicity of Reformational Philosophy with the Politics of the Religious Right

I have posted a new article,

The Complicity of Reformational Philosophy with the Politics of the Religious Right

Many writers claim to follow reformational principles, but have used these principles in very regressive and reactionary ways to support and to promote the political ideas of the religious right. They have used ideas of religious presuppositionalism, worldview and religious antithesis to argue that those who do not share their own worldview do not know the true facts. They have misused the idea of sphere sovereignty to argue for the minimal state. And they have rejected the idea of human rights and have discriminated against others. This complicity with right wing politics has become clearly evident in their support for the policies of President Trump.

Reviews of my books

The Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies has permitted me to place its reviews of my books on this website:

RamanaReview: This is a review of my book Ramana Maharshi: Interpretations of his Enlightenment (Calgary: Aevum Books, 2015)

AbhishiktanandaReview: This is a review of my book Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux): Christian Nondualism and Hindu Advaita (Calgary: Aevum Books, 2015)

New Research on Groen van Prinsterer and the Idea of Sphere Sovereignty

My recent article, “New Research on Groen van Prinsterer and the Idea of Sphere Sovereignty,”  overturns many of the accepted ideas in reformational philosophy. The article has been accepted for publication by Philosophia Reformata, but will not be published until 2019 0r 2020. Here is the pre-peer-review version of the article, which I am permitted to self-archive on my website at any time.
The final peer-reviewed version, which will be published in future, is even stronger in its conclusions than the article as archived here. Perhaps the most important addition to the final article is the discussion of how sphere sovereignty is not based on the idea that God’s reign extends to every area of life. It is true that Calvinism valued secular work, as opposed to a spiritualistic flight from temporal life. This has been shown by Max Weber in his influential work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1930, originally published 1905). But the idea of a vocation in a secular sphere does not give any basis for the sovereignty of one sphere vis à vis another sphere. Nor does this idea of vocation delineate the spheres in the same way as does the idea of sphere sovereignty. The idea of sphere sovereignty has its source in non-Calvinistic ideas.

James Skillen’s critique of Trump

James Skillen, former director of Citizens for Public Justice, has written this article that is very critical of the Trump administration. I know Skillen, and have discussed reformational philosophy with him at his home in Annapolis, Maryland. I am glad to see that he is taking this stand against Trump. I wish he had gone even further and explained how some mistaken ideas in reformational philosophy, and in the Christian schools that he supports, have directly contributed to the present political situation.

http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2017/02/10/the-trump-presidency-everything-up-for-grabs