Climb that mountain, bucko!
Climb that mountain, bucko!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, and I have to admit that my reading has my head full to bursting with moral theology. The past few days I’ve read Karl Barth’s God in Action, most of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics (it’ll be finished by Sunday), part of C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man, and some of Inazo Nitobe’s Bushido (which is a Japanese-Christian apology for historical Bushido that attempts, and generally succeeds, to show similarities between Japanese Bushido and Judeo-Christian morality). So, one thing that Barth and Bonhoeffer have in common and Lewis and Nitobe (thus far) seem to lack is a concept that might be best titled ‘God is All’. Barth and Bonhoeffer see ‘the good’, and in fact reality as a whole, bound up in the incarnate person of Jesus Christ. Now, if we remember Plato, he pictured ‘the good’ as a dynamic force certainly, and it is easily arguable that he pictured ‘the good’ as a dynamic, supernatural, and creative force, though he certainly didn’t see it as personal. He also saw ‘the good’ as fundamentally important for our understanding of reality as a whole. Similarly, Augustine (and I think that Barth and Bonhoeffer echo him on this point) pictured ‘the good’ as ‘God and God alone’, again seeing it as a dynamic, supernatural, creative, and in this case personal entity. So, remember that for this exercise you must present and defend your answer to the question in a story of 1000 words or less. Your challenge:

Is ‘the good’ an abstract principle or a dynamic and perhaps personal entity? If it is an abstract principle, can it effectively be personified? If it is a personal entity, what does that entity look like and what does that mean for our concept of ‘the good’?


For those of you who missed yesterday’s post, Neal is official leaving the blog. So, first I want to say a hearty goodbye and thanks for all the fish to Neal. If you know what I mean, then you know what I mean. Neal’s been writing on this blog for a while now, and he’s going to be missed.

I believe that, as individuals, as friends, and as writers, each person who has contributed to this blog is irreplacable, and each is special to me in some way. That being said, having lost both Abbie and Neal to the vagaries of school and life, I find myself in need of writers to fill those positions. So, I am looking for two good writers who are capable of being, and wish to be, regular contributors to the blog. One would be posting on Thursdays only and would be alternating with me, and the other would be a floating author posting less regularly on Thursdays, Tuesdays, and possibly Sundays. I’m also looking for a philosophically minded individual to help me with the Saturday Challenges. If you are interested in any of these duties, please email me at with a brief introduction, bio, and writing sample. If you have any previous blogging experience that would also be good to mention 🙂.


One thought on “Philosophical Story Challenge of the Week

  1. Intriguing challenge! My first thought would be to reject the dichotomy (between person and ‘essence’) altogether as we move forward with our thinking. I’m a recovering theology major and I tend to “side with” constructive/systematic theologians in saying we need to beyond these static/dynamic categories – even though I don’t buy into process theology. I think they’re going interesting places! As such I would refute the idea that an abstraction cannot be dynamic, even personal. If I have time to write a story that’s what I would write. 🙂 Although frankly I’ve been writing that story over and over for the past few years. I believe Stephen Duffy talked about this when discussing Augustine / Aquinas. And others. But I liked his work!

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