19th- and 20th-century Christian Theology in a Nutshell

by Jeanyne Slettum

19th century

Kant: religion within the limits of reason alone; religion converted to ethics

Schleiermacher: God as the feeling of absolute dependence; religion as feeling

Hegel: everything converted to philosophy; Absolute Spirit; system

Feuerbach: God is a human projection; religion must be overcome

Kierkegaard: truth is subjectivity; leap of faith; religiousness A & B

Ritschl: neo-Kantian, kingdom of God  

Harnack: separate kernel from husk to find essence (truth of gospel embedded in Bible, doctrine)

James: healthy-minded and sick soul typology; the unconscious as the likely portal for the divine

Rauschenbusch: social gospel

Marx, Freud, Nietzsche: “masters of suspicion”; i.e., interpreters who strip religion of its disguises (religion as opiate of the masses, religion as illusion, death of God)

20th century (to about the 70s)


Troeltsch: Christianity as history and culture; religious typology

Otto: holy as numinous (nonrational, nonsensory, external to self)

Barth: Christocentrism; knowledge of God limited to the self-revelation of God in Christ

Bultmann: kerygma over historical Jesus; dymythologization (don’t remove the myth, interpret it); God’s transcendence as nonspatial, nontemporal, but existential, confronting us in the moment of decision

Bonhoeffer: cheap grace, Confessing Church, political theology

Tillich: faith as ultimate concern; God as the ground of being, method of correlation

Reinhold Niebuhr: “religious socialism”→Christian realism; hermeneutic: myth

H. Richard Niebuhr: ethicist; Christ and culture typology; radical monotheism

Hartshorne: process theology; omnipotence as a theological mistake

Cobb: process metaphysics, Christ as creative transformation

Moltmann: theology of hope, political theology, panentheist, Trinitarian

Pannenberg: historicity of revelation, systematic theology


Religion as anthropology: Frazier

Religion as psychology: Freud (religion is an illusion), James, Jung (collective unconscious)

Religion as sociology: Durkheim, Weber (“Protestant ethic”)

Religion as religious studies: Smart, Smith

Pragmatism: James, Peirce

Neo-orthodoxy: Barth, Bonhoeffer, Brunner, Niebuhr (2), Bultmann

Phenomenology: Husserl, Otto

Process: Whitehead, Hartshorne, Cobb, Suchocki

Existentialism: Tillich, Bultmann

Liberation: Boff (2), Sobrino, Guttierez, Söelle

Feminist: Daly, Ruether, Schüssler-Fiorenza

Womanist: Williams

Black Liberation: Cone

Catholic: Balthazar, Teilhard, Rahner (“anonymous Christian”), Tracy

Jewish: Buber (I-Thou), Heschel, Wiesel

Anger and Regret

Anger and Regret by Michael Obsatz

So–we do a lot of things, and life turns out how it does. Sometimes we make good choices and reap the benefits. Sometimes, our choices lead us to rejection, disappointment, frustration, and emotional pain. Sometimes, a decision that seemed wise turns out to be foolish. So we think– “If I could do it all over again, knowing what I know now, I could do it differently and avoid all that pain.” Maybe yes, maybe no.

When we go through the inevitable losses of life, we grieve. Grieving involves both anger and depression. We may become said about something that didn’t work out. We may be angry at those who misled, betrayed, or hurt us. Some people live a life of regret, wishing that things could have been different. But, in reality, things are what they are–and it is up to us to make the best of it. What is done is done.

Anger builds when we have not let ourselves grieve our losses. We become angry at others, life, God, ourselves, the world. Anger is a normal and natural response to loss, and loss happens to us regularly. A build-up of anger can make us irritable and hostile. Some people live with anger just below the surface, and if one more hard thing happens, they explode.

A way to our heal grief is to acknowledge our losses, feel our sadness and anger, and then let it all go. Another way to heal is to realize that our life is imperfect, but we can learn something from almost everything that happens to us. It is possible that out of the most horrible circumstance comes an amazing discovery or some new opportunity.

Anger is related to self-righteousness and regret. If we think, “I deserve a totally stress-free life without any losses,” then we are deceiving ourselves and wallowing in self-pity. Regret is a waste of time. Living in the past is a waste of time. When we wallow in the past, we often miss current opportunities and possibilities.

In order to let go of the past, we must forgive life, God, ourselves and others totally for what has happened. We cannot go back and change things. We might learn something from what has happened if we stop wishing that things had been better. You can start by writing letters of forgiveness to yourself, others, God or life. You can send the letter to others if you wish. That is up to you. Forgiving is freeing, and you will probably have less stress and anger, and more energy if you can forgive.

We can realize that life has a way of broadsiding us–often when we least expect it. There are accidents which are unpredictable, and in some cases, unavoidable. To forgive life is complicated. It involves of letting go of any ideal state that we had in mind, and accepting the reality of now–what life truly is at this very moment. It is vital to recognize that life has its ups and downs, highs and lows.

This acceptance of life as it is leads to forgiveness which leads to “no regrets” which lessens our anger. It is helpful to count our blessings, and recognize all of the good things in our lives. Letting go of the past means appreciating our current journey, and realizing that what happened allowed us to learn lessons we needed to learn.

© Dr. Michael Obsatz © 2001-2018 ANGEResources, all rights reserved.

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