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“The question posed by the Pharisees and Herodians appears to concern Caesar and taxation, but its purpose is to force the Lord Jesus to choose between loyalty to God and obedience to worldly government. Christ, in turn, exposes the deep error involved in making God an alternative to Caesar. Such gross oversimplification distorts theology into manageable human concepts – an impossible task….The Pharisees and Herodians engage in reductionism, which attempts to minimize a complex reality by obscuring or distorting it. As rational creatures, we are incapable of speaking definitively about God’s essence. The Church Fathers use negative or superlative statements such as “uncontainable,” “incomprehensible,” “all-wise,” “almighty…God is not some thing capable of being compared to other things; He exists beyond all categories of thought.” (Dynamis 1/30/2022, St. Gregory the Theologian, Vladimir Lossky)

“In this passage [Mark 12:13-17]Jesus points to the image (Grk εἰκών, eikōn) of Caesar on the coin. This same Greek word is used in Gen 1:26 (LXX) to state that humanity is made in the “image” of God. Jesus is making a subtle yet powerful contrast: Caesar’s image is on the denarius, so he can lay claim to money through taxation, but God’s image is on humanity, so he can lay claim to each individual life…Jesus’ answer to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s was a both/and, not the questioners’ either/or. So he slipped out of their trap.” (NET Bible, Mark 12:16-17)

“Most of us recognize the shortcomings of reductionism at a deep level: we know that we are more than what we produce and that efficiency is not the point of education, religion, art, play, or many other aspects of human culture. Most people are dissatisfied with the reductionist viewpoint, yet not enough of us have or can articulate viable alternatives because reductionism has taken over not only how people define success but also what we value in society….Our faith itself should have this quality of fullness about it – something that is greater than our ability to bear. Our compartmentalization of the world and our faith reduce both to bearable levels – but then we fail to live or to believe. Understanding begins with wonder – and wonder requires something beyond our normal limits.” (Makoto Fujimura, Father Stephen Freeman)

“Our genes, our neurons, our basic instincts, and so on, affect how we function qualitatively as human beings, but they do not yield absolute, ontological conclusions about what we are as human beings. It is the absolute forms of reductionism that are pernicious, incompatible with religious views, and that are to be resisted.” (Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“There have been any number of philosophers, from Descartes to Kant who essentially reduced our reality to something within our heads. The “good” ceased to be anything “out there” and simply became “what is pleasing to me.” Many, drawn by the allure of various science fiction schemes, cannot imagine why hard reality should be preferred to virtual reality. The digital life is becoming normal life. Such an estrangement frequently makes people forget where and how they live. We forget that farms grow our food and that the earth produces our minerals. We forget that people get their hands dirty and toil over these necessities. Life in the city (which is often life in the mind) seems superior, more sophisticated, and to be preferred. In that world, God lives as an idea among ideas, and is perhaps not welcome.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The motive behind theological reductionism is our vain attempt to manage God. If we could reduce God to mere ideas and principles, then we could eliminate the essential unknowability of God. Such simplistic thinking keeps God conveniently in hand, using Him however it wills. The saints never brook such theology. Isaiah records God’s reply to the inquiries of man: “But as heaven is distant from earth, so is My way distant from your ways, and your thoughts from My mind” (Is 55:9).” (Dynamis 2/3/2020)

“…the greatest reductionism is found in the immense neglect of emphasis upon the heart of the New Testament teaching on salvation as union with Jesus Christ…The theology of the Church bears witness to the fact that the mystery of salvation is accomplished not just on the Cross, but from the very moment of Incarnation when the Only-Begotten and Co-Eternal Son united Himself forever with humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mary, his Most Pure Mother. Salvation as union and communion between God and Man drips from every page of the New Testament and in the writings of Holy fathers.” (Father Josiah Trenham)

“The problem with reductionism (our insistence to break things down into something we can confine to our rational thought) when it comes to God is that it becomes a barrier to a salvific relationship with God. To be in a relationship with the Lord that leads to our salvation requires we willingly embrace mystery, paradox, and ambiguity. Reductionism will not tolerate such things, thus it become a self-deceptive barrier between us and God.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

"Our daily frustrations, society’s pressures, and our shortcomings reduce and narrow our view of God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 6:1-3)

“Most of our lives are so caught up in the mundane that we don’t understand and experience God’s holiness as we should. There is little appreciation or understanding of the sacred “otherness” of God. We have too often reduced Him to only friend and advisor.” (Foundation Study Bible, Isaiah 6:3)

“The fearful wonder that is our salvation in Christ is rooted both in God’s goodness and in what it means to exist as person. Our modern world is sometimes castigated for having made human beings the center of everything. This is only true if we measure our modern world by its economics and its entertainment industry. In truth, the modern world has often reduced what it is to be human.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…without a proper understanding and relationship with Christ, Christianity is incorrectly reduced to just another system of rules and regulations we try to follow by our own will power and therefore ultimately makes no deep and lasting change to our way of being.” (Sacramental Living)

“Faith has been reduced to a comfortable system of beliefs about God instead of an uncomfortable encounter with God." (Michael Yaconelli)

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