Here is an example of why one needs to read a lot of theology before one deems to criticize it. Let's take the op in the thread that as an example: thread by Skylurker about "what is theology good for." (from CARM--link no longer good--2013)
Theology: The study of the nature of God and religious belief.
this is his definition of what he thinks theology is about. There are two definitions of theology that are used by 99% of people in the field, one is the old one the other is the modern one.
The old one (Anselm) Faith seeking understanding!
The main reason that one is disliked is because it makes theology a matter of concern only for the believer; it would have us think that theology is just the faitful trying to understand their faith.
New version: (John Macquarrie) Participation in in and study of the content of a religious tradition.
That's very different from faith seeking understanding because "participation" doesn't necessarily require faith and it opens it up to a much greater field of inquiry than just "seeking to understand faith." Yet both are very different from the study of the nature of God and religious belief, because nature of God and RB:
(1) leaves out the need to seek understanding
(2) it leaves out the need to sort out problems with faith
(3) leaves out a social scinece understanding of the tradition
(4) it's basically limits theology to doctrine alone.
The latter "religious belief" seems like a worthy field of study but as i like to maintain more of a sub-field of anthropology or human psychology.
Limiting theology to academic anthropology would kill the entire discussion. that's the only way atheists can shut it up. That's the little nasty trick the brain washers have set you to work on, destroy the confidence in technological answers so that the ignorant little nay sayers will be undisturbed in their character assassination of the faith. Why not ust do anthropology? The whole question is just throwing a wrench in the works,
The former "nature of God" is the question for this OP. Have they made any progress?
Can someone list the major important products or achievements of this field of study? Any general consensus?
why should there be such a hard cash value to something before it's worth considering? What's the cash value of Shakespeare? What hard tangible product does Beethoven produce? Has there been any progress in writing more symphonies?
On the other hand if you want to play that game how about the "cash value" in getting your life fixed up? hard tangible results are all on the believer's side.[these are results from reciprocal studies--Wuthnow study and Noble study--used in my book The Trace of God]  
less mental illness
great sense of well being
overcome drug addiction
greater sense of meaning in life
greater sense of self authentication
greater self actualization
greater physical health
Now I am glad there are people exploring this because who knows maybe someday they will make a breakthrough - but so far it seems pretty much like they have drilled dry holes and created elaborate castles in the sky... especially compared to the fields of physical and biological sciences. So chastise me and straightening me out.
We will get Dupont on it right away. Maybe we can get something on the market before the next quater.
The real value of theology is not a matter of "progress" and can;t be measured as though it's a race to the moon, It can only be measured by the individual in terms of personal growth, Those who made those comments are speaking the langue of one-dimensional man. At the same time it needs to be said I had comments from fundamentalists on more than one occasion. One guy in particular began warning the carm board I was a false teacher,why? Because i would rather believe theologians than the Bible! Of course he meant his reading of the bible. They don't understand the value of theology either,
Christian theology has always encompassed all other areas of thought. St, Augustine made major contribution of the philosophy of the self,and set in motion ideas that have led to modern notions of selfhood This was by way of developing his notion of self in the doctrine of the Trinity. Even thatis too close to cash value. In framing those concepts we come closer to understanding ourselves in ways that can't be packaged or tallied in the quarterly earnings.
Joseph Hinman The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief, Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct Publishing, 2014. page on Amazon
 the lists of benifits can be seen on y site religious aprioorio
States of Univtive Consciousness"
Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:
the original sources:
(1) Studies Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)
*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion
 Charles Taylor, Sources of the self