Friday, April 05, 2013

What is Theology Good for?

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 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 titrated this as an example: thread by Skylurker about "what is theology good for." (from CARM)

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 int eh 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 becuase "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 f God and religious belief, becuase

(1) leaves out the need to seek understanding

(2) it leaves out the need to sort of 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. 
a sub field of anthropology would be limited to academic objectivity and leave out the need to answer for the faith. It would also mandate certain approaches that would totally limit theolgoians form most of what they do. While there is a form of thought connected with theology called "anthropology"is' not the 19th century social science that grew up around the work of Malinowski and August Compt.

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.

The former "nature of God" is the question for this OP. Have they made any progress?
that question asserts that there's some quasi scientific answer they have to come to. As though God is impersonal force like magnetism and we have to understand it in the say way we understand scientific things. there no reason to think this way. this nothing more than an extension of the reductionist dictum that one thing can exist that's the realm of knowledge that we control.

Can someone list the major important products or achievements of this field of study? Any general consensus? 
trying to treat faith like a commercial product. Unless it has some pragmatic end that can be empirically demonstrated, like better gas mileage or fewer cavities then there's no justification of even considering it. that's nothing more than the comoditization of knowledge and the scientfication of reality.

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?

On the other hand if you want to play that game how about the case value in getting your life fixed up? hard tangible results are all on the believer's side.

less depression
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 happiness
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.

We are not developing a commercial product. faith is an inward journey. Only the individual can measure it's value. you are not going to do that by making bad analogies to a lame and shallow understanding of science.

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