Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why theology?

Esteemed lay theologian CS Lewis once said that the existence of God (or, for our purposes, theology) is not a subject which humanity can be moderately interested in. Simply put, we can't talk about theological issues with a mediocre attitude; it demands the best of us. Because, if God does in fact exist, the stakes are of infinite importance to not only the theist, but to the non-theist as well.

If God exists, then we ought to seek knowledge, education, and further communion with Him from the depths of our hearts--not from a shady, run-of-the mill mindset.

If God does not exist, then we are wholly dependent on the works of mankind, and shouldn't waste our time praying, tithing, and believing.

Moderate interest in God is obsolete; it's a philosophy--whether theistic or non-theistic--with extreme presuppositions in mind.


Anonymous said...

I firmly agree with the theme of this comment. All men and women should seek theology wholeheartedly! Are we not obligated to dive deeper into the knowledge of our loving Father in Heaven? Far too many Christians lack the passion and desire in striving to expand their knowledge of God. However, a point must be cleared up. I disagree with you using theology in substitution for the phrase “existence of God.” Theology, to use C.S. Lewis’s term, is the actual “science of God” (also meaning knowledge of God). This science already assumes God’s existence; and its main goal is to come to the entire knowledge, in which we are only capable of knowing certain things by God’s allowance, of this being.

Anonymous said...

Now, with that said, theology should not be taken lightly. For theology is not intended for us to sit around the fire, with a drink and cigar, patting each other’s back as he/she reveals such “deep understanding” of God – let us not forget that we only know as much as God allows us to know (we are incapable of knowing anything about God in which He does not reveal to us personally). Theology is intended for us to equip ourselves to the best we can; in order for us to be prepared to advance, and defend, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we enter into the battle field (i.e. work, school, church, politics, economics, and so on). If a man wants to be a theologian for the mere fact of “showing off his knowledge,” or for sitting around with other theologians and discussing matters, then he should not go any farther with the subject, leave it alone, and go find another topic of interest to study. When he understands what theology is intended for, then he can come back to this field of knowledge. One might argue that Satan himself would want a theologian to think he was so high and mighty in his ways, so that the “theologian” would come to the delusion that he knew everything there is to know – not to mention that the knowledge was obtained by their own “time and merit.” This can only lead to disaster. First a man must humble himself, give up everything to God, and then seek to know everything there is to know about our Lord and King – with every intention, and while in the process of learning, of living this out!

*Don’t get me wrong, I love to sit around and talk theology. However, if this is all we’re doing, then may our Father in Heaven break us of such a nasty habit.*

tyler m taber said...

Thanks for your comments, and thanks for disagreeing with me; this blog certainly allows for that.

With regards to our disagreement: I was not advocating a definition of theology when I said, "...the existence of God (or, for our purposes, theology)..."

But if theology is the study ("ology") of God ("theos"), then it seems appropriate that theology appropriately encompasses the existence of God; surely we can agree on this.

This, in effect, would substantiate Lewis's claim that theology is indeed the "science of God."

I also agree that theology should not be used as an outlet to boast any kind of knowledge. It is, as you said, "intended for us to equip ourselves the best we can; in order for us to be prepared to advance, and defend, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

That is obviously a very defined and specific theology you put forth (and, obviously, a Christian one). Muslims are also theologians, but would not accept the particular statement of theology that you just stated. Therefore, theology can incorporate a much more broad definition.

I'm also thankful we agree theology can be a discipline that, if done incorrectly, can lead to pride, personal merit, and, eventually, a departing of faith. However, God equipped us with rational minds, thus giving theology an academic side.

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