Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Heart be still! My knees are a bit buckled and I am about to swoon, even faint. What could put me in such a tizzy? If not my lovely wife, it could only be my other love Theology. This is from an Atlantic Monthly column published today called Study Theology, Even if You Don't Believe in God. In the article, Tara Isabella Burton makes the argument that,

“Theology is the closest thing we have at the moment to the kind of general study of all aspects of human culture that was once very common, but is now quite rare.” 


"A good theologian has to be a historian, a philosopher, a linguist, a skillful interpreter of texts both ancient and modern, and probably many other things besides.”

These are arguments I have made to my students, and arguments my students ought to make to employers if this concern rises for them, but Theology offers so many skills and so much knowledge that allows us to make sense not only of the ancient and medieval worlds, but of the world we inhabit today.

If history and comparative religion alike offer us perspective on world events from the “outside,” the study of theology offers us a chance to study those same events “from within”: an opportunity to get inside the heads of those whose beliefs and choices shaped so much of our history, and who—in the world outside the ivory tower—still shape plenty of the world today. That such avenues of inquiry have virtually vanished from many of the institutions where they were once best explored is hardly a triumph of progress or of secularism. Instead, the absence of theology in our universities is an unfortunate example of blindness—willful or no—to the fact that engagement with the past requires more than mere objective or comparative analysis. It requires a willingness to look outside our own perspectives in order engage with the great questions—and questioners—of history on their own terms. Even {Richard}Dawkins might well agree with that.
If you are in love with Theology, please read the post. If you are not, please read the post: you just might be about to fall in love.

 John W. Martens

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