Saturday, August 14, 2010

What is Theology?

What is it that you think of when you hear the word theology? Wikipedia says that Theology "is the study of a god or, more generally, the study of religious faith, practice, and experience, or of spirituality". St. Augustine said that theology was the "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity." And Webster defines the word as "the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world, or "a theological theory or system".

The origins of the word theology, take us back to the Greek word, theologia (θεολογία), which is derived from the roots, theos, meaning god and logos, meaning word,discourse or reasoning.

Nineteenth Century clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher, said that "Theology is a science of mind applied to God and is but our ideas of truth classified and arranged. And modern scientist and atheist, Richard Dawkins, said “What has 'theology' ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has 'theology' ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious? What makes you think that 'theology' is a subject at all?”

But what is theology to you? How does it affect you in a personal way? Does it bring back uncomfortable memories of a class you had to take in high school? Does it remind you of an elite group of philosophers in the upper echelons of academia? Stacks of books? Scrolls? An old bearded man diligently writing by candlelight?

How do you think theology fits in with today's world? What relevance does theology have with our culture? And Once we have a grasp of what theology really is, how do we apply it in everyday life? How does it affect our faith and spiritual life?

What is theology? Let me know your thoughts.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I personally feel when I see all the comparisons with other religions and creeds, that my "God" and my savior "Jesus Christ" (which has many other names through other religions, such as Horus) only proves that God and Jesus, regardless of the same you give "it" is real.

To me, Theology is a study of "God" regardless of any labels places upon "it". It loves us unconditionally and really only wants us to understand each other, before attempting to fully understand "it".

To fully understand God would be ludicrous. We do not have the all seeing mind that our creator does. I believe that God whether you call it God, Allah, Horus, Buddha (Buddha is more like Christ, really), The Sun God, etc. is not only the same throughout theological texts, but wants us, it's children to understand that. And that fact is what will unite us as a species. That we are all the same.