Re: MD Philosophy and Theology

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Mon Mar 31 2003 - 09:39:03 BST

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    Hi David,

    > DMB says:
    > Right. I think that's really what it comes down to. Is theology a branch
    > philosophy or a part of sectarian religion. Sam's view carries alot of
    > weight here, but think there are contradictions. On the one hand, he says
    > its not objective or apart from the religion, on the other hand he says
    > theology students might not have anything to do with the Church and don't
    > even have to believe it. I hardly know what to do with that.

    Rethink your assumptions? After all, I'm only describing some 'facts'
    I don't think that there is such a thing as 'objective'. To be honest, I'm
    surprised that you still do.

    > Maybe the
    > contradictions are inherent in theology itself. ... I can't help but think
    > how handy it would be if that one word, that one little term, were
    > from the paper. It would be so convenient to dismiss it as a mistake. But
    > don't have to. It still doesn't negate all the assertions about religion
    > find in Lila. As you point out, it just means that theology is at a
    > different level than sectarian religion.

    I agree with that. I just don't think it means that theology can be
    understood separately from the faith tradition of which it is a part.

    > DMB says:
    > Did you earn a degree in theology too? Learning "how and what various
    > groups think about god" sure sounds like comparative religious studies to
    > me.

    It does to me too. But depending on your basic framework, theology can
    include philosophy of religion and comparative studies, or vice versa. I
    think it is a prejudice to say the 'inclusion' has to be one way.

    > And doesn't that impartial approach conflict with the idea that "the
    > theologian studies that which the disciple believes"? That sounds far less
    > "objective" and far more sectarian, don't you think? I think this is worth
    > closer look and may even decide the issue for me.

    What is this 'impartial' approach? Nagel's 'view from nowhere' perhaps?

    > P.S. to the theologians:
    > Please do not misconstrue the debate as one that decides whether or not
    > theology is stupid. In the MOQ, to say that something is not intellectual
    > not to say something is unintelligent, isn't valuable or anything like
    > Its not about insulting this belief over that belief. Its about making a
    > distinction. Its about understanding the thing for what it is so as to
    > misreading it.

    David! How very gracious of you! ;-)


    "When we speak of God we do not know what we are talking about. We are
    simply using language from the familiar context in which we understand it
    and using it to point, beyond what we understand, into the mystery that
    surrounds and sustains the world we do partially understand" (Herbert

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