How is Theology a worthwhile discipline?
At the “Imagine No Religion” meetings in Kamloops, British Columbia, I was discussing “Sophisticated Theology”™ with ex-preacher and current Freedom from Religion co-President Dan Barker. And Dan made two quips: “Theology is a subject without an object” (that’s a grammatical double entendre, which I didn’t catch till later), and “Theologians don’t have an object to study, so they just study what other theologians say.” That sounds snarky, but it’s absolutely right. What good is a discipline that tries to tell us about the qualities of a nonexistent object? It’s as useful as a bunch of scholars trying to tell us about the characteristics of the Loch Ness Monster, or Paul Bunyan. Worse—the scholars want to tell us what kind of behavior Paul Bunyan requires of us.
Well, I thought I’d heard it all until reader Nick sent me a link to an article by John Dickson at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Drum site, a…
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