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Featured Theology: Useful or Useless?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Skwim, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Theologians, and there have been quite a few throughout history whom we know of, seem to be held in high esteem. I don't know if this is because of their position within the sphere of religious musings, or because they have something truly worthwhile to impart. Personally, I've never heard of anything.

    Just so we know what we're talking about. . . .

    Theology
    1 :the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially :the study of God and of God's relation to the world
    Source: Merriam-Webster​

    And so there's no confusion, the difference between theology and the philosophy of religion is:

    "The philosophy of religion has been distinguished from theology by pointing out that, for theology, "its critical reflections are based on religious convictions". Also, "theology is responsible to an authority that initiates its thinking, speaking, and witnessing ... [while] philosophy bases its arguments on the ground of timeless evidence."
    Source: Wikipedia

    My question then is, considering the nature of theology, is it of any true substantive value, or is it just a playground where people indulge themselves in assembling the blocks of their religious convictions?

    If there is substantial worth to what they do, please share.

    .
     
    #1 Skwim, Oct 5, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    To me that wikipedia entry is simplistic at best. For example the article which contains a long discussion with this note in the middle: http://www.westminster.edu/staff/brennie/RelPhi222/Rennie 2014 Phil of Rel.pdf

    I believe that this is enough to substantiate my claim: the so-called “Philosophy of Religion” has simply failed to distinguish itself from philosophical theology.


    Given that the practice is a mess, what about in theory. Here I'd assert that philosophy of religion is an intellectual pursuit of those who seek to understand religion or a religion in a theoretical way. Theology to me is for believers who want to understand intellectually how other believers have viewed various scriptures and lives of followers of the religion.

    In other words, there are two purposes served by two different approaches.
     
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  3. Daemon Sophic

    Daemon Sophic Avatar in flux

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    To me it is an interesting topic that one might study on the side. But it is in no way a job that is useful to humanity.
    It builds no infrastructure or product, grows no food, cures no disease or injury, does not advance our understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, etc....etc...it does not organize people or systems of work in order to improve efficiency of services......

    One exception might be using theology as a tool (along with others) in working as some form of psychologist or counselor. Although, most that would need such therapy are likely there due to mental injuries inflicted by their own and their society's adherence to said theological beliefs.
     
  4. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    It's just a thought...

    In my "belief" I suppose "God" is the subconscious mind. Since I believe folks create their own God anyway, maybe I could make a religion based on the subconscious mind being God. Theology in this case would then be the study of our subconscious mind. In which case Sigmund Freud could be one of our greatest prophets.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Curious, do you consider theology that's qualified by the word "philosophical" to be a different animal than plain ol' theology?

    Forgive me, but I'm going to stick with a more authoritative source.

    .
     
  6. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    The problem with definitions is that different people have different definitions such as philosphy that bases its argument on timeless evidence. Timeless according to who?

    I see theological faith as quite substantive in value as it uses "powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ"

    So, apparently, philosophies can also be warped and not based on timeless evidence
     
    #6 KenS, Oct 5, 2017
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  7. JustWondering

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    Tons of people have gotten rich using religion, so yes, theology can be useful.
     
  8. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Gotta ask the Encyclopedia Britannica, the original source of the statement.

    Is theological faith different from plain old faith? And what relevance does it have to the discussion?

    .
     
  9. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    #1 Theology is not the same as religion.

    #2 How can it be useful in helping people get rich? All those that I'm aware of who've gotten rich off of religion have done so by psychologically manipulating the sheep. Scaring them into buying their way into heaven.

    .
     
  10. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly enough, the Bible has been the same for almost 2,000 years but the Encyclopedia Britannica has changed in one century.

    .
    It depends on your definition of plain old faith :D

    As far as relevance, I thought you brought up the subject.
     
  11. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about the other religions, but if you operate the spiritual principles that are written, your spirit, soul and body will prosper. No manipulating necessary.
     
  12. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Well-Known Member

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    Like with any philosophy, I think there are useful parts and not-so-useful parts. I tend to favor analytical theology as being very useful and constructive.
     
  13. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    My authoritative source is Philosophy and Christian Theology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) which includes some germane discussion such as:

    In the last forty years, however, philosophers of religion have returned to the business of theorizing about many of the traditional doctrines of Christianity and have begun to apply the tools of contemporary philosophy in ways that are somewhat more eclectic than what was envisioned under the Augustinian or Thomistic models. In keeping with the recent academic trend, contemporary philosophers of religion have been unwilling to maintain hard and fast distinctions between the two disciplines. As a result, it is often difficult in reading recent work to distinguish what the philosophers are doing from what the theologians (and philosophers) of past centuries regarded as strictly within the theological domain. Indeed, philosophers and theologians alike are now coming to use the term “analytic theology” to refer to theological work that aims to explore and unpack theological doctrines in a way that draws on the resources, methods, and relevant literature of contemporary analytic philosophy. The use of this term reflects the heretofore largely unacknowledged reality that the sort of work now being done under the label “philosophical theology” is as much theology as it is philosophical.
     
  14. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Of course the Encyclopedia Britannica has changed. It goes to the very nature of the book, which makes your comparison quite odd.

    As for the unchanging nature of the Bible. Since 1388 there have been at least 108 different complete English versions of the Bible, plus 34 incomplete English versions since 1826, none of which, of course, can be called the same.

    Nope. I was talking about theology, a study, not theological faith. Whatever that consists of.

    .
     
    #14 Skwim, Oct 5, 2017
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  15. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    In what manner has it been useful and constructive?
     
  16. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing. :thumbsup:

    .
     
  17. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Given the influence of theology on the development of philosophy, natural philosophy, the sciences and countless other aspects of modern thought now deemed 'secular', then it certainly has had substantive value.
     
  18. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    All lot of exaggeration goes a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way. [​IMG]

    .
     
  19. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Inane, even by your standards.

    It's almost as if the single biggest influence on historical Western thought could be expected to have a significant and substantive impact on Western thought...

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    It's not nessessary, but it does provide some useful benefit.
     
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