Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Theology and being sensible

Richard Dawkins once said that theology departments in universities should be closed down because theology isn't a subject, since it studies something that doesn't exist.

Here's a response to that sort of line from someone who knows the difference between systematic and Biblical theology.

As Tom points out, Dawkins ignorance of the subject has led to him being a little confused. But beyond that, there seems to be philistinism at the heart of what he says:
"If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference? Even the bad achievements of scientists, the bombs, and sonar-guided whaling vessels work! The achievements of theologians don't do anything, don't affect anything, don't mean anything. What makes anyone think that "theology" is a subject at all?"
It reminds me of the utilitarian, "Why study Latin?" line - and Michael Oakeshott's answer. Because it represents an investment in human thought and as such forms part of the general conversation of mankind, that's why. You need another reason?


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