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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Making theology work.

Chutney at My Irony has been thinking a lot about ways Richard Rorty's pragmatism might help us do theology in our post-modern age:

It should go without saying that theology is not a science (and should not be). But like all other humanities, theology has been crept upon by the social sciences. The social sciences aid theology by describing religious persons and organizations, but they cannot tell theology where to go or how to get there—they're not built for that. The social sciences can help identify sites for new hearings, but they cannot write the script. The prime question of god-talk must remain the god question, not the questions of management theory, psychology, or the new sciences.

. . . [T]he question for a humanities-based theology must be "Does anybody have any new ideas about what we human beings might make of ourselves in light of this god question?" Framed that way, god-talk opens up to the wealth of human experiences—religious and not—which theology has at most remotely concerned itself with. "What could this experience improve my god-talk?" ends up being a better question than "Who is god?" or "How might I be saved?"

He takes this question in directions you might not expect.

Update 8.28.03: Dwight posts a followup at A Religious Liberal Blog, including this insight:

In some sense, God talk is periphereal, salvation is paramount. Sometimes it can be the case, it seems more often then not, that God talk can pull us away from what saves in the world. It can operate as a banner or rallying cry for one's own group, one's own tradition, one's own current set of practices. So to a certain extent, the question of God can dwarf to what I'd argue should be the reality to which the word God should be pointing to.

There's more on the liberal theologian Henry Nelson Wieman, too.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 August 2003 at 5:34 PM

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