Theology uses words to frame an understanding of religion… studying ancient texts (like the bible) and ideas formulated by religious practitioners. By this method it seeks to bridge the gap between religion and the secular world.
Science and increasing knowledge has destroyed many traditional beliefs. The question becomes ‘Is there anything about “religion” still worth defending?’ and if there is, will it be possible to frame words to achieve this?
Many modern theologians emphasise the role of ‘ethics’ as if that is all we can rely upon in the ‘religion’ corner.
I think there is something else. It is ‘experience’… not an immediate personal experience of a divine presence but what Jung would call the ‘Collective unconscious’ perhaps even a ‘genetic inheritance’ from ancient times. Within each of us there is an impetus to grow, to understand ourselves and the world, to bring the conscious and the unconscious parts of ourselves into alignment.
Evolution is continuing. Why aren’t theologians taking more notice of this? Thinking and analysis and scientific study isn’t the only way to understanding. EXPERIENCE is also a formidable and reliable method of understanding ourselves and the world.
None of these methods of understanding the world and ourselves needs to stand alone. Clearly, they are complementary. Just the same, at present we see them not always aligned or fully called upon.
Theology based simply on thinking or analysis can go terribly wrong.
Science which doesn’t factor in the fully lived range of human experience, cannot explain everything.
Even experience alone, can be difficult to comprehend… it is slow, often confusing and takes considerable effort to understand… but it is a significant human factor that must not be overlooked. ‘Experience is the raw material… the source of revelation.
The word ‘experience and the word ‘experiment’ come from the same Latin root ‘experiri = to try’
Theologians and thinkers EXPLORE.
Ordinary folk EXPERIENCE.
The wisest people do all three.
2 Philipians 12-13
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.
Computer operating systems have a back door into the program to enable changes and improvements. Could we not imagine that a Creator would have a way to communicate with the hidden inner life of human beings.
Bev Floyd (August, 2022)