In defense of stuyding theology: why some argue it's not just for clergy - New York News

In defense of stuyding theology: why some argue it's not just for clergy

Updated:

By: Matthew Brown, Deseret News

Knowledge of theology sheds light on more than God's existence, and it can be useful even for non-clergy.

Those are the arguments made by a couple of academics who have studied religion and are blogging in defense of its worth as an area of study.

"While the study of history taught me the story of humanity on a broader scale, the study of theology allowed me insight into the minds and hearts, fears and concerns, of those in circumstances were so wildly different from my own," wrote Tara Isabell Burton, a writer and doctoral candidate in theology and literature at Trinity College, Oxford.

She said her liberal, secular mother feared her daughter was going to be a nun, a religious fanatic or nerd "agonizing over the number of angels that could fit on the head of a pin," Burton wrote in The Atlantic.

And while theology can be esoteric, she explained how this lost liberal art has broader application for understanding why people make the decisions they do.

"If history and comparative religion alike offer us perspective on world events from the 'outside,' the study of theology offers us a chance to study those same events 'from within': an opportunity to get inside the heads of those whose beliefs and choices shaped so much of our history, and who - in the world outside the ivory tower - still shape plenty of the world today."

Alana Massey, who graduated from Yale Divinity School, added in Religion Dispatches that the "theological lens is the primary one through which many of the world's citizens see themselves, as servants and reflections of the divine before all else."

She wrote that there are still important theological questions to be asked and answered. "Theological inquiry has present and pressing applications in the world and we would be wise not to leave all the fun to historians and the clergy."

Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly said, "If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that's how integrated (religion) is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today."

But he wouldn't get much out of the class if he took it in Quebec, where the principal of Loyola High School is pressing the government in court to let his school teach a religion and ethics course from a Catholic perspective.

"Quebec wants us to keep any explanation out of why people believe what they believe. You are supposed to say this is what they believe and that's it," said Paul Donovan in an interview with National Post. "The government requires that when you're dealing with other religions that the teacher in the classroom completely disassociates himself from any religious perspective or religious value."

In response to a question whether what Quebec is offering is better than nothing, Donovan said: "I guess they’re trying to find a way to let the students in a secular school gain some religious literacy - though I would argue if it’s just religious culture it’s not really literacy because nothing is really being explained."


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Accused Long Island cop killer found guilty

    Accused Long Island cop killer found guilty

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-07-28 16:45:20 GMT
    An ex-convict suspected of gunning down a Nassau County police officer and then fatally shooting a carjacking victim was found guilty on all counts in the murders on Monday. Darrell Fuller, 33, shot and killed Police Officer Arthur Lopez in October 2012 who suspected he had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Authorities said Fuller then fled that shooting and killed the second victim, Raymond Facey of Queens, while stealing his vehicle.
    An ex-convict suspected of gunning down a Nassau County police officer and then fatally shooting a carjacking victim was found guilty on all counts in the murders on Monday. Darrell Fuller, 34, shot and killed Police Officer Arthur Lopez in October 2012 who suspected he had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Authorities said Fuller then fled that shooting and killed the second victim, Raymond Facey of Queens, while stealing his vehicle.
  • 3 Nassau beaches closed due to heavy rainfall

    3 Nassau beaches closed due to heavy rainfall

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:27 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:27:54 GMT
    Three Nassau County beaches have been closed to bathing due to heavy rainfall. County health officials say storm water runoff can elevate bacterial levels and affect bathing water quality. The three South Shore beaches that were closed Monday are: Hewlett Point Beach; Island Park Beach; and Merrick Estates Civic Association. In addition, Biltmore and Philip Healey beaches in Massapequa remain closed to bathing due to elevated levels of bacteria.
    Three Nassau County beaches have been closed to bathing due to heavy rainfall. County health officials say storm water runoff can elevate bacterial levels and affect bathing water quality. The three South Shore beaches that were closed Monday are: Hewlett Point Beach; Island Park Beach; and Merrick Estates Civic Association. In addition, Biltmore and Philip Healey beaches in Massapequa remain closed to bathing due to elevated levels of bacteria.
  • 3 NJ mayors to announce anti-crime plan

    3 NJ mayors to announce anti-crime plan

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-07-28 13:03:29 GMT
    The mayors of three of New Jersey's largest cities are announcing a joint initiative to combat violent crime. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres have scheduled a news conference in Jersey City for Monday afternoon to announce the plan. The news conference is being held in one of Jersey City's most crime-plagued neighborhoods.
    The mayors of three of New Jersey's largest cities are announcing a joint initiative to combat violent crime. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres have scheduled a news conference in Jersey City for Monday afternoon to announce the plan. The news conference is being held in one of Jersey City's most crime-plagued neighborhoods.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices