Very convenient. Could a non-Christian really come to grips with this field of thought? The lecturer thought not.
This response came as a surprise to me, especially given that we were studying in a well-regarded secular university, not some two-bit, tithe-funded Bible college. I countered by offering examples of Jewish scholars who contribute greatly to the field; but no, the point wasn't conceded.
This whole approach is, of course, nonsense, regardless of what crotchety old Anselm of Canterbury might have thought "back in the day." It's akin to shutting yourself in to a deadlocked room, tossing the key out of the window, and then blubbering about how free you are.
But back to the question: what is theology? "Faith seeking understanding" might cut it for those poor wretches who describe themselves as apologists, and expend their energies whitewashing crumbling sepulchres, but that's about it.
To the rescue comes Robert McCauley writing in the New Scientist publication The Big Questions.
"Deliberate, conscious reflection about the meaning and truth of religious claims is called theology."Amen brother - high five! A useful, inclusive definition at last.
McCauley continues, making some further insightful comments, some of which I hope to cover in a follow-up posting.