Friday, 24 July 2015

Queen of the Sciences

Theology was once described as the queen of the sciences.

But so was astrology.

Both of their majesties seem to have known better days.

An opinion piece in The Guardian raises some interesting issues. Andrew Brown comments on a speech by Richard Burridge of Kings College London ("a clergyman in a brightly coloured shirt") on Global Warming. The good clergyperson's motives were doubtless good, but he made the mistake of bringing the Bible (Leviticus 18 and 25 in particular) into the discussion.
... by the rules of theological debate, it seemed quite approved to twist his disapproval through 180 degrees, so to say. The speech left me wondering, for the umpteenth time, whether there is substance at all to theology, or why it is that highly intelligent and well-educated people of unquestioned benevolence talk as if there is. 
The nearest I can come to an answer is to suppose that it is the very dislocation of meaning that makes theology so unattractive to the rational mind, which simultaneously makes it useful to the practitioners. A theological image, or a story, is not anchored to the historical world in any fixed way.
Read the whole piece if you've got the time. Brown has identified the Achilles heel of much of the theological enterprise.

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