Monday, June 21

Thoughtful Thursday – Top Ten Questions in Theology

I am using Brian LePort's blog on the top 10 issues in Christian theology as a launching point for these thoughts.

Theos - God

Logos - Words

So, literally, theos-logos, theology, is words about God. These are some of my favorite thoughts! I ask myself what is my relationship to the Divine? What is the Divine's relationship to others? Other people? Other things? Other components of the world? Other components of the cosmos?

I will take a few questions right off of Brian LePort's list, but I see others also. And I don't think these questions are isolated to Christian circles. I believe these are questions we all struggle with-or should struggle with. And they are in no particular order--just the order that came to my brain this morning!

How was holy scripture or holy writings created?

There are at least four positions -

  1. Holy writing created by God and humans simply wrote it down. Unaltered and protected throughout time.
  2. Holy writing created by God through human fallible hands and humans did the best they could.
  3. Holy writing is inspired by God, fulfilled by humans seeking to express their experience of the Divine in the best way they could.
  4. Holy writing is mythology created by humans.

This question is related to, "what is the role of history in relationship to holy writing?" If history contradicts scripture, does scripture adapt with new understanding? Or does holy writing have supremacy? Where is God in relation to holy writing?

What is the relationship of your religion to other religions?

I usually think of this as a conflict of definite articles vs. indefinite articles. Is a particular religious path the way or is it a way? Where is God in relation to religion?

What is the relationship between science and religion?

Does religion supersede science? Does science support religion? Will religious belief be adapted as scientific knowledge is attained? Or will scientific knowledge be disregarded if it contradicts religious belief? Where is God in relation to science?

What is the relationship between power and religion?

Power can be political structures, church structures, family structures--wherever someone has power over someone else. Does religion support standing in and with power structures? Or does religion support standing outside power structures? If you are outside the power structure, should you call power to account or do you totally separate? If you are inside the power structure, do you call power to account or do you adapt to power? Where is God in relation to power?

What about gender roles in religion?

Is gender a social construct as has been proposed? Or are there two definite genders? Or are there more genders? What are the roles of different genders within a religious structure? Equality among leaders? or separate but equal? or is there a hierarchy? Can women serve as well as men? Or can men serve as well as women? Where is God in relation to gender?

What about sexual identity and religion?

If someone identifies in a way that is not cissexual, is there room for them within a religious structure? (This question points towards an earlier question on holy writing!) Does your scripture support equal roles for all? Or are there definitely sexual identities that are right or wrong? Where is God in relation to sexual identity?

What about the role of education in religion?

Recently, there has been a movement towards uneducation. Academia has become distrusted as it explores areas that most people have no need for. It is primarily distrusted because it may conflict with those in power. Rather than having power adapt to education revelation, power often spins a big lie denying things that academia offers. That being said, religious academia is a little big different than scientific academia. Often religious academic thought offers new ways of interpreting things, different understandings of meanings, a more complex thought. And often, these thoughts can make our heads hurt! Should the religious leaders be educated and seek continued education? Or should they rely strictly on their own understanding? What about the people? Should they seek education? Or rely only on their holy writing? Where is God in relation to education?

What about suffering?

Does the Divine cause suffering? Is it a punishment meted out to people because they are in contradiction to the Divine Will? Or, does the Divine stand back and watch people suffer because of the choices they are making? Is there a middle place? (This question also harkens back to how one interprets holy writings above.) Where is God in relation to suffering?

What about prayer?

Does the Divine respond to prayer and prayer requests? If you ask for something, will you get it? Is the idea that God always responds to prayer but "in God's way" a cop-out for a God that does not respond? This is similar to the question about suffering. Perhaps the larger question is, how is the Divine involved in human lives? Does God directly intervene and respond? Or does God stand back with a hands-off approach, letting humans figure it out (often called the unmoved mover)?  Where is God in relation to prayer?

Finally, does God change?

Is God the same throughout eternity? Or does the Divine change in response to humans and others? If the Divine changes, what does that say about all the other questions? Scripture, prayer, suffering?

What are your theos-logos? Are there more questions you would put on the list?


#thoughtful #theology #questions


© 2013, post, Terri Stewart, all rights reserved

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