Rigorous Theology

In a piece titled Creed or Chaos David Brooks recently posted his afterthoughts about "The Book of Mormon", a new Broadway play that he recently attended. I was fascinated by this one section of his piece:
Rigorous theology provides believers with a map of reality. These maps may seem dry and schematic — most maps do compared with reality — but they contain the accumulated wisdom of thousands of co-believers who through the centuries have faced similar journeys and trials.

Rigorous theology allows believers to examine the world intellectually as well as emotionally. Many people want to understand the eternal logic of the universe, using reason and logic to wrestle with concrete assertions and teachings.

Rigorous theology helps people avoid mindless conformity. Without timeless rules, we all have a tendency to be swept up in the temper of the moment. But tough-minded theologies are countercultural. They insist on principles and practices that provide an antidote to mere fashion.

Rigorous theology delves into mysteries in ways that are beyond most of us. For example, in her essay, “Creed or Chaos,” Dorothy Sayers argues that Christianity’s advantage is that it gives value to evil and suffering. Christianity asserts that “perfection is attained through the active and positive effort to wrench real good out of a real evil.” This is a complicated thought most of us could not come up with (let alone unpack) outside of a rigorous theological tradition.
I found Brooks' thoughts to be interesting ones. But as I read them I got the impression (and I may be wrong) that he does not understand that the heart of rigorous theology is the heart. With the heart a person trusts the Lord. With a strong regenerated heart one is able to resist temptation. The heart, and not the head, is able to deal with suffering.

So for me, a theology that is filled with rules and logic is one that I think appeals to a narrow segment of people. I am more drawn to a theology that focuses more on love, mercy and forgiveness than one that prescribes religious rules for living.. although I do recognize that the two are not mutually exclusive of each other.

1 comment:

  1. "Rigorous theology helps people avoid mindless conformity."

    Many times a rigorous theology is included in the mindless conformity package. ;-)


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.