18 July 2006

What do Theologians DO?

From Butterflies and Wheels:

Theologians don't get special technical training that enables them to find God (how to use a special kind of microscope perhaps, or a special microtelescope), they don't learn research methods and equipment-use that no one else knows, nor do they learn magic tricks. So it's just bizarre to say that scientists have nothing to say about God while at the same time pretending that other people do have something to say about God. That involves pretending there is some kind of expertise or special knowledge that scientists don't have. There is no such expertise or knowledge. That box is empty.

I had a friend in engineering in university. She was possibly the smartest person in the program, and always had the highest grades. Near the end of undergrad, so almost decided to pursue a master's degree in theology. She wisely decided not to, then got an engineering job before bailing out and going into teaching highschool science (she always had a difficult time deciding what to do; she broke up with a guy twice before finally marrying him).

The question is: Given that what Ophelia on Butterflies and Wheels said in the above quote, what is it that theologians do? I can picture a lot of reading old religious documents, but other than that, what is there to study? What are your options for a master's thesis? Is it essentially a master's in literature, but instead of studying the small "t" truths handed down by wise dead writers, you still study the small "t" thruths handed down by dead guys but pretend they are actually big "T" Truths handed down by God?

Let's put it this way: For my master's, I built innovative full-scale building components out of concrete, steel, and fibre-reinforced polymers, broke the crap out of them, and analysed the results so I could build a computer model of the component for design purposes.

You can't attach strain gauges to God and test him in a hydraulic actuator.

I guess I just don't get what theologians do. So I'm going to look it up.

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At August 11, 2008 2:49 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually went out on one date with a theologian. She was doing research not on god but on the effect of church attendance on spousal abuse. So there can be some actual research done on sort of corollary type things.



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