Wednesday, June 15, 2016

8 - Religion and Belief – Not at All the Same

My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated, but not signed.  - Christopher Morley
In this post:

What is theology?

How does it differ from religion?

What does God (or
god) have to do with it?

1 comment :

  1. Very interesting and provocative post, Art. Here are a few thoughts of my own, plus a couple of questions.
    1. My impression of Judaism as a belief system (taken as a whole) is that it has drifted fairly far from its roots. Its roots are, say 3000-4000 years old. In the era when it was being codified, no religion could exist (or hold out against competitors) without a Creation Fable, detailed narratives of ancestors, Acts of Saints, a strong definition of the Deity, a full account of His actions, moods, tendencies, qualities, etc. etc. Today, few Jews would be in touch with that ... because their faith isn't either. Judaism at core may not be a belief system, but a set of rituals which cause the Jews to a) cohere among themselves; and b) connect to what they deem to be divine presence.
    The Jews are a people first, a religion, second.
    Now the question. To what extent is the above a background to your own rejection of "theology" in favor of whatever you consider to be "religion"?
    2. The Jews are alleged to have discovered monotheism (I suspect that's a false claim, but that's not my point). Rigorous monotheism spurns all intercession by other agencies: prophets, saints, or sub-deities. However, the presence of an interceding figure in other religions may focus the believer of those religions on scriptural narratives. After all, the prophet is historical and his words may have been written down. Along with the prophet is the prophet's promise of Salvation or Reward, or Eternal Life. So here's the second question: Does the presence of interceding figures in younger faiths lend vigor to the presence of "theology" in those faiths and importance of theology to those faithful?


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