unhealthy theology – the need to ignore reality
May 30, 2009
So it’s been years now that I’ve been working with the categories or healthy and unhealthy theology in order to decide how to take part in certain theological questions in church. Obviously there is still borders, since at some point I consider certain theological ideas to be unhealthy, to be dangerous to the health or the invididual and/or society.
More and more, an important factor in forming my mind on what is unhealthy theology, is seeing if these theological ideas require those who adhere to it to chuck reality out the door. Obviously I now need to recognize that there are many realities, many opinions etc, but let me point to some of what I consider unhealthy theology, because it chucks reality:
- Obviously creationism. The idea that all scientific research is false and dishonest. That observations must be changed to fit my theological system. This theological position chucks the reality of the scientific world out the door in order to get a theological system that fit. Now, I know that there isn’t concensus on everything in science, but this approach creates caricatures of certain scientific approaches in order to chuck them out the door, so that the theological system can continue to exist.
- Prosperity gospel. Working with the idea that God will bless you financially if you adhere to certain ideas, it ignores a great deal of it’s own theological tradition (everything on the suffering of the faithful in the Psalms for example), as well as the reality that this simply doesn’t happen. Many are people of faith, but doesn’t experience financial blessings. Others get rich from doing the exact opposite than what the Christian tradition stood for (for example dishonesty in business).
- I haven’t had much to do with the New Atheist movement. But the little I’ve noticed from them (see for example Bill Maher’s documentary) is that alsi they need to ignore reality to make their theological ideas fit. They need to ignore the reality that not all Christians, Muslims and Jews are fundamentalists, they need to ignore the exceedingly complex approaches that take the sciences seriously, and yet consider language of faith to be a nessecary component of talking about reality.
Don’t try and take this into specifics, because you’ll soon find yourself calling everything that doesn’t conform to your reality to be unhealthy. I’m still working this out, so help me here, but I guess it’s those kinds of theologies that make absolutely no sense to anyone that’s on the outside or downside of it, because it doesn’t seem to come close to reality, that I’m seeing more and more as unhealthy.