Saturday, July 11, 2009

Queen of the Sciences

A long time ago, theology was called the “queen of the sciences”. All the other sciences took their cue from the findings of theology. Those days are gone forever. In the few universities where theology is still studied, no one seems interested in the insights of the theologians. I don’t completely decry the development. Angels dancing on pinheads probably shouldn’t bother physicists, and the weight of a soul shouldn’t consume the debates of biologists. Sadly, many of the modern theological debates seem just as esoteric as their medieval counterparts. No wonder, no one seems interested.

That being said, the pursuit of knowledge could benefit from some basic theological reflection. The sciences can pursue the hows, but only theology (or perhaps her handmaiden, philosophy) can explore the whys. Modern psychology might benefit from a serious reflection on the nature of sin. Business and biology programs should take into account ethical considerations. Our epistemology, paralyzed by subjectivity, could use a little Christian humility. Our schools do not need classes on “Intelligent Design” masquerading as natural science. Instead, we need citizens willing to wrestle with the limits of knowledge and our place in the moral order. The traditional resources and insights of Christian theology are just begging to be used.

You would think that theological reflection would at least be welcome in the church. Alas, even the church is looking for insight elsewhere. Many in the church’s leadership seem more comfortable discussing psychology and business management techniques. Meanwhile the traditional resources of the church--the Scriptures, the liturgy, and the Sacraments--are under-utilized. Theology remains an orphan.

Should the church ignore the insights of the world? I cannot sit in judgment. I read family-systems theory. I am a student of Peter Drucker. I like Thomas Jefferson. Still, I should be uncomfortable. I should allow the gospel to challenge my assumptions. Perhaps the queen shouldn’t lord over the sciences. Theology after all is not God. Instead, maybe the queen at best is prophet. She calls idols by name and counsels repentance. She calls us to follow Christ.

The queen is dead. Long live the queen.

1 comment:

Stephen Friberg said...

Love it! I've used your picture and linked to your blog from mine.