Philosophy and theology #introphil

kerkA very remarkable difference between USA and (North-West) Europe is the use of God and Jesus in common language.
Een merkwaardig verschil tussen de USA en Noordwest Europa is het gebruiken van de namen van God En Jezus in de taal van alledag.

No european told me he wanted to pray for something. I guess some europeans do pray, but they would not tell me. US-citizens do tell me they will pray for something. What does that mean for the place and status of theology and preachers and ministers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean?

Er zijn geen europeanen die me vertellen dat ze ergens voor zullen bidden. Ik veronderstel dat sommigen dat wel doen, maar ze zeggen het niet. Wat betekent dit voor de status van de theologie en van priesters en predikanten aan beide zijden van de Atlantiche Oceaan?

In most N-W European universities theology is not regarded high as a real serious science. How is this in Canada and USA?

In veel Noordwest europese universiteiten wordt theologie niet helemaal voor vol aangezien als wetenschap, Hoe zou dat in Canada en de vS zijn?


6 thoughts on “Philosophy and theology #introphil

  1. When you say that you will pray for someone it is meant as a gesture of good will. Some people in N.America consider the gesture an actual purposeful action that has real results. So when someone says they will prey your 8-year-old who was machine gunned down by your neighbour at the local school it makes them feel as they are suffering along with you but doesn’t interrupt their busy schedule much. Theology schools are necessary in order to train people in conducting really splendid and uplifting memorials which are also a form of release from public guilt and redemption for allowing sociopaths to wander around with assault rifles.

  2. Hi Scott,
    Thank you for this answer. I knew USA is different from my country. This gun-problem is very strange to me, for here almost nobody has a gun, a riffle. I do understand it is a major problem in N.America, and people do not agree on a solution at all.
    And what can one say to parents that lost a child in such a nasty crime? I guess saying you are praying is as good as any words of kindness.

  3. The trouble with theology is it presumes that there is an answer, even when there might not be. And then it says the answer may not be understandably but the work of a greater being operating at a level of mystery. The idea seems to be to reassure people that things make sense, even if they aren’t understandable, so no one should fall into despair. All the greater apes seem to have an inbuilt sense of fairness but only humans have worked out a way to allow the powerful to get away with bad behaviour and turn it into a moral system.

    If the ultimate answer to everything is not knowable then there can be no accountability or responsibility. The perfect criminal philosophy:-)

  4. In the U.S. academy I would say that theology is regarded similarly to how it is in Europe – in that it’s not considered a “real serious science.” Of course many theologians lament this! šŸ™‚

    But at a common level, American civil religion (with mild, sometimes explicit Protestant overtones) is still very common, though that’s slowly fading. It’s why you can still hear public officials say things like “we pray for (x).”

    My interest as a Christian minister and lay theologian in the U.S. is how “religion” in Western thought and political traditions (European, English, American) has come to be conceived in ways that make it a matter of personal (private) faith (understood as intellectual ascent). I have philosophical and theological quibbles with this, but we can save that for later.

    Thanks for posting, Jaap! Happy to be making a connection in this class.

  5. Not so many theologians in Europe are busy with proclaiming the Gospel In churches not so much is read in the Word of God and not so much is done about proper Bible study. Not many denominations in Europe are interested in missionary work in their own region. The church, certainly in Europe, is gone far away from the task given by Christ to his pupils: to proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom.

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