Wednesday, 2 March 2016

RANT: Theology is not studying God!

Shocking, isn't it? I mean sure, there must be some fault in me for having too high expectations when I started studying theology but still. It SHOCKS me, how many people can't tell the difference between things you can and cannot study scientifically, and which discussions belong to a university and which don't.

You can't study God. You can't do research on God. It is not a statement for whether or not God exists. You can't do scientific research on things you can't empirically prove as a cause of observable data. It's not some kind of effing courtesy thing we need because people have different beliefs! Even if everyone on earth agreed that ”God” existed it wouldn't change anything because there has never been a clear definition of ”God” that would make what we define as scientific methods a way to figure out when this thing called ”God” is the cause of something and when it's not!

This is not about putting anyone's beliefs down. This is not exclusive to religion. You also can't study ”love”. There's no agreement about what it is. If people decided to call a process that happens when a certain hormone does certain things in your body ”love”, as I assume some have, then you could say that it's possible. But that doesn't satisfy people, because what they usually think of as love is characterized by experience, and you can only compare experiences so far.

It's the same with psychology. You can't actually study a human mind, a person's consciousness. We don't know what it is and can't point where it is. You can study behaviour, cognition and things like that, assuming they have some common cause. For some reason people just seem less aware of this with psychology and make so much more noise about it in theology. You can't point ”Hey, there the human mind is going, right there on the side walk!”. You can't put it in a jar and do tests on it.

It's the same with God. You can only study the content of religions, people's views on what deity is, historical figures, and things like that. That's what theology is about. It's a vast field of different sciences, including anthropology, psychology, literature, history, philosophy, sociology and so on. What makes it theology is that it focuses on the phenomena under the name of religion.

And that's why it's really irritating when people constantly have to use the university, a class, or even a seminaire for preaching and debade on whose beliefs are right! Sure, you can do it in the caffeteria during breaks, even if it's really loud and disturbing for others, but please, leave it there.

STOP giving your input on how relevant studying theology is for someone based on their religion.

STOP shaming people during class because they have different beliefs than you.

STOP making assumptions about people's every single belief based on their religion.

STOP saying that someone is unfit to do research on a certain subject because of their religion.

If you have personal issues with certain beliefs, and can't present them in a constructive way, without harrasing others, please leave them out of scientific discussion.

End of rant.