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Why Should I Learn Theology?


Endemoniada
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So at my school, I am required to take classes in both Philosophy (great idea) and Theology (not so great idea). I am really not looking forward to sitting through three hours of religious bullshit each week just so I can graduate. I have heard from a friend who is a Theology major that it helped her think critically about religion, but I'm not sure I'll have as positive an experience with Theology, especially after my dissapointing philosophy experience. Has anyone else gone through with this, and how did you deal with it? I'm worried that I'll get a biased professor who'll give me a harder time for being one of a few atheists in the class. Regardless of what happens, I hope I'll get to have a lot of fun tearing apart the arguments of the jeebus people.

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That's an extremely weird requirement for a public School, whether it be HS, CC, or U.  At my U, we had general reasoning and literature requirements, but there were literally dozens of class to choose from that met any single requirement.  I could see how it could be interesting, and relevant given the world we live in.  But, you need an unbiased teacher to make the class worthwhile.

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Theology doesn't need to be a bad experience. If nothing else, it is gaining knowledge of why other people think like they do, and why you don't think that way. Better understanding promotes communication without confrontation. That said, with some people it is unavoidable, and in that case you are that much better equipped to show them why they are full of shit (which they will never admit.)

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A general theology course can give you some insight into other cultures and also give you a sense of the history of those cultures, which I think would be pretty interesting. However, I hope that your school isn't in an area like the deep South of the U.S. where a theology course could potentially be taught as a "Why the Bible is true and these other religions aren't" class, because that would suck.

 

EDIT: If you're talking about a college or university-level class, then it might actually be interesting, and the professor probably won't give a rat's ass what religion you are or aren't.

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I'd probably be seated in the back of the class with a big shit eating grin on my face while stiffling giggles... But that's just me. Good luck trying to keep your cool. And some good advice a very learned person told me years ago - pick your shots.

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Regardless of what people may think, religions are an important part of human society and learning about them can give you a deeper understanding of the culture. The history of Europe and the US is filled with Christian influence, and having some understanding of Christianity can help you put things in context when you study history. You don't have to believe it, you just need to try and understand the perspective of where they are coming from for your class. 

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Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.

Robert A. Heinlein

 

There's several variations of that saying, including one attributed to Oscar Wilde. Someone put this together combining them:

cN7VXTI.jpg

 

 

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Sorry but I beg to differ. With so many other more useful and productive things to study I believe what you posited is something for someone who has studied everything else. Many of us already are painfully aware of where 'they're coming from' as you put it. And regarding the xtian influence on Europe and the U.S. - well, in Europe they've shown us what they think of it and justifably so - churches are dead, religion is dying out, the majority of people have arrived into the 21st century where they've rightfully discarded the chains of the xtian cult. Over here in the U.S.? All one has to do is take a journey down South to see the effects the cult has caused. Religious billboards every other mile or so it seems and a church on every street corner along with a populace still mired in the 1800s are enough of the study one requires. Actually, what HymenaeusAlexander stated so succintly and much less acrimoniously than I wrote sums it all up when he simply states it's never any help.

Regardless of what people may think, religions are an important part of human society and learning about them can give you a deeper understanding of the culture. The history of Europe and the US is filled with Christian influence, and having some understanding of Christianity can help you put things in context when you study history. You don't have to believe it, you just need to try and understand the perspective of where they are coming from for your class. 

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I think Religious History is extremely important because It shows what the result is of forcing religion down people's throats. And theology will help teach that it's all been tried before and failed. bill

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Sorry but I beg to differ. With so many other more useful and productive things to study I believe what you posited is something for someone who has studied everything else. Many of us already are painfully aware of where 'they're coming from' as you put it. And regarding the xtian influence on Europe and the U.S. - well, in Europe they've shown us what they think of it and justifably so - churches are dead, religion is dying out, the majority of people have arrived into the 21st century where they've rightfully discarded the chains of the xtian cult. Over here in the U.S.? All one has to do is take a journey down South to see the effects the cult has caused. Religious billboards every other mile or so it seems and a church on every street corner along with a populace still mired in the 1800s are enough of the study one requires. Actually, what HymenaeusAlexander stated so succintly and much less acrimoniously than I wrote sums it all up when he simply states it's never any help.

Regardless of what people may think, religions are an important part of human society and learning about them can give you a deeper understanding of the culture. The history of Europe and the US is filled with Christian influence, and having some understanding of Christianity can help you put things in context when you study history. You don't have to believe it, you just need to try and understand the perspective of where they are coming from for your class. 

I was aiming more for the historical context. Understanding theology is helpful, and I'm not just talking about Christianity.

 

Christianity has absorbed more than just the Hebrew religion it has assimilated many of traditions of the Pagan world and made it their own: http://www.litjournal.com/docs/fea_pagan2.html

(this is why I get some lulz when I hear some Christians complaining about how paganism is corrupting their kidsrolleyes.gif)

 

Some of the myths of Judiasm (and in turn Christianity) has some bases in Mesopotamian mythology. Although, I haven't done any deep research on the subject yet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panbabylonism

 

There is a lot more to theology than just Christianity and it is critical to have some understanding of the subject to understand history, and what kind of logic the people at the time were using.

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So at my school, I am required to take classes in both Philosophy (great idea) and Theology (not so great idea). I am really not looking forward to sitting through three hours of religious bullshit each week just so I can graduate. I have heard from a friend who is a Theology major that it helped her think critically about religion, but I'm not sure I'll have as positive an experience with Theology, especially after my dissapointing philosophy experience. Has anyone else gone through with this, and how did you deal with it? I'm worried that I'll get a biased professor who'll give me a harder time for being one of a few atheists in the class. Regardless of what happens, I hope I'll get to have a lot of fun tearing apart the arguments of the jeebus people.

  firedevil.gif

 

It might be better than algebra?

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That would be correct, Bill, if that is exactly the way they would teach it. However, from the way I interpreted the defense of it, the person portrayed the teaching of it as innoculous, ie: nothing really harmful, just studying it like anything else such as Biology, American History, etc.

I think Religious History is extremely important because It shows what the result is of forcing religion down people's throats. And theology will help teach that it's all been tried before and failed. bill

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That's an extremely weird requirement for a public School, whether it be HS, CC, or U.  At my U, we had general reasoning and literature requirements, but there were literally dozens of class to choose from that met any single requirement.  I could see how it could be interesting, and relevant given the world we live in.  But, you need an unbiased teacher to make the class worthwhile.

I go to a private liberal arts school affiliated with a denomination, but it is by no means a Christian school. Unfortunately, there are only a few classes to choose from, and the one that interests me (Theology and Ethics) is not available next term, at least not the times I want.

 

A general theology course can give you some insight into other cultures and also give you a sense of the history of those cultures, which I think would be pretty interesting. However, I hope that your school isn't in an area like the deep South of the U.S. where a theology course could potentially be taught as a "Why the Bible is true and these other religions aren't" class, because that would suck.

 

EDIT: If you're talking about a college or university-level class, then it might actually be interesting, and the professor probably won't give a rat's ass what religion you are or aren't.

I'm in the Midwest, but still technically in the Bible Belt, regretfully. Most of the students and quite a few teachers are at least nominal Christians, and from what I've heard of the classes, they range from "Thinking more critically about religion" to "bullshit". And after taking a Philosophy class that didn't challenge me and was more a history of philosophy than philosophy itself, I have bad feelings about this class as well. And I don't think it's from the perspective of analyzing the beliefs of different cultures, given my current information. However, there is a sociology of religion course, which I might take next year, and will likely be from that perspective. :)

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Guest r3alchild

 

 

Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.

Robert A. Heinlein

There's several variations of that saying, including one attributed to Oscar Wilde. Someone put this together combining them:

cN7VXTI.jpg

 

Fucking cool
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Sorry the philosophy course was BS. I bet they didn't even cover anything outside of Europe...

If it was a world history of philosophy, that would have been really, really, cool. Compare the Zhuangzi (famous butterfly story included, I think, as well as the fish dialogue) with the complete tool-shed-ery of the Lord of Shang. (In retrospect, there's a good reason the Qin Dynasty lasted only about 15 years. Once you start executing people in horrible gristly ways for any infraction, the difference between an honest mistake and outright launching a massive treasonous insurrection becomes... academic.) And, long story short, that's why there was a Han Dyansty.

...anyway. I sure hope that your theology class allows some room to think outside the box. It's horrible, getting narrow-minded professors. The sociology of religion class sounds really good, though... assuming that they also include Christianity. It always depresses me to see people treat mainstream Christianity any different, just because it is mainstream. Let's contrast the way

is treated: anthropologists are all over that in a condescending way - primitive, superstitious, etc. But... dang, it people - land diving takes way more sensitive and frankly impressive engineering skills. And what about cargo cults? I say, don't knock it if it kinda works(!!!) ...That's more than you can say for a lot of other religions...
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I agree with those who say it could be a good thing.   Assuming this isn't a conservative Christian school, taking such a class with give you cultural literacy in ideas and perspectives that aren't/weren't your own.   Just because you were a Christian doesn't mean you understand all of Christianity or any other world religion.   

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I had extensive theology as a part of ministry training.  This was a major part of where my questioning began, ironically.

Knowledge is power.

And, yes, it has practical application in studying history and culture.

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As far as I'm concerned, there is a ton of things to learn about in the world.  I only spend time learning about things that interest me.  So I say, if you don't want to learn it, then don't.  You don't need a reason to justify you learning it if you just don't want to learn it. 

 

The only way there would be a problem with you NOT learning it...is if you claimed you did learn it, and tried to persuade or influence others based off of that claim.

 

If your school is forcing it upon you, well then I guess you are screwed into learning something you aren't interested in....but, hasn't that been going on most of your life anyways?  Haha

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Learning theology can be a good thing. It all depends on how you view it. You need not view learning theology as a means of being indoctrinated into some faith or other. As others have pointed out here, theology can give you glimpses into other cultures and their histories, what may have had a hand in forming their societies. As an author and an artist, I find that theology can give me ideas for novels, or even fuel my imagination for a piece of art to create. I view theology as any other piece of fiction. And fiction can contain ideas that inspire as well as ideas that can be discarded.

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As they say, keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.

 

If you disagree with something it's a lot more convincing if you give evidence based rebuttals than emotionally based rants.

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Sorry the philosophy course was BS. I bet they didn't even cover anything outside of Europe...

Actually, the professor was Chinese, and we covered Laozi (which I liked), and Confucius (which I didn't like so much). And I think I agree with the responses that say learning some basic theology could help me formulate arguments against Christianity and other religions because I'll know more about the sort of things they'd say and how to counter them, assuming it's not like the philosophy course where it's too broad and simplistic for me to learn much of anything. I'd rather have a more in depth analysis of one religion or related religions than a class that tries to cover too much and suffers as a result. 

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