Saturday, February 20, 2010

How do you judge theology

This is one segment from The Divine Conspiracy that I found to be food for thought. You can read my full review here. Although I didn't much care for the book, I thought this was one of the high points. Dallas Willard writes:
The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength? If the thoughtful, honest answer is: "Not really," then we need to look elsewhere or deeper. It does not really matter how sophisticated intellectually or doctrinally our approach is. If it fails to set a lovable God -- a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being before ordinary people, we have gone wrong. We should not keep going in the same direction, but turn around and take another road.

This of course assumes that God is love, which is a common Christian assumption. I am willing to make that assumption. Now so far, I haven't found a compelling or satisfying theology. I could come up with a concept of God that would fit all those requirements. However in addition, the concept of God should fit the evidence that we have and this is where things start to break down for me. I am intrigued by panentheism because it fits with my observations of this world. Also there are several books on my wish list that discuss the suffering of God, but I don't find the concept of a God who sits around and suffers with his creation to be very compelling. He would be a toothless God, but at least he would be a nice enough fellow.

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