Friday, October 9, 2009

Party at the Tower of London

"Philosophy has decided it is no longer the handmaiden of theology. Theology, likewise, seems to have rejected philosophy (at least in its worst moments.*) Thus we are left with the somewhat awkward situation of the two disciplines behaving somewhat like bickering lovers who cannot stop sleeping together, until the day comes that they might be reunited fully."

So I sent this via Facebook message to Kevin Johnston, and got this back:

"haha. Catholicism included?"

To which I responded:


In fact, I'm going to make a list of which philosophies all the different camps in theology seem to be sleeping with (or would be sleeping with if they were married to them), and seem to be at least flirting with.

WARNING: This is a somewhat innuendo-laden entry, though nothing said here is totally inappropriate even in the context of doing theology. To set the stage, imagine that all these philosophies and theologies are attending a party together with music, dancing and drinks (which reformed theology probably isn't partaking of), probably one being hosted by Socrates, Jesus and Richard Dawkins, at the Tower of London. Disco music is playing. Why disco? It must be disco! But disco interspersed with movements from classical works.

It seems that biblical literalism is living in sin with Fideism.

It seems that reformed theology is always flirting, in a mostly innocent fashion, with determinism, but if she's not careful he's going to try and catch her in a moment of weakness.

It seems that conservative Roman Catholicism occasionally extends a sisterly kiss to existentialism or modernism, or Kantian ethics, but has mostly decided that it's in a sort of tense polygamous marriage with Platonism and Aristotelianism**.

It seems that the emergent church really wants to get with postmodernism, and in fact the two have been caught in the bushes outside together on numerous occasions, but never caught going past second base.

Those new theologians seem to be the live-in lovers of modernism and secular humanism.

The de-mythologizers (Bultmann, et. al) have basically decided to run off with existentialism in no observable direction. If there were an observable direction, we might be forced to conclude they hadn't really run off with existentialism...It sort of depends on what meaning we give their direction.

It appears that liberal Roman Catholicism has decided to divorce Plato and Aristotle and marry modernism, provided that it can occasionally ignore what modernism is saying entirely. The two can be seen, when they're not cuddling in the corner, arguing gently about whether modernism has any reason to be jealous of secular humanism.


If anyone's got any ideas for theologies I've left out (I definitely don't have one for Wesleyan/Holiness theology, which I think might be due to that being my tradition of origin in part), please let me know; if I put it in the list you will be credited.

* By this I meant Theology's worst moments, e.g. the advent of utter Biblical literalism and "plain readings" to a point beyond what seems merited, though the rejection also takes the part of philosophy's worst moments, e.g. logical postivism or metaphysical naturalism coupled with extremely reductionist tendencies of more modern scientism.

** Dude, I spelled this word right ON THE FIRST TIME.

"Quakerism has been seen sometimes chatting up Buddhism and Hinduism in a fashion indicating a more-than-friendly interest." Removed for dubious connection made from Quakerism to the other two, plus the fact that one is in fact outright theological and the other is theism-neutral, and not really presentable merely as a philosophy for the purposes of the context of this piece. Thanks to the friend who corrected me on this point.]]


llgp said...

I don't have a suggestion of a love interest for Wesleyan-Holiness theology, but wondered if you might want to add Process Theology. It could be a rival suitor of liberal Wesleyan-Holiness theology regarding a mutual love interest.

kj said...

I'm glad you elaborated this with examples, your original message was much too heady for me! Haha. I get it now...

L-Po said...

I sleep with your father.

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