170710 Editorial

In Blog, Theology by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

An important part of “doing” theology is the companion discipline of philosophy.  How so?  A good way to test beliefs is by applying good philosophical thinking to the question.  For example, a person may say they believe in taking scripture literally in every passage.  Philosophy will help them see that they do not actually believe that.  For example, in the case of child discipline, the Old Testament calls for stoning a stubborn child.  No sensible person would do that today because they understand that accomplishes nothing.  Or when Leviticus calls for not wearing cloth made of two or more different kinds of fiber.  My wool, silk, and linen sport coat is prohibited by that law.

When trying to understand the passage, several philosophical questions arise such as 1) do I actually believe that accomplishes anything good or God-glorifying and 2) what would the outcome of such an action cause in terms of its impact on those around us.

In a similar vein, some people say that God is causing everything to happen.  Everything.  After the football, game it is not uncommon to hear someone give glory to God for his team’s Win followed by a finger pointed to the sky.  Philosophically, it’s important to realize the if God is controlling wins in football, he’s also controlling losses.

The New Yorker cartoon above, takes a swipe at this well-meaning attempt to credit God with wins but also shows its fallacy.  Philosophy forces us to apply a second set of interpretative lenses to our interpretations.  The first lens is good scripture interpretation; the second is applying logical interpretation.  Either God IS controlling everything or he’s not.  It’s clear that we cannot pick and choose what we want him to control.

So the football player believes it is everything and therefore blames God for the loss.  That is a logical outcome of the first premise.

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