Theology turns the other cheek

November 27, 1998

Lote reminds me of the 1960s, when social engineers were finding out everything about everything, and religion, like capitalism, was doomed as an outdated myth.

Behind the arrogance lay the conviction that whereas other people's opinions could be explained away deterministically as the result of upbringing and vested interest, their own opinions were freely held, unbiased and based on facts.

So what about non-theologians? All academics, except the most boring, value their subject because they think it matters. How many economics departments are committed to a balance between people who believe in economic growth and people who do not? What proportion of chemistry researchers oppose new technologies? In both cases the world cries out for a change of vision; but nobody thinks the solution is to abolish university departments of economics and chemistry, or even to appoint lecturers who think the subject is a load of rubbish.

Why pick on theology? Could it be that theology still has the resources to reflect deeply on the nature of reality, and challenge society's values?

Jonathan Clatworthy

Anglican chaplain Liverpool University

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