Time to abolish the study of God

November 20, 1998

The comments made by Graham Ward and John Millbank suggest we do not have a commonly agreed definition of what theology is, and until we do how can we begin to tackle the question of faith and theology? Theology has to be seen primarily as an academic discipline or else it is in danger of being sidelined as a testimony of faith. To state that theologians have also to profess the faith they are studying and to profess that faith in all its dogma and doctrine is to stifle the evolution of that faith.

Any student of theology knows that doctrine and dogma came through hearty discussion, debate, argument and heresy. We need heretics in theology as much as we need Christians and atheists because all contribute to the growth of an academic discipline and a coherent faith. I would also like to know who is going to define this orthodox faith that theologians should adhere to - if we can solve that one to everyone's satisfaction then the work of the theologian would probably be complete.

Fiona Thompson

Lecturer in media, Trinity and All Saints, Leeds, religious programmes producer for Yorkshire Television

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