Thursday, July 14, 2011

Doubting Thomases

Doubt and faith are often found together, and rightly so. Arguably, you can't have faith (as opposed to certainty) without the acknowledgement of doubt on similar issues on which you have faith. But when doubt takes over, one has to wonder what is going on. Into this very situation comes a movement known as analytic theology.

Here is a paper on the whole phenomenon of analtyic theology by William Abraham, from which comes this insightful quote from Van Harvey, circa 1971:

One of the most striking characteristics of Protestant theology in the last two centuries has been the emergence of what I shall call the alienated theologian, the professional who is concerned with the articulation of the faith of the Christian community but who is himself as much a doubter as a believer.
Van A. Harvey, “The Alienated Theologian,” in Robert A. Evans, ed., The Future of Philosophical Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971),113.

I would make two changes to this text which Harvey penned 40 years ago: 1) add "Catholic" to the word "protestant" and 2) I'm not sure that there is even a mjaority of theologians who are genuinely concerned with the "articulation of the faith of the Christian church." At least in academic theological settings...