Psychology is the study of the human mind and how people think. Theology is specifically the psychological study of how humans think about the idea of god.
Theology is a simple question: “What is God”. Anyone at all can ask this question. There is no University Degree necessary, no religious affiliation required, no commitment to Dogma. The Pope in Rome, asks the same question as a 5 year old child. The difference is the focus of the question.
The Pope may be searching for an answer about “What is God” as it relates to building his church. The child may ask the question “What is God” as it relates to where do puppy dogs come from. Both searches are valid in terms of Theology.
The Astronomer may search for God in his Telescope, the cook may search for god in the food he/she prepares, or the Writer may search for god in written texts. So, what is god? It is a word. It is a feeling, It is a faith, It is just about anything you can dream of or think about.
Theology is often used to provide proof to the faithful. Faith is acceptance without proof. Proof is sufficient evidence to convince. In the absence of proof one must rely on Faith. But Faith alone is risky, what if you are wrong? One could loose his entire investment. So the more evidence uncovered by Theology, the more secure a person can become. But is absolute proof even possible?
So what is god, anyways??? I enjoyed reading these authors in their search for God. Simple and uncomplicated.
Thomas Paine, co-founder of the American Revolution) : In his work ‘The Age Of Reason‘.
Bill Wilson in his work ‘Alcoholics Anonymous ‘
- Emmet Fox in his work ‘The Sermon On the Mount’
Many other authors, I find just to hard to understand, so I’ll leave those texts alone until the time when my level of understanding and comprehension increase. I do not think there can be any final word on God. The subject is wide open for investigation, and, any evidence, no matter how trivial, must be included.
Some claim there is no god, but which god is it that does not exist? Some claim that God is Nature itself. Now if god were nature then how can god not exist? Some claim that god is constantly dissolving and reforming. Is that not what nature does? What if God were nothing more than absolute reality, then would not my understanding of God be limited by my ability to perceive reality?
Myself, I claim not knowledge, but curiosity.
I can say with absolute certainty that God does exist, for the simple reason that people talk about god. This means there is something that exists that people call god. It has a name.
The business of theology is to explore what this word means. The whole (god) is but a sum of its parts. It seems wise to break down the study to these smaller elements. What people say about God (and many people do have an opinion) is one of these parts, but not the whole. And I must listen to each an every persons description. About 6 billion people. Also there countless books written by persons who no longer live, they all too have had an understanding of god.
I hope Ive made the point that someone could spend years investigating Theology and still not have the Whole Picture.
MY EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF GOD
I was raised by German/Romanian Lutheran Immigrants, (my parents)… Even thou I was raised in a Lutheran church , and spent the first 17 years of my life sitting in a building called a Lutheran church: apart from some good moral values, I learned nothing of god, other than he could part the red sea, and create whole world with just a flick of a finger. I went to the confirmation classes and did not understand much of what they were teaching. I could not tell the difference between the begets and the begot s.
Church I felt was a community, lots of nice people there, but not many who I would care to spend too much time with . And there was some good moral teaching, but could I survive on being moral alone? And the bible, what a mess. It was full of stories that only a preschooler could believe. Some good stories too, but the Absolute word of god without Error?
THE NEW LEARNING
I was introduced to the scientific method in high school. one day at home Looking at an image in the mirror discovered all by myself that the angle of incidence equals the angle of refraction. I became convinced that truth about the world was evident and available to anyone who cared to seek it. However It did not take long for me to realize that I could not prove every last little thing on my own. I would have to take a lot of it by Faith . I simply did not have the time or resources to prove each and every theory.
But how does one prove the existence of god? And how can one disprove it. I admire atheists. I have great respect for their logic. But the best an atheist can do is prove that a certain definition of god does not exist in any material form that can be seen or felt, or he could prove a defect in some logic.
The bible I was told was the absolute correct word of god, without error. So I asked, who told you this? No one knew. It was just taken for granted. It seems that people just told each other the same story over and over. No one ever questioned the bible or even gave it much thought.
Can one prove there exits evil spirits, and holy spirits, or spirits of altruism, or spirit of adventure or spirit of love or a spirit of greed? Testimony from people is evidence enough to convince that these things are real, even if they may only exist in that persons imagination, that imagination is very real. Anything that takes up time and space Exits, even if it is only a thought.
The bible I found to be interesting when I read it in the light of the commentaries I’ve read. In church we only had one commentary, and that was that of the pastor, who was an agent for the Denomination of that particular church. His job was to preach the dogma or cannon of the church. . Not much room for personal discovery, unless it fit the narrow view of the church.
So who is the authority on god? I would say the reader makes his own determinations. Theology is not a thing to memorize, but a process of revelation. Theology includes all and limits itself to none. Theology is just the study of God, which makes the Theologist a Student. Theology may include “the Word Of God, OR BIBLE” but is not limited to it.
People have found god in Sunsets and feelings. Things that have no words to describe them are also a part of Theology. Literature is not the only way to find god.