Agree or Disagree: A Question of Theology and Jesus

Agree or Disagree: Theology must be done in dialogue with the postmodern and post-colonial world. What is more, in postmodern, post-colonial cultures (with pluralistic consciousness) one can no longer claim the superiority of Christianity to other religions, or Christ as the absolute center to which all other perspectives of salvation are relative.

This would mean that dogmatic statements of faith, particularly in the area of Christology, need to be rethought and reinterpreted in a cultural, symbolic, and linguistic context different from the one in which they were first formulated.

Well, agree of course you may say. But I say, that’s not what the majority of people think.

What say you? And if you agree, then why?


3 thoughts on “Agree or Disagree: A Question of Theology and Jesus

  1. Disagree. Let’s see if I can answer in a systematic fashion based on your proposed belief of the contrary opinion:

    “superiority of Christianity”-I do agree this is where many Christians get off track. And there are many things the modern church can do to curb these natural human tendencies (they are natural just as one who disagrees with the said Christian notion would then choose their belief to be superior). Isaiah does say that God is at work in the contexts of other peoples. This is a fact I am sure. But just because I say that does not mean I can then relent on my position that God is ultimately revealed in the form of Jesus from Nazareth-which is the basis of Christian belief (even though we get that wrong more often than not).

    “perspectives of salvation”-again I agree this is an area where Christians have traditionally gotten it wrong. I do believe as Karl Barth would say in “a God who is big enough to open the doors of salvation to everyone in the end.” Further, it is a dangerous game to play when Christians try to do the work of God in laying claim to the knowledge of salvation. But we also have to remember there is a unique concept of salvation in the Christian sense that is different from that of other religions and, therefore, not comparable.

    “dogmatic statements of faith..need to be rethought and reinterpreted”-Not sure which ones you mean. I will say that other faiths seem to have a similar enthusiasm for their personal “dogmatic” or doctrinal statements of faith. I’m not sure we should feel compelled to ask anyone to change the doctrines to which they prescribe. Is pluralism learning to live in the tensions of many dogmas in the world or creating one universal dogma in the name of relieving tension (i.e. Rational Religion)?

  2. Ben-

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I actually think that the answer, whether it is true pluralism or not, is not the one that leads to practice of religion of the least common denominator.

    As Eboo Patel might have us to consider, it is actually in the celebration of the thing we share in our diversity that matters. Spending time in discussion about how different religious groups perceive charity, justice, hope, service are very important when trying to work together rather than against one another.

    But I would have a follow-up question for you: is it God who is most revealed in Jesus (the Nazarene) or Wisdom. And next, does ultimately mean, that God is limited to the revelation of God in Jesus?

    Just a couple of thoughts. Thanks for the banter. Others?


  3. Ah, well, since you plead for it, you probably guessed that as the orthodox Trinitarian, fides et ratio, Nicene-creedal reader and friend, I disagree in every conceivable way.

    Theology done the way described in the post may still be theology in some perverse, debased sense, but it is not Christian and certainly not sacra doctrina or sacra scientia.

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