All Theology Is Relative

Here is my train of thought on this one.

1. Issues of theology – hermeneutics, interpretation, christology, ecclesiology – are all issues of faith. This means that only people who subscribe to a particular kind of faith have any interest in exploring, determining and believing anything about it. They are thoughts and beliefs of a particular group; not for all of humanity or for the world.

2. Faith as I am defining it here is a way of choosing a particular worldview that guides thought and action. There can be no right or wrong faith just as there can’t be any right or wrong human life. Faith is about how you approach the world and what lens you choose to view the world through. So faith is a process but then I also think it includes the results of that process or the belief. (Thanks to Trevor for pushing me on that point)

3. Theology is not a matter of science. One cannot argue for the death and resurrection of Christ through the scientific process (even though it is attempted quite often). As Joel Baden says in this article: “The Bible cannot both be a foundation of faith and conform to modern notions of scientific rationality.” I would take this a step further and say that theology cannot be from a foundation of faith and also be from science. All this to say – theology is matter of faith.

4. Since faith cannot be proven through science, and cannot fall into categories of right and wrong, then faith is relative. This means my faith is true for me even though it may not be true to you. Yes, I just made the most basic logical fallacy (That my first year Christian philosophical professor would have my head for). However, this is much more logical. I can believe any faith and you cannot put a label of right or wrong on me. Faith is relative.

5. Theology is relative because it is attained through faith. One cannot say to another that they are wrong because they don’t have faith in the virgin birth, or Jonah actually being inside a fish, or because they are a universalist or because they find no sin in a homosexual marriage. It is fine to say “your belief in _________ is not the same belief that my interpretation of the small sect of Christianity that I’m familiar with has believed” but you cannot say “you are wrong to believe that.” Faith is completely determined by my own preference. I can choose to submit my preference to an organization, or to a denomination, or to my own intelligence or to the creeds or to whatever I want – but regardless of what I choose, I am not wrong, I am just making a choice that you didn’t.

And yes, you can have faith that my understanding of faith is wrong.

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