Today in a Christian theology course, different theological discourses were discussed as to their methodology and reason.
The course began with a distinction between embedded theology and deliberative theology: the former a pre-critical theology, the latter a critical.
Later the professor states, “Systematic theology tries to show the inherent reasonableness between theological doctrines.” Absurd, I thought, since the reasonable is contingent on a line of reasoning, a forum in which a type of logic makes sense: there is no essence to reason that one may capture.
A question is raised, ten minutes later, which at first I think is ridiculous. A student asks, “Is it possible for theologians in the same discipline [whether that be systematic theology, liberation, etc.] to disagree?”
The professor replies, “Of course. It happens all the time.” I didn’t think anything of this interchange, except for its ridiculousness, until the topic of mystic theology was brought up and everyone in the classroom began to equate mystical theology with embedded theology, a mere articulation of emotion. Now mystical theology represents the opposite of systematic theology. Whereas one captures Reason the other captures Emotion.
So, I decided to show why this sort of misunderstanding arose in the context and how it relates to a ridiculous notion the professor brought up at the beginning of the course. I said, “This point relates back to what he said [I pointed to the student] about whether theologians can disagree. When one begins with a notion of “inherent reasonableness” then it precludes any possibility of disagreement: because there is only one thing to see—the so-called “inherent reasonableness” of the theological doctrine. Mystic theology doesn’t target emotions. It targets that aspect of experience which gives rise to disagreements about what counts as reasonable in the first place.”
The professor replies simply, “See, where you’re wrong is that you assume there is an “inherent reasonableness” to a doctrine. People see things in many different ways.”
I prefer lectures to discussion because lectures, at least, can be forged, in the sense that one’s impotence in observation or thinking can be breached by the mechanistic operation of reading a prepared text.