The Foundation of Secular Theology

Traditionally, Christian theology (in many forms) finds its starting point in the perceived need to know God.  Most traditional theologies, it seems, are developed and designed to aid the religious person in the pursuit of a fuller, more intimate knowledge of the god behind the faith. This pursuit of personal knowledge is both the beginning and the ultimate goal of traditional theology.

However, in secular theology, it seems desirable to conceive of the foundation of theology as something entirely different.  One does not, after all, feel the need to seek out a “secular” theology if their theistic God-images are intact.  Instead, the secular mystic comes around to theology from the basic assertion (however tentatively stated it may be) that the external, interventionist God likely does not exist.  It is almost at a moment of crisis that secular theology is born–the crisis of lost faith, lost identity, lost purpose.  At least in my case, I do not seek an alternative theology because the traditional theologies are working fine; I seek because I find theism (and its proceeding worldviews) inherently flawed and disconnected from the reality of our universe.  The God of so many theologies is a god which many modern humans simply find unbelievable.

So, instead of beginning with the foundation of seeking to know God, instead of aiming toward the goal of more fully knowing this doubted and unlikely Being, secular theology (as I conceive of the term) begins with a different foundation and a different goal–an entirely human one.  Secular theology begins with the conviction that life has meaning, that humanity is valuable, and that the individual can (and perhaps should) approach the universe with a sense of wonder, hope, and perhaps even awe.  It is an entirely human approach to a world that is best known by science and reason, but that is nevertheless dissatisfied with the nihilism or hedonism which often accompanies belief in a purely mechanical universe.  Secular theology is about finding purpose and meaning in life, both for oneself and for humanity as a whole, without necessarily returning to every illogical and unproven doctrine and teaching of traditional religion.

Ultimately, any theology that I would wish to delve deeper into, and indeed subscribe to, must be concerned with giving to humanity a sense of solidarity, hope, and meaning–not necessarily with describing or encountering a mythological, external God.  These are the goals of my fledgling secular theology.  To find a way, even in the accepting of an essentially atheistic worldview, to assert that life is something meaningful and hopeful.

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~ by eternaldode on 10 June 2010.

One Response to “The Foundation of Secular Theology”

  1. The heart of the matter is that religion seeks to put God into a box and make a package which can be “sold” to potential followers. This system is, too often, self-serving above all.

    I like your idea of secular theology, and I look forward to seeing more posts about it.

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