The More Confusing It Got

An interesting thought from Michael Pollan in his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual:

The deeper I delved into the confused and confusing thicket of nutritional science, …I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition than you would expect.

I feel the same way about theologians. If you will pardon the expression, I see much of it as “mental masterbation.” They think a lot, no doubt assume they are advancing a science, disagree with most other theologians, and sometimes come to very weird conclusions. In the end, nothing is really accomplished.

People looking for certainty in their lives grab tightly to the safety net of one or another of these conclusions and assume they’ve found God.

But turning to a theology for certainty instead of to God leads down dangerous paths. Divisiveness, hatred, bitterness, and all the emotions and attitudes Jesus warned us about.

I return often to a comment of the theologian Karl Barth who wrote huge volumes on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Mostly as part of the German theology movement of the early 20th Century he was trying to remove “Jewishness” from the New Testament. However, at the end of his life when asked to summarize his findings, he sang the little song, “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

I like reading theology out of curiosity about what smart people with lots of letters after their name are thinking.

It is much more fulfilling to read the first person stories of spiritual seekers. Better yet, eschew confusion and go on your own journey of the spirit.

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