Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blog Reactions...

My friend Bill over at Life Interrupted wrote a great piece on the use of theological debate. His post hones in on a point I think is undeniably self-evident.

What use is theological debate if we're not doing what we're told to do?

Lots of people argue about which Bible translation to use, whether or not gays should marry, whether or not abortion should be made legal, etc. The fact is this: In about the time you take to read this post, thousands of people will starve to death around the world. A child dies of malaria in Africa something like every six seconds. Millions of people around the world will go to sleep without a roof over their heads and with no clean water to drink.

Don't get me wrong. Theology can have a huge impact on these problems, but it has to be used as a tool for good and not evil. It can be very manipulative and dividing. Also, there are a lot of theological problems that can be harmful to this planet. For example, when you think that the only thing that matters is the immortal "soul," then you're going to spend more money sending Bibles across the globe than helping hands. That's a problem. In the book of James, we're told that true religion is caring for orphans and widows in their time of need. Sometimes we forget about that, don't we?

If you want to minister to people, if you REALLY want to change people's lives, you help them. You extend your hand and SHOW them who Jesus was, not just TELL them. You ease their suffering.

The whole point, I guess, is to try and keep all of our ponderings and prattling in perspective. To the extent that our theological debates motivate us to act more like Jesus tells us to act, to be a blessing on this earth and help alleviate the pain of our neighbors, it is helpful and good. Beyond that, it's worthless. We should consign it to the flames, as Hume would say.

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