Why Theology Shouldn’t Be An Academic Discipline

-I love this video. It demonstrates two things: first, that the fact theology, like the study of comic books, provides no practical knowledge about the world means that it should not be seen in university courses, and, secondly, that as theology is to be found in some university courses, it is a pseudoscience; a hobby masquerading as a science.

Also, note: there is no “Mark 21:12”. Mark only has 16 chapters. Matthew 22:21 is correctly cited. Needless to say, faith is not a good thing. Marx nerds have killed more people than Bible nerds.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

7 thoughts on “Why Theology Shouldn’t Be An Academic Discipline”

    1. G.M. Grena! I was about to write another disparaging post about your “Evolution Science”, but decided to write this post instead. What practical knowledge does theology provide about the world? The number of arms of Ganesh? The nature of the Eucharist? The number of Enki’s sexcapades? This does not appear to me to be practical knowledge!

      1. Define “practical knowledge”. Is it only useful info for a nurse, a journalist, or a C++ programmer? Should any of those students be required to study Physics or a foreign language? Should a university limit its courses to what a New Atheist arbitrarily believes is practical? Why should a nursing student want to be a nurse? To help unfit humans evolve? Who needs journalists now that we have Internet blogs? Who needs C++ programmers when we have Java? Or why not force them all to use Visual Basic?

        1. 1. Practical knowledge is knowledge that influences human decisions. Knowledge is what can be verified using logic or empirical evidence with sufficient certainty.
          2. No.
          3. This is a loaded question; I, by your own advice, refuse to answer it.
          4. Because he/she is good at nursing, does not despise nursing, and the job of nursing pays well enough for that nursing student’s needs.
          5. Evolution takes place over many generations, not over a single generation such as that of a patient.
          6. He/she who does not trust internet blogs to provide information regarding certain news events.
          7. What relevance do these questions have to the topic at hand?

          1. The relevance of these questions is that they illustrate your baseless, arbitrary, hence irrational point that theology shouldn’t be an academic discipline.

            On the one hand, you want universities to provide practical knowledge, including the ability to influence decisions; yet, on the other hand you don’t see the need to train students in choosing a basis for wielding that influence, or for qualifying those decisions.

            Without theology, how would a nurse know he/she is “good” at it? Would using a non-sterile needle be “good” if he/she didn’t like the patient? How would the student decide what his/her “needs” were to know if nursing pays “well”? Would cheating on an exam be good if it would help him/her get the degree to land a higher-paying job?

            Can science (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering) account for the existence of logic & qualification of certainty you use to define “practical knowledge”? See if you can find a university-level science textbook chock-full of empirical evidence from which “sufficient certainty” is taught.

            As a New Atheist, what is your basis for determining whether an Internet blog can be trusted or not? Can you trust my report of David Amit’s personal correspondence more than Kerry McDermott’s formal journalistic report that the Great Pyramid’s casing stones were removed by “centuries of erosion” rather than by being removed for post-12th-century building construction?

            Finally, by saying that evolution does not take place “over a single generation”, you render it incapable of taking place “over many [single] generations”. And that’s a fitting summary for someone who perceives theology as a “hobby masquerading as a science.”

            1. The relevance of these questions is that they illustrate your baseless, arbitrary, hence irrational point that theology shouldn’t be an academic discipline.

              -I don’t see how.

              On the one hand, you want universities to provide practical knowledge, including the ability to influence decisions; yet, on the other hand you don’t see the need to train students in choosing a basis for wielding that influence, or for qualifying those decisions.

              -If that basis is divine, this sentence is correct. Divine so-called “bases” are baseless-who can verify the revelations Moses supposedly received on Mount Sinai?

              Without theology, how would a nurse know he/she is “good” at it?

              -By the nurse’s success at that profession, as demonstrated by positive feedback from teachers and patients.

              Would using a non-sterile needle be “good” if he/she didn’t like the patient?

              -From the nurse’s perspective, yes, from the perspective of the patient, no, from the perspective of the law, no.

              How would the student decide what his/her “needs” were to know if nursing pays “well”?

              -Why ask me this question? I am not that student.

              Would cheating on an exam be good if it would help him/her get the degree to land a higher-paying job?

              -For the student, possibly, for possible patients, unlikely.

              Can science (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering) account for the existence of logic & qualification of certainty you use to define “practical knowledge”?

              -No, because that’s not its job.

              See if you can find a university-level science textbook chock-full of empirical evidence from which “sufficient certainty” is taught.

              -Most university-level textbooks have bibliographies.
              I trust nothing from the Daily Mail without external confirmation. Thus, I refuse to even click on your link to it. My bases for determining whether an internet blog can be trusted or not include currency, the backing of extraordinary claims with extraordinary evidence, sound logic, sound references, and a history of credibility.

              Evolution takes place in gametes, whose genetic material does not affect the somatic cells of the parent, but does affect the somatic cells of children. Thus, your second-to-last sentence is incorrect.

            2. I’m not surprised you don’t see how it’s baseless of you to state that divine bases are baseless!

              You’re playing a funny shell game with evolution. First you hide it under one shell using the term “generation”; then when I point to that shell, you switch it to another shell using terms for cells. Next I’m going to point to your use of “parent” & “children” & ask if there’s a connection between them & a “generation”. And I predict you’re going to say you don’t see how! Ha! Ha! Ha!

              If you don’t look firsthand at the genetic material of a single gamete to believe in evolution, why would you base your opinion of God’s revelation to us solely on your inability to verify an interaction between God & Moses? Answer: Because you’re adhering to an arbitrary dogma of New Atheism, which employs convenient double standards. There. I saved you the trouble of wondering why I’m asking you questions.

              Your response to the nurse topic strayed from the original context of a student deciding what to study, not someone already employed/practicing. Please re-read. We’re talking about the foundation a university provides its students that they’ll take with them into the field. My point was that theology is necessary to discern what’s “good”. Your point seems to be that if Hitler orders a nurse to assist a vivisection on a Jew & gives him/her positive feedback, then you’d conclude this is a “good” job. (And if you argue that the patient has to give positive feedback too, then I would simply switch to Hitler ordering the nurse to take care of wounded Nazi soldiers.) Gang members give positive feedback to each other after committing crimes. Bluntly, your use of the word “good” is baseless.

              You missed/avoided the point (pun intended) of my needle question. You gave answers from the perspective of the nurse & patient (the law is not a person; people who make & enforce laws would be a separate subject), but you didn’t give any basis for those answers. From a New Atheist’s perspective who views theology as a pseudo-science, why would it be unequivocally/absolutely “good” for the nurse & not “good” for the patient? Are there situations where you’d argue for the converse? Is it ever not “good” for a nurse to not like a patient? If so, then your perspective is utterly irrelevant.

              I know you’re not the student! It’s funny how in the middle of a conversation where you’re forced to defend your dogmatic absolute (i.e., theology shouldn’t be an academic discipline), you resort to, “Why ask me?” I’m asking you these questions to see if you can support your position rationally, or to figuratively box you into a philosophical corner where you admit your position is foolish, or curl up into an intellectual fetus position & whimper that you don’t see how questions expose your idea as foolishness.

              First you stated that university courses should provide practical knowledge, which according to your own definition thereof, requires logic & certainty, which you yourself said is not the job of physics, chemistry, biology, & engineering.

              I hear crickets chirping in the halls of Pithom University. Feel free to have the last word in this thread … if you can get a word in edgewise among the crickets.

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