Theology is relevant mainly in a few areas.
- Theology has a psychological influence on those who believe and study the subject, sometimes for a lifetime. The rest of us may regret that theologians don't apply their talent and intelligence to anything that clearly exists. The rest of us may also regret that public funding for theology departments at universities doesn't go to something more useful. Public funding could go, for example to research about finding cures for cancer.
- Theology has a sociological impact on ordinary Christians. Those ordinary believers don't understand sophisticated theology but assume their priests pastors and other religious leaders understand something real. Therefore when ordinary believers find problems with Christianity they often assume their priests, pastors know answers to what they can’t handle. Actually those religious leaders understand complex and convoluted thinking about something imaginary. See the article on Theologians for more about how religious people make shit up.
- Theology had a profound influence on social and cultural development of western societies historically when whole populations assumed what the theologians belonging to their particular Sect taught was true. Vast intellectual effort went into theology of different religions and sects. Therefore inevitably among all the superstition there are some real truths about human nature, for example. Believers even sometimes try to incorporate real science into theology, Old Earth Creationism is a modern example. (Real observations of the world have always been incorporated into religion/theology). If you want to learn about human nature, psychology and sociology departments at college are likely to teach you more than theologians can. Similarly those wanting to learn real science should look to those who follow the Scientific method rather than faith.
- Theology still has influence today among Christians and in societies like the Bible Belt where Christians are influential. Which theology is relevant? That depends on which sect or denomination is dominant in any community. Serious harm can result when, for example people are denied contraceptive advice due to the teachings of a particular theology.
- Value of theology?
- Sympathisers may say theologians should be respected since they are intelligent, intellectuals and put a lot of effort into their "work". Theology gives theologians meaning and purpose to their lives because they believe they are doing something important.
- Less sympathetic people see things differently. Many highly intelligent theologians apply their talent and energies to studying something that in all probability doesn’t exist. Wouldn’t it be better if these talented academics spent their lives studying philosophy or some other subject that’s actually useful? Public funds at universities, (alternatively funds provided by the faithful) are misused or used misguidedly to support the intellectual pursuit of ...? Well nothing.
Theology is relevant only to the extent that believers imagine it's relevant (imagined in the past it was relevant).
This incorporates material from here)
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