Here’s a test. Have you asked yourself any of these questions: What is my purpose in life? What counts as a good life? Do I (fill in your name here) matter? Do I have a soul? What is a soul? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why have I suffered so much? To whom am I speaking when, filled with gratitude, I find myself whispering “thank you, thank you”? Where can I find comfort when I can’t take another piece of bad news? What exactly IS my relationship to the divine? Does that relationship entail any special responsibility on my part? What are my moral principles and what am I willing to sacrifice to live by them? Why should I be moral, why should I even be kind? How can I love my neighbor—what exactly does that mean in practical terms? What can I know of God?
Okay, so you’ve got the picture. Some of these questions could be considered philosophical because they’re asking basic questions about life. Still, if you’ve read this far, then the God-dimension, or the vertical dimension, enters (or sneaks) into your questions and into your in-progress answers.
Although you may not have known it, you’ve been theologians all along. If you’re a dogmatic atheist and you discount the idea of God altogether, then you might consider yourself a philosopher, in the contemporary sense of philosopher anyway. Because in the ancient world, philosophers like Plato and Plotinus considered ‘doing’ theology a key part of their work. The idea of God was at the core of their musings—Plato called God, ‘the Good,’ and Plotinus called God, ‘the One.’ Now, while you may be theologians without knowing it, ‘doing’ theology means being intentional about asking questions like the ones above, and intentional about looking for thoughtful, rational answers.
‘Doing’ theology is a kind of disciplined inquiry. And that’s what this blog is all about.