Torrance on Theology

Theology is doubtless the most difficult of all subjects, making immense demands upon our spiritual and mental powers. In it we have to struggle arduously and persistently with ourselves in order to develop a scientific inquiry in which we learn how not to project ourselves into the centre of the picture but rather how to allow the rationality of God to throw its masterful light upon the whole area of human experience and knowledge. Yet much contemporary writing in theology remains strangely shallow and lacking in metaphysical anguish. It is characterized by a marked reluctance to attempt the profound shift in the perspective of thought and language about God that is needed if theology is to be set back again on sound scientific basis. Unfortunately, too many are bemused by the idea that theology can be renewed for our generation only by returning to ordinary language and reinterpreting everything in terms of current fashion and popular opinion. What they often succeed in doing, however, especially in their appeal to the ‘non-conceptual’ and ‘non-objective’, is to offer modern man, over-anxious about his own lack of maturity and wisdom, a kind of tranquillizer, through disconnecting the surface of his religious life from the rational depths of his existence in God. Far from touching the real problems in religious need, this only serves to reinforce the blockage in people’s relation to God and to contribute to the emergence of autistic people suffering from religious aphasia.

T. F. Torrance, God and Rationality (London: Oxford, 1971), vii-viii.

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