Theology is not religion…

…nor is metaphysics philosophy

I believe the Three Initiates where utterly profound when, in the Kybalion, they categorized religion as merely a recognition of “The All, and one’s relationship to it,” vs. theology as “the attempts of men to ascribe personality, qualities, and characteristics” to the unknowable – specifically, the attempts of some to intercede themselves as the “middle-men.”

So, it is quite possible to consider oneself an atheist with regards to the machinations of men, while still acknowledging the fundamental awe and mysteriousness of the universe.

I also think it poignant that they differentiated philosophy as “the inquiry after knowledge of things knowable and thinkable,” from metaphysics, which they defined as “the attempt to carry the inquiry over and beyond boundaries and into regions unknowable and unthinkable.”

I present to you the fundamental difference between science and mysticism, expressed by a philosophy and religion many would consider crackpot and marginal.

Religion and philosophy I will keep; theology and metaphysics I give back to the men wearing the robes and bling.

That being said, one has to be careful about moving too far in the other direction: for atheism without room for reverence, and science absent of wonder are sterile, harsh mistresses, indeed. In questioning those who seek to intercede and control your understanding, be careful not to become that which you challenge. And when pursuing the knowable, be careful to allow space for the marvelous unknowable, which some may call god (small “g” intended).

Thus, when I look up at the night sky, humbled by the vastness of the universe and my insignificance within in it, I am become a religious man. Thus, when I set my mind to study that universe in a rational and knowable way, I am become a philosopher. And when I can reconcile the religion and philosophy in a mutually reinforcing way, I am become a man of science, at awe.


Filed under Parables, Philosophy, Religion, Science

4 responses to “Theology is not religion…

  1. Stewart Dutfield

    Very nice. NPR ran a brief piece in a similar vein this week:

  2. Pingback: THE TRUTH will not set you free… | The Cosmogonic Grunt

  3. Pingback: Science education is best left to the church | The Cosmogonic Grunt

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