Thursday, 31 January 2013

Theology for the Rest of Us

I have an idea. We will take all the old, dusty philosophers and theologians that nobody wants to read anymore, and we will make them relevant to the average lay person by translating them into current language that muggles can understand. We have done it with the Bible - please see the Message and Da Jesus Book. We have updated out-of-date devotional material - please see My Utmost for His Highest. Why shouldn't we do it with Descartes and Augustine?

It's not like we'd be damaging the integrity of the material. In the grand scheme of things, very few famous theologians and philosophers have written original material in English and none, I repeat none, of the Bible's writers were English speakers. Almost all of the important material we have now has been translated before and it hasn't suffered for it. Yet, for some reason, we falter now when all we have to do is make a few more tweaks?

The English language is always evolving. It is not the same today as it was ten years ago, six months ago, or even yesterday. We pride ourselves with being progressive, but our treatment of old academia is decidedly not progressive. If we fail to interpret the old works of incredible minds into this new English as it evolves, then we lose something precious to the vaults of history and the linguistically fanatical few who can still make sense of them.

And we should add pictures. Philosophy would be so much better with pictures.

I'll translate a segment of Anselm to give you an idea of what I mean.

(from the Monologian's ontological argument for the existence of God, §4)

In a nutshell, there's one best thing and it bows to nobody and nothing, 'cause it's the most awesome thing EVER! I mean, there's got to be something out there that's the best. But this best thing, if it's really top dog, doesn't need help from nobody. Stuff in general needs somebody to make it, or else it's not real, but this best thing doesn't even need that! The best thing has always just hung out and it makes all the other stuff, 'cause it's the best! It's only logical. 

But it has to be true backwards, too. The best thing makes all the other stuff and has always just hung out, because it's the best thing EVER - or else there's tons of best things! Pfft! You can't have more than one best thing! That's just stupid. So, clearly there is something or other that rocks, is totally top dog, and has always hung out.

Hey! We could make Anselm's Why God Became Man into a comic book, like the Manga Bible!

Scholastic theology goes mainstream.

"We don't necessarily disagree with each other or agree with each other. Mostly we just get confused." My dad, explaining to company how theological debates go in our house

1 comment:

Art said...

Are you saying the Bible writers did not directly contribute to the King James Bible? How could they do that unless they spoke at least a little bit of English?

I agree that pictures would be nice in philosophy books.