Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Been to Seminary? Whaddya Think?

The depravity of the human condition falls under criticism of the scientific community. By that, I mean that ascribing to the notion that there is a God who guides and intervenes in the activities of mankind is a fallacious notion...according to pure philosophy students. Shudder the thought!

I find it interesting and disturbing at the same time that the scientific mindset is at odds with belief in a supernatural entity. Way back in a course on logic, it was determined that one has to argue from a position of acknowledging God, or not. Arguments across the dividing line were deemed to be spurious from one camp or the other. So, the verdict on these arguments (from a philosophical perspective) was that they were without merit.

Where does one draw the line in the sand and witness, within the realms of intellectualism? It isn't difficult to discern. Either you believe, and argue on the merits of your discernment of that belief, or you don't believe, and you don't argue with those of the other camp. I like to argue with Christians!

Many in the Methoblogosphere are seminarians, or graduates of such. I would ask if your faith in God was put in question by virtue of seeking higher education? Or, did/does that challenge to your fundamental beliefs strengthen your virtue, and your belief in God? What say you, oh intellectual students/graduates of seminary....what say you?


Schowie said...

I went to seminary; graduated last May. I will admit some of the readings challenged my beliefs, and for a time I was in the "dark night of the soul" but have somehow emerged now, to actually have a more mature faith. My only regret is that I have to be careful not to intellectualize my sermons too much for my congregation. That's just my thoughts.

Brother Marty said...

Amen on the intellectualism thing....got to bring it home. Theories and the such don't bode well with rank and file Methodists.

Thanks for sharing. Hope others do as well.


Art said...

Hi Marty. I'm not a seminary grad (in fact I'm still working on my BA) but I have taken several philosophy classes, interdisciplinary studies and classes on religion and the like. I found that my beliefs were challenged at times but that this only served to make me examine what I believed (and why). This in turn only strengthened my belief in God.

John said...

I've been in seminary a year and a half. My faith has been shaped and I have been challenged, but I wouldn't say that the bedrock has stirred at all. I don't doubt the existence of God, as some seminarians experience.

I guess the biggest change for me is that before I came to seminary, I never asked myself what the purpose of the church is. Churches just exist because they are supposed to exist. But seminary is a good place to ask major, foundational questions like this with others.

Marty said...

Art, John,
Thanks for sharing. I've read and heard tell of students losing their faith when in seminary, as well as professors who seemed to question their faith as well.

Matt said...

I graduated in May 2005 from Asbury Seminary in KY. The greatest experience for me was to realize that there wasn't a question I could ask that hadn't been asked at some point in history by some faithful believer.

Even though I ended up with far more questions than answers after seminary, I believe it shaped and changed by faith in a very positive manner, because I really have an insatiable thirst and curiosity for the things of faith. I believe seminary really cultivated that.

In some ways, I believe I also experienced what some have called the move through challenging questions to the "simplicity beyond complexity." In other words, I still have complex and thorny questions, but my faith in Jesus Christ is unwavering. It reminds me of Karl Barth's response when asked to summarize his voluminous work, "Jesus Loves me, This I know..."