Why does Theology have to be so complicated?

It seems that everyone is trying to rectify their theology (faith) with something, be it science, The Bible, Naturalism or just some sort of validation. Do we need rhyme or reason for faith? Do we have to prove to others why we believe? What difference does it make? At the end of John’s Gospel Jesus basically suggests that it doesn’t matter what happens to someone else, what matters is your own personal faith and path.

Why worry what Science does or does not agree with?

Why (even) worry how the Old Testament fits with Christianity?

What matters is our relationship (or not) with God.


I’ve heard it said, the gospel is simple, but theology is not. So to the rich young ruler, salvation was not keeping rules and knowing stuff, but getting rid of his idols and following Christ.
Why then worry about theology? Personally, I like to understand what is happening and make sense of it, sort of part of being a science geek, so I enjoy it and it adds meaning to Christian life. I can see how those who tend to live in the moment and not care about such things find it boring.


It’s been a while since I read Screwtape Letters, but somebody recently was commenting on the importance that Lewis placed on clear thinking - so that he has the demons rejoicing to be able to reduce their victim into muddled confusion. That said, I’m sure that Lewis would also agree that this doesn’t mean intelligence is some sort of key “in” with God. Which would be bad news for the mentally impaired or young children or those denied education. Obviously that sort of exclusion would not fit God’s M.O. and most of us will probably agree that a faithful heart is not at all a guaranteed outcome of high intelligence. But part of being faithful would mean using your intelligence to the extent that you are granted it. More is expected of people who can go deeper than others or who presume to be teachers of others. I.e. We are expected to make use of the talents we are given. Given how much muddled thinking (or lack of thought) contributes to the evils of the world, we should rejoice to drive out confusion in favor of light and clarity wherever we can.

[Not to mention the pleasure that most people get from gaining new understanding. And if that is a source of enjoyment for me, then part of loving my neighbor would mean rejoicing in and contributing as I can toward their being able to enjoy the same - even just for it’s own sake.]

  • I think theology has something to do with transportation, some ride in an ox-driven cart, some ride a donkey, elephant, camel, or horse, some ride bicycles, in cars, or airplanes, Some get where they’re going faster, and some don’t.

I wonder if there is also pleasure in imparting understanding?

That aside, I see it more like

“this works for me, does it work for you?”

As opposed to the more dogmatic

“It must be this…”



I think theology gets less complicated when you realize the Bible is less god like. That there is no such thing as systematic theology because not all of the authors agree with one another. That the Bible is no more divine than the vedas, Egyptian book of the dead or even something like the Iliad. Some parts of the Bible says this or that. They don’t really know. Paul was no more in touch with what was happening than the Dali Lama, Kong Qiu or whatever religion ends up replacing Christianity just like it replaced Odinism, Zoroastrianism or the beliefs of those who worshipped Zeus.

Jesus did not invent the golden rule. Ancient Greeks and Confucius both said it way earlier. Even the story of Odysseus mentions only keeping one cost and giving the other away and so on.

What’s complicated is understanding what did the literature mean to ancient people. It’s to far outside of our experience to ever truly know. Especially given they seemingly believed different things.

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Perhaps things are only as complicated as we make them? it is said that the evil is in the details and there are some who seem to need to delve as far down as it is possible to go.

Without quoting more, I think the idea is that Christ claimed we needed the faith of a child, a warning not to overthink perhaps?

On the other hand, some of us need to think things through before deciding on what we can or cannot believe. Which takes us neatly to @Terry_Sampson whose attempts at wit sometimes reveals a deeper understanding .


I believe that anyone can understand the basic message in biblical scriptures about God and the salvation He is willing to give us, provided that the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and hearts. That is basic theology that is not complicated.

If we want to learn to know better what God told, His intent and what He has promised, we need to dig deeper. Digging deeper to the biblical scriptures includes some amount of uncertainty because we are fallible humans. The uncertainty and misunderstandings caused by incomplete knowledge and interpretation through our ‘coloured spectacles’ make theology seem complicated.

Deeper knowledge is not needed for salvation but it helps to build a more credible and stable worldview. When someone challenges our beliefs and interpretations, our worldview and life does not shatter. Instead, such an understanding about God and the creation gives a solid foundation to approach differing opinions from a confident and loving attitude.


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