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Monday, March 19, 2012

A Thought on Seminary

I am in seminary. And I have a few problems with it. Many seminaries, far from being factories of the unity and ecumenism they preach, are mills of division, equipping their students with sharpened stones to kill and dissect scripture and study its entrails like ancient haruspices. Teachers and students alike, froth at the mouth and slobber over the theological pedants of antiquity some of whom are self-righteous and hypocritical prigs, others are redeeming lights whose actions in history are studied and admired but not replicated, at least by students of higher theology. In our punctilious pretensions as learned seminarians, we mock and defame less educated Christians as “fundamentalists” (a term that has irreparably condescending connotations thanks to its continued pejorative use among “intellectuals” or liberal Christians). What makes this all the worse is that in the same hypocritical-breath we praise unity and call for a utopian ecumenism. 

The only fault of fundamentalists is that they simply draw a line in the proverbial sand and maintain that they will yield not an inch more to modernity and its holy empiricism. In many ways, such a high view and commitment to scripture and an unyielding faith against the forces of scientific pretension takes more strength and religious fervency than those more liberal Christians who have yielded all to modernity and postmost-modernity and sacrificed faith upon the secular alter of decadence and decline. Many so called fundamentalists love Jesus very much and are zealously working to mitigate social ills and are bound by conscious and scripture to alleviate the suffering of the poor and marginalized. This is not to say that fundamentalists are not wrong on many theological points, it is only to say that these differences should not be considered so polarizing.