The value of a theology degree

So what?

You really are completely out of touch.

But your original post expressed no knowledge of them at all, not awareness but contempt. You asked " How is this different from any brand of Christian theology?", proving you thought this was typical of any brand of Christian theology. In reality, it isn’t typical of any brand of Christian theology.

So you say. Yet you’re a fundamentalist in your theology, your approach to the Bible, and your attitude towards evolution.

No, I’m just used to recognizing fundamentalists. I grew up with them. You show all the symptoms.

  1. Devotion to historic creeds and councils, as if they are authoritative, and horror at the idea of them being challenged.
  2. Contempt for the historical critical method.
  3. Rejection of evolution.
  4. Prioritizing theology over science.

This is typical fundamentalism. This is Ken Ham territory.

No. I don’t make any such conclusion.

Yeah I’m so “doctrinaire” and “black and white” that (unlike you), I’ve subjected my theology to rigorous scrutiny, and changed it on every point where I realised I was just plain wrong. That’s real “doctrinaire” that is.


Being an autodidact is usually considered a good thing.


And you’ve apparently done very little with it since it was awarded.

It’s just ludicrous and pathetic to claim authority from behind a pseudonym, “Eddie.”


Ironically, despite being an auto-didact (and fully aware of this), I can at least point to a theological paper of mine which was published in a peer reviewed and refereed European scholarly journal. That’s more than some people can say.

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By whom? Most autodidacts I know of make all kinds of blunders due to inexperience and lack of training. They also (generally speaking; there are some exceptions) tend to be supremely confident in their own ability to reason and draw correct conclusions, and to regard people with formal training with either suspicion or hostility. I have found that university-trained people (again there are exceptions), being used to having their essays corrected by teachers from very early grades up through to the Ph.D., bristle less at criticism than autodidacts, who, jumping into a field where they have never had to endure criticism from a teacher who knows more, tend to become very defensive of their pet stands. Try arguing with someone who is convinced, based on self-teaching, that Bacon wrote Shakespeare. Such people are impervious to correction of any kind.

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The more talented and harder-working university-trained people continue beyond the PhD.

Why do you invariably write in a way that suggests that getting a PhD is some sort of grand pinnacle, “Eddie”?


As I have done, producing many articles and books on science/religion issues, Biblical interpretation, etc.

I didn’t. I merely questioned the credibility of someone who has never attended even one seminar of a graduate program in religion as a commenter on the state of the academic field. And the suggestion that I could earn a Ph.D. in R.S. without becoming familiar with historical-critical scholarship (when one of my areas, along with Christian thought, was Hebrew Bible!) is just plain idiotic. (It’s like suggesting that someone could earn a Ph.D. in evolutionary theory without ever having been made to study at least some genetics.) Hence my rebuke of J.B. regarding my alleged lack of knowledge.

Adding value and contributing to peacefulness?


Yes, trying to steer young people to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics majors and degrees. :sunglasses:

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To be fair – a Ph.D. in mathematics doesn’t get me a discount at Starbucks.


but it does get you a better paying job so that you don’t have to work there. :sunglasses:


Yet if all young people chose that path, there would be too many people chasing too few jobs in those fields. So it would be bad social policy for all young people to follow such advice.

And in fact, young people have already moved in that direction without your advice, since the majority of young people who attend universities and colleges are there not for some ideal of education but to obtain training (or at least a piece of paper) that will enable them to obtain above-average incomes. In the 1960s it didn’t matter what you majored in; you would still earn an above average income with any degree. But now there are many fewer positions for people with Arts degrees, so students are switching naturally to either science/technology or business programs.

The only students who aren’t switching to sci/tech or business are those who (a) would not be good at those subjects anyway and/or (b) feel a strong calling to study history, literature etc., and have some talent in those areas. So the effect of your advice will be either (a) redundant, since self-interest is already producing the result you advise; or (b) destructive, since if someone more suited to Arts subjects majored in science or business, he/she would probably do poorly in those subjects, or end up in a lower-rung science or business job which made him/her unhappy.


By anyone who distinguishes the route from the destination. You’re conflating the level of knowledge attained with the means of attaining it.

I’ve plenty of experience of people who, based on self-teaching using Discovery Institute material, think that ID isn’t a smokescreen for creationism and are impervious to correction of any kind. One of them even claimed to have researched ID for over a decade, yet failed to realise that many of the presenters at a conference he had attended were actually prominent young-earth creationists.


No, but at least you won’t get short-changed.


What a coincidence!

I encountered an incredibly arrogant fellow who did the same thing–and he claimed to understand evolutionary theory so well that he could judge Francis Collins’s understanding to be inferior to Behe’s!


Given your own status as an autodidact in evolutionary biology as well as your demonstrated willingness to correct biologists about that subject, indeed, to correct the entire field of evolutionary biology about its core concepts, you might want to reconsider this stance.


So are you saying that we should leave the Religion degrees for those who don’t have the ability to do Math, Science, Engineering and Technology? What would that accomplish as there still wouldn’t be jobs for those with non-STEM Religion degree people. But it would make for more interesting ordering at Starbucks. I’ll have the supernatural, 3 flavors combined as 1 trinity mocha Frappacino with divine whip cream.

Nor will I! My arithmetic is as good as, or better than, that of some Ph.D.s in Mathematics. I grew up in an era where calculators were not allowed in the classroom, and where students were expected to do the computing themselves. :slight_smile:

What you are calling my “autodidacticism” in evolutionary theory consists of stating things like: “There exist Ph.D.s who work at major universities (Chicago, Yale, etc.) who disagree with some common contentions of mainstream evolutionary thought.” I don’t need to be an expert in evolutionary biology to be correct about that; I just need the ability to comprehend written English. Similarly, when I talk about climate change, I don’t argue that Model X is wrong; I argue only that there exist qualified, published Ph.D.s who disagree with the majority about the causes of climate change. I don’t need to be a climatologist myself to say such a thing; I need only the ability to read English. If I argued on my own authority that current evolutionary theory was false, or that CO2 plays no role in climate change, I would be guilty of what you are talking about. But I don’t do that. I merely report dissent from competent sources.

On the other hand, we have here someone without even a Bachelor’s degree in religion or theology, who writes as if he is the expert interpreter of the Bible (by his own admission Hebrewless and with rusty Greek), and knows all about how Biblical studies and religious studies are taught in graduate programs he has never attended, and calls people who have been through those programs “out of touch.” He speaks as if he has authority, rather than as an interested outsider. It’s that kind of autodidacticism I’m complaining about.

What I call your willingness to correct the field of evolutionary biology is statements like the following: