Sunday, March 18, 2007

Primary Theological Questions

I sent out an email to friends asking for primary theological questions that seekers might be wrestling with as they try to find meaning in life. A good friend, whose own email declares that she is a theology geek, replied quoting the Vatican II document, Nostra aetate. Her reply below is dead on.
Vatican II, Nostra aetate, Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,
Paragraph 1
"Men look to their different religions for an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence. The problems that weigh heavily on the hearts of men are the same today as in the ages past. What is man? What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is upright behavior, and what is sinful? Where does suffering originate, and what end does it serve? How can genuine happiness be found? What happens at death? What is judgment? What reward follows death? And finally, what is the ultimate mystery, beyond human explanation, which embraces our entire existence, from which we take our origin and towards which we tend?"
Paragraph 2
"Yet she [the Roman Catholic Church] proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 1:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19), men find the fulness of their religious life."

2 comments:

P.S. an after-thought said...

I'm neither adding a question or attempting to answer any of the questions.

I know that this is written with the traditional "he" "she" usage, but it sure jumped out at me because of how we are sensitized to this now day. In the paragraph, HE has the questions, SHE attempts to provide the truth.

More to your topic, however. Yes, these are universal questions, most likely not answered this side of heaven. I appreciate that the Roman Catholic church talks about the mystery of faith. The Lutheran Church talks about dwelling in the mystery, in the tension, in the paradoxes.

A seeker and a new Christian might expect to find the answers in the church. Some churches attempt to give specific answers. However, rigid answers and doctrin leave no room for questioning and doubt. When there is a log lying across the road, some may stumble over it. But those that leave room for the mystery are able to go around the log.

Shazam! said...

I wrote a haiku about this right after graduating college. My best friend at the time with whom I'd learned a lot about God read my haiku diary, pointed to taht specific one and said, "Shazam, this is why people worry about you..." That was over 15 years ago and he & I are still best friends. Not sure if he's still worried about me. I'll find the haiku & share it with you.