Is arguing theology worth it?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years discussing theology and have recently concluded… there is no point.

Orthodox means ‘right beliefs’, but right beliefs don’t necessarily translate into right action.

James 2:19 says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

The demons have right beliefs, even Satan knows the truth about God, but what do they do with the knowledge? And that’s where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. I could read every theology book there is, I could get a PhD in theology, I could discuss theology and teach theology, but it will not do me one iota of good if I don’t live theology.

After all, Saul was a student o Gameliel, he studied and he knew all here was to know about the messiah according to the Jewish scriptures. If studying and learning about God can lead someone to the full knowledge of God then not only Saul but all the students of the Mosaic Law should have recognized Jesus as soon as He made himself known, but they didn’t.

Those who readily recognized Christ for who He was often the lowly, the humble, the unlearned, those who had to rely upon their neighbours, their family, their community for their existence. He was recognized by those who knew the people around them were important.

Saul, despite all his learning, didn’t know Christ until he was struck blind on the road. Humbled, he had to accept the assistance of others in order to live, the very others he was trying to find and kill.

Too often, knowledge leads to pride and pride always stands between us and God because it stands between us and others. When this happens, often God will allow something life changing to happen leaving the formerly prideful to rely on others for help. Kind of like a heavenly slap upside the head.

Learning from, and teaching, others is part of my journey to becoming human. But how I do it will determine the success of that journey. Do I express myself in pride and arrogance; ‘listen to me because I know more than you’ or do I share in humility; ‘these are the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned, if you would like to hear them’.

Arguing and debating, especially about the things of God does not convince anyone. More often than not, these things play right into the enemy’s hands by causing strife, grief and broken relationships. I know, I have lost the good will of many people over the years trying to beat them over the head with theological arguments.

Despite the accepted definition of Theology as the study of beliefs about deity, theology literally means the study of God; “Theo” meaning God and ‘ology’ meaning ‘study of’. I need to study God and not just beliefs about Him. I study God by getting to know Him, by drawing closer to Him, by eliminating the things that get between me and Him.

The only way to truly get to know God is to constantly be in His presence. The apostles spent three years with Christ, living with Him, eating with Him and observing how He treated others. It wasn’t until after Christ’s resurrection that they fully understood they were travelling towards the Kingdom and they were commissioned to bring others with them using the same methods Christ used, forgiveness, love and humility.

Even though I was born two thousand years after Christ walked this earth, I can also live in God’s presence. God’s grace is all around me in creation, let me treat it with respect and gratitude. The image of God is within every person, let me recognize Him and love each person He brings to me. God’s presence fills the church during a service. His life is in the Eucharist. The words of the hymns and psalms wash over me teaching me more theology than any book.

This is how I can live in God’s presence, by being present in the Church. This is how I can proclaim the gospel, by loving others. This is how I can become living theology, by striving to become fully human.