Monday, 4 May 2009

What psychology can contribute to theology

Inspired by a dialogue with Catherine Whittle at tea this afternoon:

Possibly an article for the Indian theological public on the contribution of psychology to theology. How Lonergan has learnt from psychology, and integrated these findings into his method.

Distinguishing, of course, different types of differences; dismissing those rooted in data, in perspectives, to concentrate on those that are truly radical and dialectical. These are rooted, not in data, not in perspectives, not in development, but in fundamental options – philosophical, moral, religious. These options are the presuppositions of all argument, proof. All proof, all logic, presupposes a system; and the system itself is rooted in fundamental options, which cannot be proved.

What then? Only: objectification of these options; bringing them to light; raising / objectifying horizons. Objectification of subjectivity. The crucial experiment.

But also: ensuring an irenic atmosphere. [McShane, SURF 2, 11: “Yes, there are two levels of dialectic, but it seems to me that if the second is done properly, there is no need to add dialogue…. The second level of dialectic is very discomforting dialogue of colleagues who share the Standard Model. The latter point is very important to absorb: the cycling is not done with adversaries, but with colleagues within the Standard Model. See] Also the venerable theme of friendship as a condition for philosophy - and for theology.

And: creating community. How to give and receive feedback. How to handle the customary (emotional) blocks to communication. How much of current interaction in philosophy, and especially in Christian theology, is an interplay of ego, emotions, and so on...

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