MacIntyre on Contemporary Theologian

“We can see the harsh dilemma of a would-be contemporary theology: [1] The theologian begins from orthodoxy, but the orthodoxy which has been learnt from Kierkegaard and Barth becomes too easily a closed circle, in which believer speaks only to believer, in which all human content is concealed. [2] Turning aside from this arid in-group theology, the most perceptive theologians wish to translate what they have to say to an atheistic world. But they are doomed to one of two failures. Either [a] they succeed in their translation: in which case what they find themselves saying has been turned into the atheism of their hearers. Or [b] they fail in their translation: in which case no one hears what they have to say but themselves.”

A. MacIntyre, “God and the Theologians”, published in Against the Self-Images of the Age, University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1978, pp. 12-26. The quote is from pp. 19-20.

(quoted in Beyond Secular Reason)