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)

One Reply to “MacIntyre on Contemporary Theologian”

  1. Hmmm. That's a pretty dark view of things.

    I object to his premise: perceptive theologians must translate what they have to say to an atheistic world. Why? For the most part, atheists aren't interested. Besides, they are a very small, narrow group.

    Why not take Paul at his word in Romans 1 and write for the very broad group of people who know that God is there and know that they should honor Him and give thanks to Him, but insist on living for the Devil?

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