Let’s be honest, there are a lot of armchair theologians out there. Many people are shocked and scandalized to hear that anyone might actually spend time and money studying theology or earning a degree in the field. Please don’t say these things to someone who majored in theology.
1. “Theology…Is that where, like, you go out and dig up dinosaur bones?”
Someone said this to me once. A full week after I told her I studied theology. It took her a week to guess that theology involved digging up dinosaur bones. Her name was Stormy. I should have said, “that’s right, I’m basically Indiana Jones.”
2. “Did you get that degree at a real college?”
Yes. It actually exists in time and space and is accredited. There are still schools where you are free to study the highest things.
3. “My cousin got ordained online.”
No, he didn’t.
4. “Too bad it’s not useful, like science.”
First, Theology IS a science, it is the highest science, the divine science. As Thomas says, “Sacred doctrine is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science…So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathematician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God.” (Summa Theologiae, I.Q.1, a.2)
Second, it is the most “useful” science, because it concerns the study of the object of man’s highest faculties and final end, the True, the Good, the Beautiful, in a word…GOD. Since knowledge concerns natures and causes, and since God is the author and final end of all natures and causes, theology is the MOST “useful” science.
5. “What a waste of time…what are you going to do with that?”
Know, love, and serve God in this life so as to live with Him forever in the next. BAM!
6. “I went to Catholic school, so I know all about that.”
As a Catholic school teacher let me say this: Highly suspect.
7. “Isn’t it all just subjective?”
No. Theology is a science with a particular method. It takes its data from divine revelation. In that way it is the most real, objective, grounded, and sure science there is.
8. “I took a theology class in college…it was pretty boring”
Let me see if I understand this. The uncreated God of the universe revealed Himself to humanity by creating the universe out of nothing, placing upon the human heart a desire to know and love Him, giving men the means through reason and conscience to know something of Him and seek Him, then BECAME A HUMAN BEING through the humble yes of a young Jewish girl, was crucified, died, and was buried, ROSE FROM THE GRAVE, commissioned His disciples to bring this truth to the ends of the earth through a Church that still does so to this day, and which still encounters Him through the sacraments, most notably His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist…you took a course on this and were…”bored”?
9. “But I mean, it’s all still just a matter of opinion, right?”
10. “So you’re like, religious then?”
Theology assumes revelation.
11. “What do you see yourself doing with that?”
Pretty much this.
But if you’re seriously considering getting a degree in theology, the first place you must visit is the Cardinal Newman Society. In their annual guide they profile the best in authentic Catholic education. I got my advanced degrees from Holy Apostles College and Seminary (website currently under renovation) and highly encourage you to learn more about them in this quick video: