Chenu Term Paper

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The question of whether or not theology is in fact a science is one that is not new. Chenu disputes this question but in the end comes up with an affirmative answer that yes, theology is indeed a science. One point that Chenu brings up is that we should look at the Aristotelian definition of science and consider the words of St. Anselm: Faith seeking understanding which is inherently scientific.

One request that Chenu makes is for the reader to forget the definition of science as we commonly use it today. The definition used to determine whether or not theology is a science should be the definition that the Greeks used which is much more traditional. We have taken what used to be a formal definition of science and twisted it around so that the definition now works to describe some of the actual sciences such as chemistry and biology. We oftentimes forget is that science doesn t necessarily have to be as cut and dry as chemistry. Studying facts and laws most definitely applies to the study of theology. The one bone that people often pick is that how can we call theology science if it is mostly based on a superscientific being that far transcends the scope of natural reason (18).

Many people think that because theology is based on God, which we have no concrete proof of, that it cannot possibly be scientific. Chenu criticizes these people, most of whom are part of the Christian faith, because they do not want to combine faith and reason, as they believe that having blind faith is a bit absurd. Chenu makes it a point to show the opposing side of this ongoing argument and then continue to tear it apart and prove it wrong. Chenu points out that science is built upon clear and evident statements of fact (52) thus showing us that theology can t possibly be a science because we have no proof that God exists. Another point that Chenu makes is to demonstrate that there is a methodological, psychological, religious, and mystical continuity between theology and faith and continues to point out that it is illogical to argue that theology can be based on if statements such as if there is a God or if Christ is the Son of God.

Chapter four begins with Chenu speaking of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his writing Summa Theologicae. By assessing this he now truly deals with the question of whether or not theology can truly be considered a science. Theology is indeed a science because you must evaluate rationally and systematically (22). In order to understand theology one must use logical reasoning and the laws of science to reinforce one s faith. When you consider Anselm s Ontological Argument or Aquinas proofs for the existence of God, one comes up with an answer for themselves; These proofs are based on a procedure which comes from fact, therefore it is a science. Although there are indeed differences between a physicist and a theologian, when all is said and done, a theologian is almost more of a scientist than a physicist; while a physicist uses math to prove law, the theologian uses general revelation and human logic which may not be as cut and dry, but is surely as complex of a science if not more.

I personally do agree with Chenu that theology is in fact a science. I honestly do not see how one could disagree with this. I must be honest and state that at first was not a believer in theology being a science. The main reason for this was that when I think or rather thought of a science, I as most people do, think of the life sciences and physical sciences. It is only once I considered what it actually means to be a science that I saw how it is almost impossible not to think theology is a science. Granted, you don t have numbers, and hardcore data, but you do have revelation, which may not be as stringent proof as the former, but should be considered.

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