Monday, 30 May 2011

Where does your theology come from?

Daniel over at Benge has an excellent blogpost about creating heaven on earth - a great idea, relating to some of the sayings of Jesus:
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew, 6: 10)

When he was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The Kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed the Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke, 17:20)

His disciples said to him, "When will the Kingdom come?", Jesus answered and said, "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look here!' or 'Look there!'. Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the Earth, and people don't see it!" (Thomas, 113)
Daniel also says that he was partly inspired by the lyrics of a Belinda Carlisle song.
They say in heaven that love comes first
Let’s make heaven here on earth.
This led me to think about where I get my theological ideas and inspirations from. A lot of my theological ideas come from science fiction.

I am very inspired by the eco-spirituality of Ursula Le Guin, who is a fan of Taoism. I especially enjoyed her book Always Coming Home, which elucidates a spirituality based on the ecology of the Napa Valley in California, as well as being an exciting tale of a conflict of worldviews. As a child, I found the idea of the Equilibrium outlined in her Earthsea trilogy very inspiring, too. And the ethics implied by her wonderful short story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (I would walk away).

I was also very struck by the ideas of Julian May, who is a fan of Teilhard de Chardin. May talks about the idea of Unity, which is similar to Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point. Unity is the point at which the whole galaxy becomes unified in a metapsychic way.

I also have to mention Michael J Stracinsky, creator of Babylon 5, and a fan of interfaith dialogue. There are some wonderful ideas about religion and diversity in this series, particularly the episode where the commander of Babylon 5 is asked to showcase the religion of planet Earth, and decides to have a long line of people from different religions, to illustrate the religious diversity of humanity.

There's an entire tradition of theology devoted to listening to the ideas of the people, not just the "expert" theologians - so I don't think there's anything wrong in Daniel getting his theology from 1980s pop songs and me getting mine from science fiction. Indeed, as is well known, new religions have been founded on the basis of science fiction (well, space opera, anyway).

Where do you get your theological ideas?