What is bad theology?

What is bad theology?

To ask that question presupposes there is such a thing as 'good theology' which could be contrasted with the bad.

For people of Christian or any other religious faith there is a danger that we think of good theology as that theological position with which we agree. There is also a danger of thinking of bad theology as whatever is alien to the theological view we hold. 

Aware that I am immediately falling into that latter trap, I still want to share with you 2 comments on good and bad theology with which I agree. They were written by Amos Smith.

"Good theology builds bridges and heals divisions in our minds and in our world." 
"Bad theology builds walls between people, and promotes violence."

I found these here on the Recover Christianity's Mystic Roots website written by Amos Smith. 

How would you characterise 'bad theology'?
What sort of theology do you think is 'good theology'?
Does it matter how you answer those questions?

Image Credit: Pixabay, public domain


  1. Perhaps the key is to be capable of recognising the difference. As a very novice in theology, I suspect that I might fall into the trap, but using those two identifiers will be helpful when I try to think through stuff during my training for LLM.

    Already, I can sense that when something written or said seems unkind, divisive or too much of a metaphor, I would be suspicious of it's validity. I know that the bible is full of metaphors, but today, some people use that as an excuse for poor thinking or taking decisions based on the values of the world, rather than Godly ways. Value judgments need to be thought through with prayer and reflection and than prayed through again, just in case. Being quick to listen, but slow to respond might be a good idea.

    1. Thanks for commenting 'UKViewer'. I'm a novice too - and always will be. I think even the greatest theologians could also be described as 'novice in theology'. Since theology literally means the study of God how could any human be an expert? (Or perhaps Jesus is an exception.) Another useful question to ask is this thoelogical viewpoint life-enhancing or life-destroying, creative or destructive? Jesus came to give life - life in all its fullness.

  2. There is no "good" or "bad" theology, every theology (with the exception of Jesus') is a mixture of both, why? Because we're all (again with the exception of Jesus) at one and the same time sinners & saints. For "colourful" theology, read Luther's Works.

    1. Good point. Theology is a human activity that like all human activities is influenced by the same mixture of the good and the bad that is in all sinners and saints. Jesus and fully human and fully divine is the exception. It is interesting that when he was preaching, teaching and doing good things like healing people, there were always some who accused him of being 'bad' e.g. blasphemous or being possessed by the 'Lord of the Flies' (Beelzebub).


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