Ideology and Theology
In “The Power of Myth,” Joseph Campbell meets with a sociologist and a Shinto priest. When the sociologist remarks, “I don’t get your ideology. I don’t get your theology,” the Shinto priest responds, “We don’t have ideology. We don’t have theology. We dance.”
I get frustrated with ideology and theology. Both reflect more belief than knowledge. Both generate more heat than light. Both serve to divide more than unite.
A few years ago, we travelled to Asia. We saw a stark contrast between the respect that our hosts held for their leaders and the scorn that our fellow travelers held for our own leaders.
We live in a society where people who pay too much attention to labels like “conservative” and “liberal” or Democrat and Republican are often unable to find common ground or to see merit in opposing views or even to treat others with respect.
I am finding that the internet is filled with bad history and bad theology. Recently, a Catholic priest insisted online that contraception is ALWAYS wrong, but this position is not consistent, nuanced, or rational, and it prompts many Catholics to question the authority of the church.
Consider killing, a more serious sin by any measure. For 2,000 years, Catholicism taught that even killing is NOT ALWAYS wrong, in cases such as “just war” or self-defense. The “just war” doctrine is consistent, nuanced, and rational, and it has prevented many more wars than it has permitted.
In my business career, character always trumped ideology, and in my spiritual journey, reflection always trumps theology.