quotations about theology

Theology quote

Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small.



Tags: Arthur Miller

There are many things that I don't understand. Sincere Christians can disagree about the details of Scripture and theology--absolutely.

BILLY GRAHAM, Newsweek, August 14, 2006


Tags: Billy Graham

A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating.



Tags: Martin Luther

The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking. Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent -- slimy, sneaking and abominable. Since the earliest days the church, as an organization, has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings.

H. L. MENCKEN, Treatise on the Gods


Tags: H. L. Mencken

A theologian should be thoroughly in possession of the basis and source of faith--that is to say, the Holy Scriptures. Armed with this knowledge it was that I confounded and silenced all my adversaries; for they seek not to fathom and understand the Scriptures; they run them over negligently and drowsily; they speak, they write, they teach, according to the suggestion of their heedless imaginations.

MARTIN LUTHER, "Of God's Word", Table Talk


Theology is classified superstition.

ELBERT HUBBARD, The American Bible


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For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others. I believe that many who find that "nothing happens" when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.

C. S. LEWIS, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics


Tags: C. S. Lewis

All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass -- "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, attributed, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers


There are great minds in the pulpits. If they would stop declaring the unprovable, and give their time to finding what is really Truth, the world would move more rapidly. Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

THOMAS EDISON, interview, "Thomas A. Edison on Immortality", The Columbian Magazine, January 1911


Tags: Thomas Edison

Theologians always try to turn the Bible into a book without common sense.

G. C. LICHTENBERG, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes


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A man must have a stout digestion to feed upon some men's theology; no sap, no sweetness, no life, but all stern accuracy, and fleshless definition. Proclaimed without tenderness, and argued without affection, the gospel from such men rather resembles a missile from a catapult than bread from a Father's hand.

CHARLES SPURGEON, attributed, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers


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Only a very few can be learned, but all can be Christian, all can be devout, and -- I shall boldly add -- all can be theologians.

DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, "The Paraclesis", Christian Humanism and the Reformation: Selected Writings of Erasmus


A theologian is a blind man in a dark room searching for a black cat that isn't there -- and finding it.



Tags: Anonymous quotes

When all is said and done, science is about things and theology is about words. Things behave in the same way everywhere, but words do not.

FREEMAN DYSON, The Scientist as Rebel


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When the Devil quotes Scriptures, it's not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them.

PAUL GOODMAN, "Spring and Summer 1956", Five Years


Tags: Paul Goodman

I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out.

DENIS DIDEROT, attributed, The Concise Columbia Dictionary of Quotations


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The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. Its evil effects must be plain enough to everyone. All it accomplishes is (a) to throw a veil of sanctity about ideas that violate every intellectual decency, and (b) to make every theologian a sort of chartered libertine. No doubt it is mainly to blame for the appalling slowness wich which really sound notions make their way in the world. The minute a new one is launched, in whatever fields, some imbecile of a theologian is certain to fall upon it, seeking to put it down. The most effective way to defend it, of course, would be to fall upon the theologian, for the only really workable defense, in polemics as in war, is a vigorous offensive. But convention frowns upon that device as indecent, and so theologians continue their assault upon sense without much resistance, and the enlightenment is unpleasantly delayed.

H. L. MENCKEN, Baltimore Evening Sun, December 9, 1929


Tags: H. L. Mencken

He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.

JONATHAN EDWARDS, "On Religious Affections", The Works of Jonathan Edwards


Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask--half our great theological and metaphysical problems--are like that.

C. S. LEWIS, A Grief Observed


Has the trade of interpreting the Lord's matters gone out, discouraged by the time-worn fact that nobody succeeds at it? No, it still flourishes; there was never a century nor a country that was short of experts who knew the Deity's mind and were willing to reveal it.

MARK TWAIN, "As Concerns Interpreting the Deity", What Is Man? And Other Philosophical Writings


Tags: Mark Twain