Theologians Get No Respect1

  • Editorials
  • Ted Peters
  • Dialog, June 2017, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/dial.12309

Theologians Get No Respect!

What is it about?

I feel like Rodney Dangerfield, because I'm a theologian who gets no respect. I don't get respect from my science friends. Nor do I get respect from my religion friends. It began at birth when my doctor saw me and then slapped my mother. The simple reason I get no respect is that I'm a theologian. After being invited to write an article for the U.S. National Institutes of Health on genetic enhancement, the article was rejected, said the editor, because he would not publish anything written by a theologian. Curiously, I was told the same thing by the editor of the "Journal of the American Academy of Religion," because what that journal publishes are religious studies articles, not theology. The theologian gets no invitations to BBQs held either by scientists or religious studies people. No respect. I'm lonely. I wonder if any of my theologian friends will invite me to a BBQ?

Why is it important?

This is important because of a cancerous belief in the wider culture that science is open minded while religion is narrow minded and bigoted. In order to avoid appearing narrow minded and bigoted, religious studies scholars put on pluralist tee shirts and then blame theologians for the bigotry. "It's not my fault! It's those theologians!" In my own Berkeley milieu where theology is an ACADEMIC discipline with maximum intellectual integrity, I find it curious that we theologians today gain no respect outside of our own discipline. How did this happen? [Actually, the problem is not quite as extreme as I describe. Though true, there's something funny about all of this.]

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The following have contributed to this page: Prof Ted F Peters