One Reason Theology Students Lose their Faith

There are many different faith journeys, and I would not presume to speak for all of them. One reason, however, for theology students to lose their faith as they become more educated is that they are given no room to explore questions that they have and are greeted with judgmental attitudes. This specifically applies to those studying in more conservative institutions. Liberal institutions bring their own problems, including a culture that almost demands negative answers to the questions.

This is demonstrated, I think, by the case of Peter Enns. I only recently added Bible and Ancient Near East to my blogroll over at my Participatory Bible Study Blog, and today there is a post there leading to this post and comment thread about the departure of Dr. Peter Enns, whose heresies (if any) are very mild.

Read the comment thread to get the anger. As Dr. Lenzi notes, the link to the comment thread may go dead. There are people calling for it to be deleted–apparently the subject should not even be discussed. And though I do see some cause for concern about libel, that isn’t the reason people are calling for it to be deleted.

Once one is the target of such anger, I think one asks oneself why one should suffer torment in order to be permitted to teach in such an atmosphere. Many people simply find somewhere else to go.

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  1. Henry,
    I’m not sure I totally get your analysis here.

    The post is actually in support of Alan’s satire and the comment thread has at least as much support for him as it does criticism. (I am one of Alan’s defenders on the thread).

    I think there are only 2 or 3 people who criticize Alan, and the really objectionable stuff is just from one person.

    I would bet that the current atmosphere at WTS has problems, but this particular blog and post thread doesn’t really provide the evidence. It just demonstrates the vitriol of one person.

    1. In my view the situation with Dr. Peter Enns is what demonstrates the problem–there is insufficient room for students to explore their questions in a reasonably supportive environment.

      I match the one particularly vitriolic person with many more that I know or know of personally. One reason people lose faith is that they are pushed from fellowship and not allowed to explore.

      I don’t know Dr. Lenzi, but my impression is that he is not an example of this, but rather simply found his faith intellectually insupportable. Over time, I will come to understand his view better as I intend to track his blog.

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