Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When Christians get too theological

While I am progressively growing to prefer discussions about Christ over other talk, I find that overly-theological and philosophical discussion from Christians can get really frustrating. In particular (and I may be shooting myself in the foot with what I am about to say, since I have this blog linked to the place I am about to reference), it bugs me when a person asks a simple question and the answers seem entirely too philosophical.

To use a completely ridiculous example (that I hope will never occur in real life anywhere), a conversation between the inquirer and the answering Christian might go down something like this:

"Do you prefer pizza or fried chicken?" asked John.

Mary's brow creased. "It's not either or. I can like both. Maybe I might be fasting meats, and so I need to eat only cheese pizza on a particular day. Then I would prefer pizza. Or maybe God has told me not to eat cheese for a month, so it would be fried chicken."

"Okay so... nevermind. Forget it."

It's absolutely ridiculous. Instead of simply answering the question, Christians seem to have to make it so complicated.

Yes, sometimes questions are too simplistic, but you can always give an answer without becoming some sort of crazy philosopher. We aren't asking for the answer Aquinas would have been most likely to give. (In which case it would be more like "Well, it may seem like pizza is best for this, that, and the other reason, but truly fried chicken is the best for this, that, and the other reason." ... fried chicken is better, btw)

To give a more theological example:
"I'm confused. Do girls prefer a man that would give a huge proposal or a man that would give a small proposal?"John asked.

Mary shook her head. "Your question is too simplistic. It's not about how the man proposes. It's about how he acts towards the girl before he proposes. Then the girl will say yes whether he proposes to her on a cruise with a stringed quartet or on the back of his pickup truck."

John blinked. "Yeah but, even if she likes the dude, don't girls want big proposals and stuff?"

"John, you're not listening. The proposal doesn't matter. Look, if I am dating a Godly man that is kind, and loving toward his family, then I am going to be happy to marry him -God willing- no matter how he proposes."

"Okay, so godliness is important to a Christian woman when it comes to marriage, and if I am striving to draw nearer to God, and treat my woman good, she is gonna say yes to my proposal. Does that mean I can skip buying the big ring if, as you seem to be saying, proposals don't even matter anyways?"

"Marriage is about the holy union between a man, woman, and God. Rings are materialistic and should not be the focus of marriage. This is not that hard to understand."

John sighed, and slowly flexed his hands that had been curling into fists. "Right. Okay. Thanks so much for your very helpful advice."

Now, if you had two normal people, I imagine the convo might go down something like this:
"I'm confused. Do girls prefer a man that would give a huge proposal or a man that would give a small proposal?"John asked.

"Your question is took simplistic," said Mary. "Some girls are going to prefer big proposals, and some are going to prefer small proposals."

"Oh. But how can you know what type a girl would prefer?"

"Ask her friends."

"It's that easy?"

Mary smiled, and chuckled slightly. "It's that easy."

John felt his cheeks growing warm, and rubbed at the back of his neck. "Wow."
(as an aside, I always feel weird writing about females chuckling. Yeah, we chuckle, but it still seems like odd phrasing)

Don't get me wrong, I love talking about God. My mom and I have some great conversations about holiness, how to make it easier to read your Bible daily, etc. It's just that sometimes I think Christians over-analyze simple questions. It is not a requirement to make everything deep and religious. Sometimes, a question is just a question. If I ask "Do I look good in this dress?" I do not need you to respond with "Would God think you look good in that dress?" [I just gave myself a giggle]

I think it says something that this post is coming from a girl whose family and friends have accused of being entirely too analytic at times. What does it say about someone's analytic tendencies if a habitual over-analyzer thinks you are analyzing things too much?


  1. I totally agree with this, Hollie. Christians can be extremely over-analytical about some of the simplest things of their faith. Someone asks them a question about faith and (in my experience) most times they get this long-winded reply that tells them practically nothing.

    Thank you for posting this. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed this. ^_^

  2. I can be long-winded myself at times, but I try to keep it simple when dealing with a simple question.

    Nice to know this is something you've noticed too. Maybe we can start a task force to eliminate long-winded responses one Christian at a time. lol