A while ago I took some flack for some comments I made about continental philosophy , I wrote that continental philsophy is pseudo-philosophical gobbldy-gook. Well I stand by those words. Apparently Richard Swinburne, the world famous Oxford philosopher of religion feels the same way. Here is what he has to say about the relationship between theology and continental philosophy.
The most influential modern systematic theologians were German, of whom the best known was Karl Barth. They derived their philosophy from the Continental tradition in philosophy of the past two hundred years. This includes such very diverse figures as Hegel, Nietzche, Heidegger, and Sartre. But it seemed to me – and has seemed to most Anglo-American philosophers – that what characterizes them all is a certain sloppiness of argument, a tendency to draw big, vague, general pictures of the universe without spelling them out very precisely or justifying them very thoroughly, a kind of philosophy geared toward literature rather than science. (Swinburne – The Vocation of a Natural Theologian)
Now there is nothing inherently wrong with a philosophy geared towards literature rather than science. Also I believe that there is much to learn from Nietzche and Sartre, however I have to agree with Swinburne that theology’s reliance upon the Continental tradition has resulted in some sloppy systematic theology. I believe that the analytic tradition of philosophy has yet to be explored fully as a resource for doing theology. Thankfully there are some philosophers/theologians who are paving a way in this area. Three people that come to mind are Oliver Crisp, Michael Rea, and Thomas McCall. This new field, which has been dubbed Analytic Theology has much to offer.
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