A Scientific Theology? A Programmatic Account of the Problems and Prospects for Confessional and Scientific Theology

Benedikt Paul Göcke


There are at least three kinds of arguments against the possibility of scientific and confessional theology: The first kind of argument tries to show that there is no universe of discourse that theology could investigate as a scientific discipline. The second kind of argument is not directed against the existence of theology’s putative universe of discourse. Instead, this kind of argument tries to show that even if there is a universe of discourse theology could investigate, it fails to do so by using scientific methods. The third kind of argument tries to show that even if theology has a universe of discourse and deploys scientific methods, it is still not a scientific discipline because it conflicts with the historical and natural sciences that are supposed to be more reliable than theology. In what follows, I clarify the importance of the scientificness of confessional theology for the plausibility of religious worldviews. I analyse the arguments put forward against the possibility of scientific and confessional theology. I indicate systematic weaknesses in the arguments that the theologian should use to show that they do not stand up to scrutiny and suggest a programmatic list of tasks the theologian has to engage in to demonstrate that scientific and confessional theology is indeed possible, if not already at hand.


Scientific theology; philosophy of science; analytic theology; confessional theology

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