The other way round

Bito Lohe
Chümoukedima

One of the greatest minds of not only the Medieval era but also the history of humanity, Thomas Aquinas, a name that is esteemed both in sacred and secular history, asserted that theology is the “queen of sciences.” This impressive axiom can least be ignored and is not irrelevant in the present context. The Scripture contains the Word of God. In this Word, several subjects have been enunciated. The Bible embodies, for instance; History, Science, Mathematics, Law, Economics, Theology, Ethics and the list goes beyond. Aquinas, therefore, plainly did not formulate theology as the “queen of sciences.” Doubtless, after having perused the Scripture and seeing the immensity involved, he emerged with such a profound epithet.

It is learnt that during the Medieval and early phase of Modern periods, the best minds were required to study theology. Why? The Word of God, undoubtedly, is deep and profound. Therefore, the finest hearts and minds were required to comprehend it.
Almost a millennium prior to Aquinas, St. Augustine, a theologian of unequal stature, changed the course of Christendom.

 History affirms that he wrote books in such profusion that it is improbable that one can complete his voluminous publications.
In the twentieth century and now, what Albert Einstein is to science, Karl Barth is to theology. They say that Barth had deliberated very nearly every subject under the sun. This speculation about Barth may not be a notion of fallacy for behind this assertion stands his Church Dogmatics in fourteen volumes. The index to these volumes is a volume in itself. Without doubt, he possessed an indomitable heart and mind. Conceivably, God used an ingenious character like Barth to manifest His nature.
In the contemporaneous context, precisely in Nagaland, the trend is the other way round. Perpetually, we have undermined the “queen of sciences.” It is not uncommon to witness a Naga family whereby the finest mind is sent for Science, the second in order is booked for Art and Commerce, the third who is within the domain of mediocrity is reserved for Theology.

In addition, when one encounters failure entirely in other disciplines, pursuing theological study becomes the topnotch option under the caption “calling.” Every failure, however, is not a calling if the matter/excuse is unveiled. We have bargained the “queen of sciences” but theology is not for compromise because to put it plainly, it is the study of God in Jesus Christ. And God, indubitably, wants the best heart and mind to fathom Himself.

On equal degree of imputation, the bleak picture has also been painted largely by the educational provision. The mode of selection in many divinity schools is very loose. New applicants who come for sacred studies are admitted with little filtration. In so doing, the quantity over-rules the quality. This markdown of the “calling” in turn cheapens the “offering,” and henceforth pinches scores of families to offer the least capable among the siblings for the sacred service. It has become one of the cheapest commodities for parents and guardians alike to buy from the academia. The given reality has pricked some who have not been swayed by the trend. Several intellectuals, for that reason, find it easier to pinpoint their fingers at the flaws than to hold back.

We can’t afford to linger on any longer in bargaining the “sacred calling” and make it less expensive than the secular. The time has come for us to wake up and rectify the error. For change to have its course in our land, the present stratification has to be reversed. Also, a serious contemplation on bridging the gap between “the calling and the offering” is in great need from both sides. In sum, I believe the transformation is not beyond reach, but its occurrence hinges on how we tackle the “queen of sciences.”