- is theology a science?
- deep history
This paper will first discuss the relation between science and theology, in partuclar regarding the study of religion. Although Schillebeeckx did not develop a systematic perspective on this relation, I believe his work nonetheless to be relevant in this regard. It will become apparent that Schillebeeckx argued for a dialogue with theology, suggesting that theology itself is a science.
The second part of this paper will explore some aspects of the notion of 'experience', both from an evolutionary perspective and from the perspective of Schillebeeckx's theology. Without claiming to offer an exhaustive account of 'experience', neither in Schillebeeckx's theology, nor in evolutionary science, this exploration will sighed some light on the differences between both perspectives.
The third part of the paper will suggest that evolutionary explanations have to be put in a historical perspective, called 'deep history'. This allows us to look beyond the details and see the bigger patterns in our species' evolutionary history. It will become clear that our evolutionary history shows the emergence of critical abilities in our species, paralleling Schillebeeckx's view on experience. This exploration will enable us to criticize evolutionary studies of religion as 'retro-reductionist' and therefore uncapable of adequately grasping the complex reality of religion.