Yes but what’s the question?

Reading the Guardian today ( I read the Guardian on a Thursday* as they publish the technology supplement) I picked up a story involving a rather complex 40 page proof (I read the story, NOT the proof) that suggests a simpler model of computer processing is possible. The computer scientist, Alex Smith aged 20 is to be awarded a hefty prize for his breakthrough work.
Very boring post so far Ian!
Ok, stay with me.
As the article continues, it turns out that this proof is not without controversy and charges have been levelled that it contains ‘a fundamental fallacy.’ Smith argues thus:
“The proof itself is fine; I’m pretty certain of that. The problem is determining exactly what it is that I’ve proved”
Douglas Adams2.jpg I loved this, got me thinking about theology and how when we try and make theology tidy and tidily packaged we may (note ‘may’) have a proof of something but at the same time it remains uncertain of what it is we’ve actually proved. This got me thinking about Douglas Adams and his postulate from his trilogy in five parts, that knowing the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything precluded knowing/understanding the question!
I heard a quote recently that described theology as “nonsense on stilts!”
This is a ‘think’ in process as a sit in a coffee shop in Burford on my way to a meeting in Moreton-in-the-Marsh (don’t we have great place names?) but I’m left reflecting on paralells with theology:
Whether sometimes our theology is a re-assuring proof or attempt at certainty but fundamentally we don’t know what we’ve proved.
Wondering how often our theology is framed from the point of view of not really knowing the question, or artificially framing a question that we can theologically answer.
Don’t know where this is going (or even has gone) but here’s to a changing, exploring theology that embraces mystery, that constantly questions and is a dialogue, rooted in our communities and experiences. Here’s to a journey of theological exploration with young people.
(* I guess that statment kind of begs the question what I do with the Guardian on other days?)