Critical Analysis of Models of God

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Kevin Noble

12/03/12

Models of God Critical Analysis

For my final essay assignment I have chosen to analyze Sallie McFague and her book, Models of God. She discusses many points in her book, starting with the world at large. McFague, being a Feminist post modern theologian, questions the way our faith is viewed today as well as tries to come up with her own explanation of what we view as religion and religious ideas today. She questions the decisions of society as a whole, much as Reinhold Niebuhr did as well. I feel her theology most closely relates to that of Niebuhrs compared to the rest of the books we read in class this semester. I say this because McFague really strongly believes in this metaphorical theology. Niebuhr also had an abstract idea with his social group theory and the herd mentality. These both are applied to other people and the way they are thinking rather abstractly. This is quite interesting and the reason I chose to write about Sallie McFagues Metaphorical Theology. I’d like to use all of her ideas expressed in the book to help explain how broad her theology really is with the label of metaphorical theology. She uses metaphors to describe the relationship between spirituality and the individual. These metaphors spread across an array of topics, from the world being God’s body, to Gods relationship with each human being as either a mother, lover, or friend. It is quite radical compared to old school thought and makes perfect sense for the twentieth and twenty first centuries. McFague begins with a short introduction where she introduces her motivation for creating this theology as well as her reasoning for it. She begins to tell the reader how she believes that currently the two greatest challenges facing our world are the human destruction of the environment and the threat of nuclear holocaust. Her theology must take these issues into account as it attempts to make the Christian faith understandable and relevant for the contemporary world. Specifically, theology must ask itself what role has it has played in the development of the situation we now face and what impact it will have on these two issues in the future. One way theology could speak in a relevant manner to these pressing issues would be to develop a new understanding of the relationship between God and the world that can transform human attitudes towards nature. Her new school method gives a new systematic way of imagining the relationship between God and the world through her metaphorical theology. McFagues alternative purpose in the introduction is to show the relation between her theology and the issues pressing the world today. With that, I will try to analyze the way her Metaphorical Theology shines through in each aspect of her book.

The second chapter in the book begins to explain McFague’s Metaphorical Theology. This is the overlying theme to her whole theology I feel. It drives the other aspects of her thought and is the structure for her other ideas such as God as the Body, Lover, Mother, and Friend. According to McFague, what we know of God is a construction, and must be understood as exactly and only that, an interpretation. God as father, as shepherd, as friend, but not literally any of these. Although these habits of language can be useful as many people view God in a more personal sense. They can also become constricting when there is an insistence that God is always and only like this. She sets the table with what she feels a proper religion might entail, citing pg 32 where she says, “A credible theology for our time must be characterized by a sense of our intrinsic interdependence with all forms of life, an inclusive vision that demolishes oppressive hierarchies, accepts responsibility for nurturing and fulfilling life in its many forms, and is open to change and novelty as given of existence.” She feels while her metaphorical theology does a decent job of constructing a metaphorical enterprise to base ones...
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