Thursday, 17 January 2013

Religious practice and the trend to specialisation

An interesting thought here, from Catholic Sensibility
"The forces of the culture are arrayed more seriously against Catholics of any age engaging in deeper catechesis. We live in an age of specialization. A college physics major is knowledgeable and competent within her or his discipline. But likely knows little about economics. And an economics major may have a dusing of calculus, but cares nothing for the deep math and concepts masters by a physicist.
Likewise, even committed Catholic college students: why should they learn more about their faith when they have "specialists" to assist them. When confronted with a moral dilemma, why not go to a priest, either live or online? Why make a difficult choice when they can engage an expert to tell them the right thing to do?"

I can see where he's coming from. And potentially this takes us back to times when ordinary people didn't "do" religious stuff at all - they just blindly followed the leader (no matter how good/bad he was).

But today even the specialist builder, hairdresser, teacher or astro-physicist can be expected to have a modest amount of competence in cookery, for instance. At a minimum we expect them to feed themselves - and to be able to use food appropriately on social settings and rituals. Lots of parenting-time is invested in this sort of teaching.

What happens in later life is really up to the individuals interests. Some will indeed turn into food-professionals - the people you consult when you need a fancy meal cooked, or a crowd catered for.

But many won't take their basic knowledge any further until something goes wrong. Even then, dieticians don't expect everyone to become food-science specialists. They aim for clients to to learn enough to be able to make good choices to address their particular situation, and carry them out unassisted.

Spiritual food vs physical food - sounds like a good comparison.

No one expects all eaters to become expert nutritionists.   So I'm not sure why anyone should expect all prayers to become theologians.

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