Views & Reviews
Misconception of Theological Studies Among the Nagas
According to Oxford dictionary, ‘theology is the study of God and religious belief’. It is typically taught in theological institutions and seminaries as a discipline. Christian theology is a study of spirituality and faith. It involves purity and righteousness. Understanding a particular faith requires dedication to the utmost and more so, its implementations may require spiritual power. This denotes that theological study is different from other form of studies. When we talk about theology, the will power can be imperative. In life, we are usually advised to follow our interest. In the same manner, in order to know a particular faith, one should possess interest and will to know and live by it. However, this is in absolutely no way mean that the people who fulfils the aforesaid criteria should only study theology. Building a sound theology from the scripture is every Christian’s calling and privilege, because the God whom we would know has first died for us and we are set free. It is our bounden duty to know God and His teachings. While everybody can be a theologian, theological studies require lifelong spiritual commitment.
I’m not much of a religious person, but as per my humble observation, Christian theology appears to have been misconceptualised among the Nagas. In the sense, most people have this understanding of attaining transformation through the study of theology. We are used to believing the fact that studying theology can give us transformation and mend our broken life. It is never wrong to have such understanding and it is true that theology comes along the way of transformation. However, it may be wrong to believe that studying theology alone can give us peace and transformation.
The issue in the most basic form is in sending people for the purpose of studying theology. Most parents generalize theological institutions as centres of rehabilitation. With this understanding among the Nagas, theological institution has become dumping place for school dropouts, drug addicts, alcoholics and in most cases the black sheeps of the family. In some events, some children are forced to pursue theological studies by their parents for the purpose of attaining transformation. This has brought about negative impression of theological studies among the Nagas.
On another perspective, people think that the weaker ones should opt theological studies, and on the contrary, the smartest, the intelligent breeds and the able students should opt for engineering, medical science and any other studies available. With this concept of theology among the Nagas, theology is undermined by most Nagas. This mindset has continued till date. Most parents still remain paradox when it comes to sending their children for theological studies and in most cases, the Child doing the least good is sent for this purpose. Christian theology is to do with faith and God. When we see it biblically, the best ones are to be offered to God. However, the concept of theology among the Nagas does not meet this understanding and the biblical instruction stands invisible here.
Not to diminish anybody but this misconception of theological studies among the Nagas has put the theologians in a place of disadvantaged. Thus, the significance of theological studies is rule out and theology is look upon as an inferior discipline. While theology should not be used inappropriately to denigrate others, this misunderstanding of theology among the Nagas need to be replaced. We should realise that theological institution is not a dumping place for school dropouts, alcoholics, drug addicts and least good people. I mean theological institution is not a rehabilitation centre. A theological institution is a place of imparting theological knowledge (of God) to people and preparing people for ministry. For this purpose, the study of theology requires willingness and dedication to the wide. This is vital because theological studies without willingness and dedication can invite trouble at the end of the day, and demean its very own profession. My concern however is not to discourage people from studying theology. Theological teachings are imperative for all Christians and the ones who have decided to choose this path of study are appreciated. My greater concern is the misconception of theology among the Nagas which has deminished the very study of theology. This misconception need to be ruled out to shape our mind and help us view reality from a God-centered perspective.
In conclusion, in the midst of such prevailing misconceptions, every right thinking people should impart the true knowledge of theological studies to the mass. In this way, theological institutions would produce good theologians which would result in societal spiritual growth. More importantly, the right understanding of theological studies will also help people identify the right place for the right profession and not merely treat theological institutions as remedies for broken life. This will also augment the reputation of theological institutions and theologians to a greater extent.
St. Joseph’s college, Jakhama