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What Are the Connections between Faith and Theology?

By T. Briseno
Updated May 23, 2024
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Faith and theology relate to religion and beliefs. While theology can be described as a system, study, or set of beliefs, faith is considered the belief or trust in a body of beliefs. Religious studies center on the different theologies of the world's religions, and faith is connected to this study as one of the main characteristics of people who follow a particular theology. Scholars who write about these subjects often can define religious beliefs in an objective way, with lists of common characteristics, and those who believe in the objects and rituals are connected by faith. A summary of the connection could be that faith is belief and theology is a system of beliefs.

God is most often the center of studies in theology. Those who believe in a particular theology, for example Christianity or Catholicism, have faith in God. A common description of faith is that it is believing in what is unseen, and faith and theology are connected by having God, rather than humans, as the object of study. Other disciplines such as history or sociology focus on events, actions, and movements of people, whereas theology looks at the role of God in the world and the faith of people in how they live in the world.

Theology is also a discipline and formal course of study. Students can earn a college or university degree in theology in about four years, and a master's degree or doctorate degree in an additional two or more years. Individuals who choose this course of study, however, do not have to have faith in what they are studying. Although the studies will generally focus on the connectedness of faith and theology, a student does not have to have faith in God. Many believers do complement their faith with formal seminary and religious studies, but an non-believer or atheist could choose to pursue a doctorate in theology as well; faith and theology don't need to be connected in study, but they are connected for those who have faith in God.

Churches typically are houses of worship that form around a certain theology such as Protestantism or Reformed theology, for example. Individuals who attend churches tend to agree with the set of beliefs for a particular church, or the church's theology, and they have faith in the object of the belief system, God. Often faith and theology are connected at the level of belief that unites people in a church with others who have like faith in a common set of beliefs.

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