My first term as a Theology student
It was with a curious mix of expectations and questions that I started my studies in Theology at Cambridge October 2017. I chose to study Theology because of a variety of influences, one being the usefulness of such a broad course to someone who, like me, has little clear idea of what they want to do after university. But chiefly, my motivation came from a desire to explore my faith and that of others. A common response when I told people that I planned to study theology was something like “don’t do theology: it’ll kill your faith!” I took this as somewhat of a challenge, adopting the view that any faith which is killed by careful scrutiny is no faith at all. This is an experience which has resonated with many of my fellow first year theologians coming at the subject from a Christian background. So, I came to the beginning of my course unsure exactly what to expect, but prepared to be challenged both intellectually and personally. At the same time, I was understandably apprehensive about university life, even if I was only travelling five miles away!
After a term of study, I am confident that taking on my self-set challenge was the right decision; I have already felt my faith enriched and refined by closer study of questions which I have, perhaps without knowing it, been grappling with my whole life. I have begun to explore more deeply the central aspects of what I believe, and I have found that by asking myself properly what I believe, that belief has been strengthened and distilled. Writing essays on questions ranging from “what significance we should give to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ miracles?” to “Where does evil come from?” has been incredibly useful, not to mention interesting. Just how much my thinking has developed was laid bare only last month, when I was invited to be part of a panel for a “Grill-a-Christian” event run by my sixth form Christian Union. I found myself able to come up with coherent answers to questions which I would previously have shied away from. Overall, I would thoroughly recommend studying theology to those with or without a faith of their own, as a way of deepening understanding and widening awareness. As for me, bring on the next term!