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What Is Metaphysical Theology?

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  • Written By: Bryce Clinton
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Metaphysical theology is a little-known, non-accredited field of study that combines two legitimate disciplines, metaphysics and theology, in an effort to create an overarching term for a school of thought that doesn't actually exist in any accredited institutions of higher learning. It was created by organizations offering non-accredited online degree programs to "holistic healers" and it does not refer to an accepted academic discipline.

Although poorly defined, metaphysical theology appears to borrow concepts from separate branches of theology, philosophy, history, and non-Western medicine to create its own loose amalgamation of thought and practice. This includes the history of world religion, spirituality, altered consciousness, the paranormal, and holistic healing. While metaphysical theology might provide a unique insight into a wide range of concepts, a metaphysical theology degree is unlikely to be recognized as a valid degree by any accredited institution.

In the history of religion, theology refers to study of the nature of God and religious truth. Seminary or divinity schools, which specialize in the training of priests, ministers, or rabbis, offer extensive training in theology, which may culminate in a DD, or Doctor of Divinity. In metaphysical theology, a similar degree is purportedly offered, but without the same officially sanctioned training. In this case, theology appears to be a hodgepodge of historical information gathered from many religions and it more closely resembles a study in comparative religion.

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Metaphysics, which is a branch of philosophy, is concerned with understanding and describing the nature of the world and being, approaching many of the same concepts as theology, but from a strict philosophical position that does not accept any reliance on a higher truth. Unlike theology, metaphysics relies on man's own rational ability to investigate the world. Certain metaphysical language problems and issues of logic led to what many philosophers agree was its "death" in the mid-twentieth century, which resulted in the birth of other modes of philosophical inquiry such as "deconstruction" and "ordinary language philosophy."

In metaphysical theology, the actual analytic philosophy of metaphysics is replaced by a loose interpretation of the concept of metaphysics with no reference to its history. Instead, emphasis is placed on ideas such as altered states of consciousness, hypnosis, mediation, and holistic healing. Various types of spirituality and paranormal theory are falsely associated with a legitimate academic discipline whose long history may only briefly or incidentally touch upon such matters. Metaphysical theology also includes reference to pseudoscientific concepts such as "metaphysical healing," which are generally associated with fraudulent medical practices and money-making scams.

Anyone considering a degree in metaphysical theology should be wary of its apparent academic validity. While it may offer a useful approach to new age or alternative medicine, and perhaps to the comparative history of religion, the terminology is uses is taken out of context. The presentation of this discipline appears to be a misappropriation of legitimate terminology created to lend authority to an ill-defined range of subjects that would be better described by a different appellation.

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