Theology Personal Statement Example 2
Richard Dawkins once remarked that he 'couldn't see how theology is a subject at all'. But embedded in humanity is the universal conception of a Supreme Being, and the existential quest to uncover the obscurity of our origins, and lift the veil of the future.
Theology nurtures this instinct, and by grappling with the most critical questions of purpose, provenance and existence, arguably transcends all other realms of enquiry. It is the subject's profound nature that compels me to pursue it further. While the religious impulse is fundamental to humanity and religion suffuses social constructs, theology will always be contemporary, always reinventing itself and pertain to all of life.
I have found the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer particularly inspiring, and am a member of the International Bonhoeffer Society. Such works as 'The Cost of Discipleship' and 'Ethics' are compelling, as are his views on religion in the context of contemporary society. Bonhoeffer described the phenomenon of secularisation as the world's 'coming of age' from earlier metaphysical dependencies into self sufficient ways of understanding.
While I agree that secularism enjoys ascendancy, what intrigues me is how in recent years spirituality has heightened as people have become increasingly disillusioned with the superficiality of materialism and technology. Religious literacy is therefore essential for religious ideas to be reformulated for modern society.
Christian history can be seen as salvation history and thus I find Christian soteriology absorbing. Robert Picrilli's 'Grace, Faith and Free Will' is inspirational on this subject, and helps me ascertain the parameters of debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. Of course, soteriology cannot be divorced from Christology, in that we perceive the nature of a being in its effect upon us; if Christ is Saviour, this assertion about his function is also a statement about his identity. Joseph Ratzinger's 'Jesus of Nazareth' is excellent in supplementing my interest in Christology.
Attending lectures on church history at the Cambridge Saturday School of Theology has fuelled my interest of the link between the intellectual edifice of Christianity as we know it today and the Reformation. I'm particularly intrigued by how the ramifications of this period helped precipitate and shape modernity, in terms of the emergence of individualistic thinking, which for me places theology at the heart of modern history and my own liberal values.
In the same way, I also feel that theology is inextricably linked to philosophy, as rival or complementary modes of investigation, and have launched a philosophy club in my college. I have enjoyed Robert Sokolowski's 'The God of Faith and Reason', which deals with the philosophical scrutiny of theology and illustrates how faith can preserve the integrity of reason, as opposed to being antirational.
As well as pursuing academic goals, I am an active member of the community; I have been elected Chair of the West Sussex Youth Cabinet, and have become a European Youth Ambassador. These dynamic roles ignited my enthusiasm for current affairs and last year I was a finalist in the National Political Journalism competition, which enhanced my ability to construct arguments coherently.
I also have undertaken the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. I have an interest in languages, and last year embarked on a Japanese Proficiency course. In my leisure time I read, cycle and play the piano.
There are those who argue that theology demands conformity of ideas, but I feel that the discipline thrives on diversity and debate, and enhances human intellectual autonomy. As Bonhoeffer remarked; 'It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they bring out the crucial questions and form an opinion about them'.
For me, theology is not only a subject, but one that is genuinely rewarding, intellectually liberating, and incrementally significant in a world 'coming of age'.
This personal statement was written by Galatea for application in 2008.
I had no idea what to write when it came to my ps, having seen no examples for theology, and I realise now that the ps certainly doesn't have to be as detailed and intense as this one is, but I hope it serves as a useful example anyway to year's crop. In the end I got offers from Cambridge, Durham (with philosophy), KCL, St Andrews and Edinburgh.
This personal statement is unrated