Перекладено з: Hanegraaff W.J. The Dreams of Theology and the Realities of Christianity // Haers J., De Mey P. (eds.). Theology and Conversation: Towards a Relational Theology (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologic a rum
Lo va niensium, 172). — Leuven: Peeters, 2004. — P. 709—733. Право на публікацію українського перекладу надано Pee ters Leuven.
Theologians are often considered to be the appropriate public and intellectual representatives or spokesmen of Christianity. However, Christian theology has been able to pre sent itself as encapsulating Christianity only as long as Christian institutions were powerful enough to monopolize the perception and self-perception of Christianity as a religion. In fact, Christianity cannot be understood through a single theological doctrine, but can be understood as a religion based upon a symbolic system, which manifests itself in many specific Christian religions. A scholar of religion must thus accept the full variety of socalled heretical movements as legitimate expressions of Christianity, side by side with the “orthodox” churches, as well as “folklore magic” and syncretic Christian spiritualties – systems based on a Christian symbolic system, but incorporating non-Christian elements. Different, however, are syncretic post-Christian spiritualities, which are based on non- Christian symbolic systems, yet implement elements of Christianity.