Frequently I am involved in theological discussions where two concepts are in tension. (The classic example is "Free Will vs Predestination".) More often than not, one person in the conversation will say something along the lines of "It's Both/And, not Either/Or". If such a Both/And seems like a logical contradiction, then the contradiction is "solved" by invoking the mystery or transcendence or omnipotence of God. This annoys me to no end.
What annoys me about this is that it discourages exploration of the topic at hand. The person who says almost invariably has the attitude that since the answer is "Both/And", then we are wasting our time by studying it further. And if that person has appealed to the mystery/transcendence/omnipotence of God, then it is foolish for us to attempt to penetrate that. (I've even had professors tell me that further exploration into the doctrine of the Trinity is inadvisable as the doctrine is unfathomable. I guess they must be dismayed by the last 50 years of theology.) While the people who say these things think that they are being wise, it seems to me that they are arrogant in their ignorance. It sounds to me like they are saying, "I don't know the answer, but I know that no one can know the answer." However, they never seem to put forth the proof that no one can know the answer, so I remain unconvinced.
As soon as someone says this, half of the people in the conversation immediately stop thinking about the issue as it if had already been resolved. As a TA (and hopefully, a future professor), this is maddening. I don't want people to stop thinking about it just because someone says "Both/And". That's just failing to wrestle with the issue. If the answer really is "Both/And", then I want to know how and, if possible, why it is Both/And; it is not simply enough to know that that is the answer (if indeed it is the answer).
What also frustrates me is that "Both/And" is overused. While I accept that "Both/And" is the correct answer to "Is God Three Persons or One Being?" and "Is Jesus fully God or fully Human?" both of those questions are about the nature of God. It is not to hard for me to accept that the nature of God transcends human logic. But when we got to questions outside of the nature of God, I'm extremely unwilling to accept "Both/And" as an answer. Before I'll accept it as an answer, I need proof that the two positions in tension are not mutually exclusive. (And even if I accept it as an answer, don't expect me to stop exploring the issue.)
As a TA, I see many people who overuse "Both/And" in my classes. With the worst offenders, I'm tempted to answer all of their class related either/or questions with "Both/And": Pre-trib or Post-trib? Both/And. Women should or should not be allowed to be the senior pastor of a church? Both/And. Do infants who die go to heaven or hell? Both/And.
So far, I have managed to restrain myself. We'll see how long that lasts.