Re: Methodological naturalism

George Murphy (
Thu, 26 Mar 1998 08:59:58 -0500

Phillip E. Johnson wrote:

> My interest is in MN as held and applied in the culture of evolutionary
> science. There any distinction between a "secondary working principle" and
> a "fundamental presupposition about reality" collapses, because of the
> determination to explain all of reality on naturalistic terms. My purpose
> was to explain why Christian theism is so thoroughly marginalized in the
> academic world, and why the drift is towards a more comprehensive
> acceptance of methodological naturalism, including in Biblical studies.
> Intellectual life in the twentieth century is not based on the premise that
> "what is truly fundamental about reality, God, is revealed in the cross and
> resurrection of Jesus Christ." That premise is relegated to Sunday school,
> and it is not all that secure even there.

OK as far as it goes. But your original post & other statements
show little appreciation for the fact that that many Christian
scientists & theologians hold, for essentially theological reasons,
versions of MN which are not as absolutist as the ones you properly
criticize, but considerably stronger than you are comfortable with - &
that such versions are quite adequate for acceptance of, e.g., Darwinian
There is a good deal of latitude for legitimate apologetic
strategies, but apologetics should not misrepresent the heart of the
Christian faith, even if that gains temporary success. If people are
given the impression that all versions of MN are anti-Christian, that
God must provide some proof of his existence & activity in the natural
world in order to be God, they will get distorted ideas of the Christian
understanding of God.

George L. Murphy