Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 09:59:50 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church"

    Thanks for the positive comments. I begin to conclude that this refusal may be a
    deliberate strategy, not an omission. By not engaging in theology PJ appears able to
    achieve 3 things:

    1) Avoid overt commitment to a theological position thereby undermining the supposed
    non-religious nature of ID that he maintains to the secular world.

    2) Avoid overt affirmation of the theological necessity of supernatural formation in
    biology and identifying himself with classic creationism, a bad move if you want to
    legitimize ID

    3) Avoid acknowledging that the God who is able to create successive human and animal
    generations, make the rivers flow, plants grow, bring day and night, and feed animals and
    humans is sovereign enough to create by organic evolution, thereby undercutting is whole

    This seems bizarre to those of us who want to understand and relate science and theology
    in our faith and life, but makes sense seen from PJ's apparent perspective that this is a
    war (note the military metaphor of "strategy") against metaphysical naturalism and the key
    fortress to be assailed before the final redoubt is labeled "methodological naturalism"
    based on a foundation built on Darwin.

    Alternatively, perhaps we should ask the question that, if theology is so irrelevant to
    the issue, how central is it to PJ himself? Are Christians being used as unwitting
    assault troops in what is essentially a secular enterprise? The US-based political and
    social overtones of the CRSC and Discovery Institute are confusing, perplexing and
    disturbing for those of us in the rest of the world. At least YEC supporters are for the
    most part sincere and well meaning with a genuine personal faith, if misguided and misled
    (from my own biased point of view!).


    george murphy wrote:

    > Jonathan Clarke wrote:
    > > Thank you Keith for posting this extraordinarily candid and illuminating answer
    > > from PJ. Where (and how) did you get it? A citation would be helpful as this is
    > > well worth adding to my collection of PJs pronouncements. Sections that
    > > particularly caught my eye.
    > My thanks also to Keith & to Jon for his analysis. One other point: Johnson
    > talks about the roles of scientists and lawyers (= logicians by his logic) in the
    > debate, but never refers to theologians. I.e., he apparently doesn't think any
    > training in thinking about God or divine action is necessary in order to talk about
    > creation. This doesn't mean that theology will be absent from his discussion because
    > he does want to talk refer to "God" sometimes, but his theology will be simply
    > philosophy dressed up with some Sunday School Bible stories.
    > & this is the pattern displayed by the whole ID movement - an apparent lack of
    > interest in any real understanding of the character or actions of the God who is
    > supposedly being defended against naturalism. I find this very strange. When we do
    > get some glimpses of attention to religious matters, such as Wells' Unificationist
    > theology, they are not encouraging.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Dialogue"

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