Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church

From: george murphy (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 13:54:49 EDT

  • Next message: Jonathan Clarke: "Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church"

    Jonathan Clarke wrote:

    > 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
    > position.
    > 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!).

            The possible reasons you note for Johnson's ignoring of theology probably are
    significant contributors to his silence about this dimension of the discussion. But there may
    be a simpler exaplanation - he simply doesn't know anything about theology & doesn't think
    that it's worthwhile to learn anything about it. At least I have never heard anything of his
    that shows that he (unlike, e.g., Dembski) has done any serious study in the area, and his
    notorious statement about God leaving his fingerprints all over the evidence suggests less
    than mature theological reflection.
            & before anyone criticizes me for being judgmental, note that I am saying nothing here
    about the quality of his Christian faith. He may well have a profound personal trust in
    Christ. But faith and thinking about the object and implications of faith aren't the same

    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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