Re: P.J. Bowler book

Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 20:45:09 EST

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    For not having read the book, you're right on target. Bowler deals with the
    reconciliation of science and religion as expressed by liberal Anglicans
    (Modernists) and non-materialist scientists. The reconciliation is crucially
    dependent on the thesis that both these groups shared a faith in Progress.
    This faith, and the 'second age' of sci/rel dialogue (we're in the third)
    survived World War I but ended for several reasons: 1) the rise of fascism,
    2) the Depression and related suffering, 3) evangelical voices from the free
    churches, and 4) the rise of Barthian neo-orthodoxy with its disdain for
    natural theology.

    But even to say that is to oversimplify and Bowler introduces a wonderful
    collection of characters (in several senses of that word!) in a most
    enjoyable presentation. Other interesting tidbits include the fact that the
    philosopher Joad found A.N. Whitehead's Process and Reality to be
    incomprehensible, and that by the time Whitehead finished giving the Gifford
    lectures (from which the book resulted), there were only about half a dozen
    people in the audience!

    Hope you get to read the book soon. I think you'll like it.

    Karl V. Evans

    In a message dated 1/10/02 4:46:08 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

    << Sorry I havent read it yet , but it is on my list. Anything by Bowler is
     usually excellent as he is always careful and fair.
     The book as I gather (partly from talking to Bowler) is largely about
     Anglican attitudes from 1900 to c1950 As a result there will be little on
     evangelcals as the Cof E was dominated by either a moderate Modernism or
     Liberal Anglocatholicism until the 50s when the terrible evangelicals came
     back and upset everyone.
     The theology of these was trinitarian with some iffy on the Virgin Birth and
     empty tomb. The bible was most fallible and Genesis was basically myth. Most
     assumed no conflict of science and faith as they had put behind them the
     literalism of the 19th century (and overlooked the fact that in the 19th
     century most were not literalsit!) They had a soft view of the Fall and
     emphasised Incarnation rather than Atonement and rejected Substitutionary
     Atonement. The more liberal/modernist often had a very exemplarist view of
     the atonement - if at all.
     When you read these Anglican theologians William Temple, Gore, NPWilliams,
     Raven and many others you will find a confident liberal optimism which has
     been reroded since WWII as the basis of their weak religious authority was
     undermined. I cannot help seeing them as living off the inherited Christian
     capital of previous generations and thus when questions arose and arose they
     did the whole confident theology was eroded.
     Bowler's best example is Bishop EW Barnes of Birmingham who rejected much
     more in the way of belief but looks orthodox compared to Bish Spong. Bowler
     reckons he was the only really to consider the theological implications of
     evolution and I think he was right. I finfd the others cosy and also adopt a
     very non-darwinian evolution allowing in optimistic progress.
     Now Barnes flung out orthodox belief , the task for us is to demonstrate
     whether or not evolution can be compatible with orthodox belief
     particularly of Fall/sin and atonement.
     I will leave you all with that and will have to read the book

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