Re: P Johnson essay

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 09:17:52 EST

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    The Johnson article called attention (in Johnson's usual style) to the
    articles by Fred Crews that we chatted about some time ago.

    For another (and I think far more interesting) reflection on Crews' essays,
    see the article, "Christ and Darwin," by Stephen J. Pope, in the January
    2-9, 2002, issue of Christian Century. A paragraph near the end reads:

    "Crews's essays illustrate the power of an emotionally driven materialistic
    ideology to steamroll distinctions, to propound grossly inaccurate
    historical generalizations, to mistake nuance and subtlety for evasion and
    rationalization, to introduce ad hominem accusations in place of reasoned
    argument, to equate Sunday School catechism with systematic theology, and to
    beguile people into thinking they face a forced choice between two
    simplistically formulated and mutually exclusive options -- Christ or

    Johnson's reading: "Crews told me that I would hate his pro-Darwinist
    essays, but of course I loved them."

    As I noted in an essay in Theology Today: "William Provine, a vocal
    proponent of naturalism, heartily agrees with Johnson's claim regarding the
    incompatibility of evolution and theistic religion. Johnson takes this
    agreement as confirmatory of his rhetorical strategy. 'Provine and I have
    become very friendly adversaries, because our agreement about how to define
    the question is more important than our disagreement on how to answer it.'
    (I would have expected their religious differences to be far more important
    than their agreement on rhetorical strategy.)"

    Howard (another dupe) Van Till

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