RE: Please show respect (was GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist debate)

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Mon May 06 2002 - 15:19:17 EDT

  • Next message: Shuan Rose: "RE: Please show respect (was GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist debate)"

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
    Sent: Monday, May 06, 2002 1:58 PM
    Subject: RE: Please show respect (was GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist

    >You wrote:
    >>It is worth discussing, just not all the freaking time. Christianity is a
    >>whole more than Gen 1-11. But you would never know it from this listserv.
    >Over the years we have been frustrated as well with this phenomenon.
    >The issue has been equally frustrating for the ASA journal (PSCF).
    >Those interested in a Christian perspective on environmental issues
    >and stewardship of natural resources are extremely frustrated by
    >this: see for
    >an expression of some of the frustration within the ASA over this

    Did you sense some frustratiom<g>?

    >I suspect that one of the explanations for this is that this is one
    >of the areas in which we are deeply divided as an organization. We
    >have chosen to agree to disagree on this issue, yet we still debate
    >and talk and fellowship...a good thing, I think.


    >I don't think that we can force the hand of those involved. My
    >suggestion is that if you want to talk about something else...go for
    > may not get many responses thought. Similarly, if you don't
    >want to talk about origins issues, don't.
    >We've encouraged a labeling scheme where you label posts with general
    >topic (ORIGINS, BIBLE, ENVIRONMENT, ETHICS, etc.) but it hasn't
    >really taken off.
    >Personally, I'm forced into the origins discussion simply as an
    >advocate for the orthodoxy of those like myself who aren't Biblical
    >literalists on Genesis 1 (in particular) and who see evolution as a
    >scientific description of God's creative work. For many of us, the
    >churches and denominations that we find ourselves in would be more
    >than happy to exclude us in favor of more young-earth creationist
    >oriented interpretations of the Bible and "science". Thus, if we
    >don't speak up, we will find ourselves outside of the church or
    >denomination that otherwise we agree with in most other areas of
    >faith and practice.

    You too, hunh? Well, its good to know that I have company in my misery.

    >I'm much more interested in questions of worldview (what general
    >attitude ought Christians have toward the culture around--science,
    >politics, law, journalism, the arts, etc.?) and "reductionism in
    >biology" (what is the relationship between chemistry and biology,
    >between neurochemistry and mind?). ASA has journal issues devoted to
    >both of these topics and they continue to interest many, but,
    >clearly, interest in origins dominates. Also, the topics aren't
    >totally disconnected. Both of the issues that I have mentioned can
    >quickly point back to origins questions, although to be honest, I
    >think that if you address the other questions first, you've gone a
    >long way to anwer many of the issues raised in the origins debate.
    >As I attempted to explain in my response to you earlier, there are
    >"different" scholarships. It would go a long way in our discussions
    >if we all would recognize this. Some of us take "offense" at other's
    >acceptance of more "liberal" scholarship. Others of us take "offense"
    >at yet other's acceptance of more "conservative" scholarship. It is
    >really the case that many of these issues are already decided by
    >which scholarship we accept and that most of the time we are merely
    >talking past each other, because we can't accept the foundations of
    >other's viewpoint. I think that this is why we often so quickly get
    >back to the doctrine of scripture--but here is where the "liberal"
    >vs. "conservative" scholarship differ most radically.

    I think that one productive thing we should do is to acquaint ourselves with
    each other's scholars. The only way that I know how to learn is rto read
    about someone else's point of view, and why they hold it. Discussion is a
    good thing, if done with respect. I dislike someone just shrugging off
    another's viewpont because he refers to a scholar whom the person considers
    "liberal"or "conservative". IMO, the discuission should continue by
    exploring WHY the scholar thinks as he does, and what's wrong ( or right)
    with his view.

    >As long as we in the ASA are open to multiple perspectives on some of
    >these core issues we're simply going to have to find areas of
    >agreement, work together in those areas, and agree to disagree with
    >respect to other areas...after all, the ASA is not "the church". The
    >other point along these lines is that the ASA is very much a
    >"discussion" oriented organization. I'm not so sure that we need to
    >come to a consensus "and then move on" on these issues. This is
    >frustrating to some, it seems. Even the leadership of the ASA is
    >frustrated by this, it seems. For example, in the latest ASA
    >Newsletter and at the last annual meeting, there was discussion of
    >the ASA Lay Education Project. Some in the ASA, perhaps the majority,
    >want us to come out and say that yes, the earth is old, and this
    >conclusion is consistent with both the Bible and science and that the
    >young-earth creationists are wrong on this issue. Now I happen to
    >agree with this conclusion, but I'm not sure that we want to
    >"exclude" young-earthers from the ASA by taking such a strong stand.
    >Our Statement of Faith claims
    >"As an organization, the ASA does not take a position when there is
    >honest disagreement between Christians on an issue. We are committed
    >to providing an open forum where controversies can be discussed
    >without fear of unjust condemnation. Legitimate differences of
    >opinion among Christians who have studied both the Bible and science
    >are freely expressed within the Affiliation in a context of Christian
    >love and concern for truth."
    >It seems to me that approaches to the early chapters of Genesis and
    >the age of the earth fall in this category. While I don't agree with
    >my young-earth creationist brothers on these matters, I take our
    >disagreements to be "honest" and I want to allow in the ASA "an open
    >forum..." and stifle "unjust condemnation". Sometimes our language on
    >the ASA email list seems to suggest that these controversies cannot
    >be discussed without fear of unjust condemnation, and we seldom
    >recognize our opponents on an issue as having a legitimate difference
    >of opinion.

    I agree with this. They are still our brothers and sisters and we should
    always remember that Christianity is more than just being right about the
    age of the earth. However, my take is that ASA should just take a position
    on this controversy, explaining that there is a majority & minority
    position within the organization. It seems important to me that the outside
    world should know that there is an organization of mostly evangelical
    scientists who clearly believe that the the earth is old and that YEC is NOT
    the only or even the preferred position on Genesis for an evangelical
    Christian. It would be up to the YEC members if they want out or not

    >I don't know where the ASA Lay Education Project will end up...I hope
    >it will encourage us to recognize and respect the motives and
    >Christian commitments of people who differ from us. If agreement on
    >these issues cannot be attained, then we should at least be able to
    >achieve this.

      I think that there is a need for scientists to educate the the laity on
    scientific matters, including matters OTHER than creation-evolution.I see
    the whole stem cell/cloning/genetics debate as possibly being even more
    divisive than CE, and there will be a big need for Christian scientists to
    stand up and be counted in that debate

    >Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    >Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    >Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    >phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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