RE: The Problem of Liberal Theology

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu May 09 2002 - 22:46:23 EDT

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    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: JW Burgeson []
    >Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 7:29 AM

    >Glenn wrote, in part: "one of the problems is that when one tries to prove
    >it [Gen 1-11] COULD be accurate, everyone chides that person for trying to
    >PROVE it or chides them for wanting to have historical proof, or
    >chides them
    >for having a YEC mindset, or chides them for not seeing it for the myths
    >that it is, or chides them for not understanding that the true message has
    >to do with a proclamation that there is only one God as opposed to the
    >polytheistic religions of the day or they chide them for not
    >seeing that it
    >is a poem or they chide them for...... on and on ... ."
    >You have a long list there. Let me try to respond.
    >"... everyone chides that person... ."
    >1. Not everyone.
    >2. To the extent that any post of mine here is perceived by you as a
    >"chide," apologies. I do not mean any of them that way.

    Burgy, my friend, you are taking my words a bit too literally. Have you
    become a literalist? :-) I would be shocked! :-)

    Of course not everyone, ever and I hope you know by now that people can say
    almost anything to me or about me and don't get too bothered by it. Often I
    find it a bit amusing. But their is (ok I will say it correctly) almost
    always a stream of notes telling me that this isn't the way one should do
    it. Indeed, Shuan was quick to tell me that AFTER I posted the above note!

    >"... for trying to PROVE it..."
    >For the record, I am pleased that you take this task on, and, as I've
    >mentioned before, the thesis you argue in your two books still
    >appears to me
    >to be the soundest explanation GIVEN THAT ONE ASSUMES THE
    >I am particularly impressed with the observation that your thesis is a
    >scientific one; it can be falsified; it can be supported by possible new
    >evidence yet to be uncovered.
    >"... or chides them for wanting to have historical proof,"
    >Speaking only for myself, I would be delighted to see "historical
    >proof." I
    >just do not see it as a foundational need; I think you do.
    >"... or chides them for having a YEC mindset, ... ."
    >That was me. Let me unpack that statement. A "YEC mindset" does
    >not mean one
    >is a YEC, or a "bad guy," or simple minded, or anything like that. It does
    >mean, as I used it, that one sees the Xtian faith as primarily
    >rather than CONFESSIONAL.

    I know that one was you--I chose it because it was you. And indeed, in some
    sense, Burgy, you are correct, I do have a YEC mindset but I would argue
    that the YEC mindset, of looking for concordance with reality, IS the
    scientific mindset. The problem with the YECs is that they don't incorporate
    the other part of a scientific mindset--correctability. They are constantly
    and incorrigibly incorrectable.

    >Suppose if in Acts 1 Jesus had said "And you shalll be my apologists,
    >bringing everyone into compliance with correct doctrine about me, ... ."
    >Then a prescriptive approach to Xtianity would clearly be
    >understood. He did
    >not, of course, but instead said "You shall be my witnesses ... ."
    >"...or chides them for not seeing it for the myths that it is,..."
    >My argument to you on this is that I don't see you understanding that
    >position as a possibly valid one. You poke fun at it, and that's OK except
    >that sarcasm and irony on this LISTSERV is often not understood as
    >such and
    >is seldom productive. I think I can fairly argue your position,
    >Glenn. I do
    >not think you can argue mine.

    Believe it or not, I might be able to argue it, but on this list I have seen
    no reason to try. And, no, I probably don't see a reason to hold that it is
    ok to have so little historical content as you. But even you fall to my
    position if I ask the question would you believe the OT if none of it was

    >"... or chides them for not understanding that the true message has to do
    >with a proclamation that there is only one God as opposed to the
    >polytheistic religions of the day ... ."
    >I think you understand that message, Glenn. I think that all on this
    >LISTSERV probably do. You are looking for more -- to bolster or make more
    >credible the faith; I applaud that effort without seeing it as
    >useful for ME. It may well be useful for others, of a more
    >conservative/fundamentalist persuasion.

    Actually, I am glad it isn't useful to you. You probably have less trouble
    in these issues than I.

    >"...or they chide them for not seeing that it is a poem or... "
    >Not quite, But I would encourage people to EXAMINE THE ARGUMENTS why some
    >folks think it is a poem.

    I know the arguments but I think it actually makes no difference. It is the
    truth or falsity of the poem that makes a difference and of course, as usual
    I am not speaking of internalized spiritual truth.

    >My daughter is a lawyer. She tells me that if she does not know her
    >opponent's arguments as well as he does, she is likely to lose in the
    >courtroom. She is a smart cookie.

    I won't claim to know every persons argument as well as they, but I do know
    it and actually could do a credible imitation of it. I really think you
    underestimate me here. I am arguing against a position which spiritualizes
    early Genesis, because of the necessity for God to be the creator. That
    doesn't mean I don't know the arguments. For goodness sake, George has
    excellently propounded them enough. And I have (boringly) replied often


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