Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 20:16:25 EDT

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    It looks like I just dumped out a whole gunny sack full of snakes
    [interesting but difficult theological questions] onto the ground and
    they're slithering off in every direction faster than I can keep track of
    them. To be candid, I don't have carefully crafted answers to all of these
    good questions, and that's OK with me. It means that my spiritual odyssey
    will continue to be a challenging and adventurous journey of discovery.

    Let me begin with a brief response to Ted Davis.

    I had said:

    > I am not asking for anyone on this list to agree with my choice. The limited
    > point is that my choice is one that goes far beyond science. To tie in with
    > my opening question, SCIENCE does not deserve either the credit or blame
    > for my choice.

    Ted replied:

    > My comment is, speaking as an historian of religion and science, that it is
    > almost always a larger human story, not directly involving science, that
    > provides the reasons why individual scientists change their religious
    > beliefs--and I mean "change" to include (1) conversion to religion, (2) loss
    > of religious faith, or (3) redefinition of one's religious understanding
    > without necessarily loss of faith. The historical stereotype, according to
    > which science leads people to lose faith, does hold in some cases. But it
    > usually doesn't. Science is typically a rather minor factor. Darwin, e.g.,
    > probably lost his theism following the deaths of his father and favorite
    > daughter, not following his visit to the Galapagos or his reading of Thomas
    > Malthus.

    Thanks, Ted. That was the original point of my post.


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