Re: The Academic Gap [was Re: A case for Christianity that does use ID or YEC arguments]

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Feb 06 2004 - 09:27:47 EST

Phil writes:
This is encouraging to hear! Having the academic freedom to present the
alternative views so that the students can make their own decisions is
preferrable over indoctrination of any single view. Your approach resembles
the teaching method at the seminary I attended--a method that was criticized
by denominational leaders, but wholeheartedly supported by the seminary
professors and leadership.

Ted replies: this is our approach typically, on issues of all sorts in all
departments. We as faculty uphold what Lewis might have called "mere
Christianity," that is we annually affirm the Apostles' Creed when we sign
our contracts. We are expected and encouraged to grapple ourselves with
tough issues, and to communicate what we've learned to our students *in
appropriate ways*. I am myself bothered by some conclusions of some of my
colleagues in various departments, but that's to be expected--I imagine some
of them are bothered at times by some of my conclusions!

For myself, a former YECer, it was a combination of factors as a student
that caused a paradigm shift in my cosmological view:

- a course in ancient Hebrew backgrounds where I learned about the usage of
allegory as a common method of communication for that time
- two courses in Biblical hermeneutics
- a philosophy course that contained a required reading of Conrad Hyers'
article, "Biblical Literalism: Constricting the Cosmic Dance"

Ted: The single most effective article I use with my own students, in most
of my classes, is Conrad Hyers' article, "Dinosaur Religion: On Interpreting
and Misinterpreting the Creation Texts," published in PSCF in Sept 1984. I
hope that everyone notices this: if you are teaching about "science and the
Bible," this article is simply required reading for you and your students!
This conclusion is based on twenty years of teaching about science and
religion, I don't recommend this article lightly. It's available,
incidentally, on the ASA website. The only other text I would place in this
category, is Galileo's Letter to Christina.

Received on Fri Feb 6 09:28:09 2004

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