Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Mon Mar 12 2007 - 18:24:44 EDT

A friend who is SBC is like that. It makes me see that the Anglican Church
has a value in allowing such a range of opinion

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brent Foster" <>
To: <>; <>; "Ted Davis"
Cc: <>
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 10:03 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

>I think that fear of criticism or negative reaction is no more prominent
>among TE scientists than it is among Christians in general, from their
>professional and social peers.
> But one thing I fear is way too prominent is TE pastors who swallow their
> TE convictions for fear of negative reaction from their congregation. And
> this is a very legitimate fear; it would be carreer suicide for some TE
> pastors to publicly support evolution, and I don't envy their position.
> But I also think that pastors have a *far* greater influence on the
> opinions of their congregation than any number of scientific
> professionals, within or outside the church. We can preach TE till we're
> blue in the face but if a trusted pastor says not to buy it, they won't.
> If all TE pastors went public with their convictions there would be a lot
> of pastors out of work, but there would also be some congregations with
> their eyes opened. It may be that some pastors avoid the subject for the
> sake of Pauline unity. But I don't think Paul was one to tolerate bad
> teaching for the sake of unity.
> Brent
> ---- Ted Davis <> wrote:
> =============
> I know several scientists for whom the second part of this quotation is
> somewhat true. That is, they are reluctant to make noise in their
> churches
> about their acceptance of evolution, for various reasons: It's hard to
> explain things clearly to nonscientists; it's impossible to answer some
> objections to the satisfaction of the person raising them, and thus
> pointless to get into an argument that might alienate people; it's not
> very
> important to the life of the congregation, and not worth the argument.
> Etc.
> Some Christian scienitsts I know simply don't accept the official or
> unofficial view of their church on this issue, but otherwise they are
> happy
> with that church and want to remain active in it. In some cases, they
> could
> quite literally be tossed out of the church for their scientific
> conclusions. I could go on.
> On the other side, I have met scientists who are reluctant to talk about
> their religious beliefs at their university or research center. My
> friends
> in the ID movement, ironically, have been known to say or imply that TEs
> are
> cowardly--b/c they don't endorse ID and they want to avoid being looked
> down
> on, so they carefully distance themselves from ID. The truth, IMO, is
> that
> a lot of Christian scientists are TEs (most of them are TEs, in my
> experience), and they distance themselves from ID not b/c they are cowards
> who are afraid of being looked down on, but simply b/c they don't want to
> be
> looked down on for holding views that they don't hold. The easy cultural
> association of Christian scientist = creationist or ID supporter makes
> some
> reluctant to discuss their faith at all, since it is so easily
> misunderstood
> by secular scientists. What scientist wants to be thought of as a
> "creationist" by their scientific colleagues, if it is not an accurate
> label
> to apply in their case? Likewise, what OEC scientist would want to be
> thought of as an "evolutionist" by their fellow Christians, when it is not
> an accurate label to apply in their case? (I am thinking here of the way
> in
> which even an adherent of the old "gap theory" is an "evolutionist" in the
> opinion of some hard-core creationists. Very silly, very inaccurate, but
> very sadly true.)
> The best response to this, IMO, is of the sort that Owen Gingerich
> provides
> in his latest book, "God's Universe." Just clearly state your own faith,
> and indicate clearly just what you believe relative to ID -- relative to
> both the politics of the movement (which Gingerich and I both disown) and
> to
> the basic idea of a purposeful universe (which Gingerich and I both
> affirm).
>>>> "" <> 03/12/07 4:02 PM >>>
> Glenn posted this quotation from Collins: ""While many scientists
> ascribe to TE, they are in general reluctant to speak
> out for fear of negative reaction from their scientific peers, or
> perhaps for fear of criticism from the theological community."
> Francis Collins, The Language of God, (New York: Free Press, 2006),
> p. 202"
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Received on Mon Mar 12 19:02:10 2007

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