Re: [asa] Re: Peter Enns and the future direction of WTS

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Mon Mar 31 2008 - 07:50:51 EDT

Back to your condescending ways of communicating are you, Michael Roberts, Diocese of Blackburn? It would be a discredit to ASA and CIS if I had not learned anything about Christianity and/or science and religion in the past two years of visiting these lists. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you're carrying on a dialogue with Christians or with cretins, Michael! Check your spelling (Christens), to please figure out that the tone of your voice can also be willfully changed, if you would allow it.
  Now, Michael, you may indeed speak for modern (i.e. not contemporary) theology or for the voices of those who have not yet encountered the hermeneutic turn (e.g. 16th, 17th and 19th century voices, as you've referenced), or the linguistic and cultural turns in human understanding. But do you realize how easy it is to simply dismiss your perspectives as 'outdated'!? We're in the 21st century now!!! Get with it...the Spirit is moving!
  In one sense I'm glad that you speak as bluntly and as disrespectfully as you do. It makes it easier to expose eccentricities. Do you really think that 'geology' is a significant player in science and religion discourse today? Sure, geology has its place, but let's get real. It is clearly not involved in the main discussions, aside from the fetish of YECism. Dick Fisher's historical views of Adam and Eve are far more provocative (and biblically engaging) than simply counting rocks and layers of sediment! For all your positive talk about 'different bottles' to learn from, Michael, you certainly seem unwilling to consider views outside of those your tastebuds already know. Sociology matters, friend!
  David O's observation that, "'nature' here means something broader than just 'natural science'," seems well intended. Probably he could give ASA an interesting presentation on the difference(s) between natural law and positive law, from a legal studies perspective. Of course, the sociological origins of 'positivism' have their own perspective to share, that no single juridicial, normative perspective can dominate.
  A question surfaces: Why so rigidly dichotomize 'Nature' and 'Scripture' if (in doing so) it obscures a more holistic understanding of human personhood, in the light of revelation?
  If (human-social) 'group dynamics' are (merely) part of the 'book of Nature' then this commits the same fallacy that George admits when saying that anything that is not supernatural IS natural (note: he uses natura and naturans, following Spinoza). This shouldn't be seen as a feasible point of view today; we are past this, aren't we?!
  It is convenient for people to say that effects are due to the 'cultural context' of the ancient time when it suits their views. However, when the tables are turned on them, they deny the methodology. Double standards in such cases are obvious.
  Dick admits that a 'book of God's work in history' is a third alternative 'outside' of the Scripture or Nature dichotomy. What to do with this important distinction (though I agree, but would add others, from outside the Anglo-Saxon tradition), especially taking into hand the continued arguments of A. Moorad on this list about historical uniqueness (cf. Windelband, Dilthey) in contrast to experimental physical science?
  What I have a problem with is when 'the' so-called monolithic 'scientific method,' as spoken/flaunted by scientistic natural scientists, including religious ones, is used as both weapon and shield to attack and defend the authority of physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, over against anthropology, sociology, political science, culturology, etc. Surely your War in Iraq is duly indicative that 'pure science' and technology are only a part or piece of the puzzle in gaining peace, dignity and justice in human affairs! This is why you've employed anthropologists in the Middle East as well.
  Those who over-accentuate science and the technology at the cost of human understanding are actually damaging the reality on the ground, in affirming everyday life. This is clearly not Michael's geological 'ground,' but another, the knowledge of which he is not professionally privy to (and communicatively biased against). This is a Fact, not an opinion. His ancient views are of no match for the flexibility, interdisciplinarity, relativity and fragmentation in the academia today.
  Though the 'institutional sovereignty' of WTS may seem obvious to Michael, the human-social reality of power expressed in such institutions is lost to his geology-theology combination. Admitting this is to take a step toward understanding a legitimate sphere of knowledge which Michael has obviously undervalued on his journey. If you really, honestly, gracefully wish to understand, Michael, then read, speak and more importantly listen to those whose views are outside of your academic sensibilities, yet whose religious heart is facing the same direction as yours, evangelistic or not aside.
Michael Roberts <> wrote:
  Your post simply indicates that you do not understand any of the issues either about Christianity in general or science and religion in particular.
  Many Christens do not accept a historical Adam, including a good number of evangelicals.
  The two books idea is familiar to anyone who knows their history of Christian thought as it was very common and general in the 16 and 17th century , and largely went out for most non-evangelicals in the 19th century. A basic grasp of the history of ideas is very useful for those on this list as it stops us from being too narrowly focussed on say just Christianity and geology:):)
  Denis's combination of dentistry biology and theology is most useful and it seems to give him a certain bite. It is just as useful and no more or less than those like George who have physics and theology, or even Thistleton with his philosophy and theology or David Lyon and his sociology. All bring a bottle to share and it is good to learn from others with a different perspective. I value learning from anyone from whatever background - unless they have a closed mind
  I cannot see what the point of the WTS's institutional sovereignty as a human social issue. You comment is so obvious that it doesn't need stating.
  I wish I could understand how your mind works and why you always bring up such ideas
    ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: Denis O. Lamoureux ; Steve Martin ; ASA
  Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 1:16 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Re: Peter Enns and the future direction of WTS

  To add to the question of 'why not historical Adam and Eve?' (which is more or less consistent for Jews, Christians and Muslims, even Bahai's), I'd like to pose something else. Why ONLY Two (2) books? Why not three, or five or 7 books? Is it due to the Tradition? Does it say 'two books' anywhere in Scripture or is this a modernist 'natural science and theology' reading? Does the connection of biology, dentistry and theology afford a special perspective on this topic that others are likely not privy to? Surely the issue of 'institutional sovereignty' (e.g. WTS) is a human-social problem/issue, not something usually studied by natural scientists or theologians (in their main works).
Thanks in advance for comments. - G.A.
"Denis O. Lamoureux" <> wrote:
    24 years ago I felt called to open God's Two Books. Any yes, like many, I started the voyage as a young earth creationist. But along the way there were a few surprises--Gen 1-11 is not a historical record, and biological evolution is a FACT. But through the process the Lord Jesus was right there, front and centre. Sadly, I had to leave my tradition to find a job.
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Received on Mon Mar 31 07:52:03 2008

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