Re: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the future)

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Jan 01 2009 - 16:27:20 EST

1 -- yes, there are a variety of religious / Christian distinctives on
economics. There is an enormous body of Catholic social teaching on
economic justice; there's another strand of vigorous social critique running
from the early anabaptists to Bonheoffer to MLK to Yoder to Hauerwas; there
is the neo-Calvinist tradition which largely undergirds many current
evangelical approaches; and so on. If you don't care about this from a
theological / spiritual perspective before it hits your 401K directly, then
your theology and spirituality probably need some work.

2 -- I'm so tired of hearing that the Church is in crisis because of
evolution. The Church of Jesus Christ in many ways has never been more
robust in all the history of Christianity. The gospel is exploding in Asia,
Africa and South America; the average Christian has never been more educated
and literate (at least in North America); there is wealth, aid, and support
being transferred to needy people in the name of Jesus in greater volume
than ever; and so on. Crisis-talk is myopic and is usually mediated by our
own personal sense of crisis.

The science of evolution is presenting a painful challenge to one small
segment of the Church at present -- educated Western evangelicals. This is
an important segment of the Church, arguably, because it is so wealthy and
influential. And it is important to those of us who live and minister in
well-educated Western contexts. But it's hardly a "crisis" in the Church

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 2:09 PM, Dehler, Bernie <>wrote:

> One of the problems with economics is that no one cares about it until
> there is a crisis or meltdown. I also don't see how religion plays a part
> in the economy- does an atheist, Mormon, Baptist, or Catholic have any
> faith-based issues or distinctives?
> In addition, Christianity is in a *crisis* right now, over the issue of
> evolution and how to deal with it (is it atheist and ungodly, or God's way
> of design?). I'd suggest that the ASA put more effort into resolving this
> conflict for the churches and scientists. It is easy and tempting to avoid
> the conflict, but I think this conflict is what gives the ASA its prime
> directive. Some people are on the forefront of this evolution battle, like
> Denis Lamoureux and Francis Collins… and they are persecuted by the church
> for it. Will the ASA help and offer discernment? I know the ASA has done a
> lot- just saying it should be a prime focus and even more focused. I'd *
> love* to see some ASA sponsored debates over YEC, OEC, TE, etc. Has the
> ASA done this yet? If not, that's my suggestion.
> …Bernie
> ------------------------------
> *From:* [] *On
> Behalf Of *Rich Blinne
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 31, 2008 11:03 AM
> *To:* asa
> *Cc:* Randy Isaac
> *Subject:* [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences
> The Washington Post just did a massive three-part series on what happened
> with AIG. I found it very fascinating. Since this is off topic please direct
> all comments off list. The issue of economics does bring to mind a comment
> Randy made in the Jan/Feb newsletter:
> We have few economists in the ASA, and we have no particular expertise or
> mission to critique economic policy.
> What are we doing to attract people in the so-called "soft sciences" into
> the ASA? Many areas of interest of the ASA does intersect economics and
> sociology and in my opinion we should do better here.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA

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Received on Thu Jan 1 16:27:55 2009

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