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

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2009 - 11:43:57 EST

Bernie -- research the aboriginal "dreamtime" and you'll see its not really
analogous to what we would call a "vision." Its a different,
non-materialist ontology combined with a mytho-poetic origins story (good
description, Murray?). It resonates in many ways with the ANE understanding
of ontology and cosmic origins.

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

On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 11:37 AM, Dehler, Bernie <>wrote:

> Hi Pastor Murray-
> What you refer to as "dreaming" in a positive estimation I think
> westerners would call a "vision." Dreams are usually goofy. "Visions" are
> from God... whether obtained from a dream state or an awake trance-state.
> So I see nothing new or different being offered here at all.
> ...Bernie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Murray Hogg
> Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 4:40 AM
> To: ASA
> Subject: Re: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the future)
> Hi All,
> I'll only offer the observation here that the only people I've ever met who
> offer anything like a fully-orbed, theologically orthodox, scientifically
> informed, and biblically literate resolution of the nexus between evolution
> and Christian faith have been Australian Aboriginal Christians.
> This is primarily because of the approach they take to Genesis - treating
> it as "a Dreaming" rather than as a historical narrative. I'm sorry that I
> can't easily flesh that out much more as the Dreaming is a quite profound
> approach to describing reality through the use of narrative which has no
> counterpart in western thought.
> The problem for contemporary westerners is that we tend to have a pretty
> stark dichotomy between the notions of "history" and "myth" - with the
> former being "true" and the later "false." But the Dreaming is quite another
> category altogether - it reads like history, but it has more affinity with
> something like a Platonic plane of forms.
> As such a Dreaming might read to us like a historical narrative, but it's
> actually a description of present reality, of the proper order of things, so
> to speak. As such to ask the question "did it happen?" is actually a
> category error (and will only result in much shaking of heads amongst
> Aboriginals dismayed by white-fella's ignorance). The only proper question
> is "is it so?" -- which one answers by appeal to the power of the Dreaming
> in question. Very powerful Dreamings have a sort of intuitive obviousness
> which can't be gainsaid and in some respects an Aboriginal might appropriate
> the famous words of CS Lewis to say something like: "I know that this
> Dreaming is true, not because I see it, but because by it I see everything
> else".
> As a consequence of this sort of approach to Genesis, Australian
> Aboriginals tend not to find ANY difficulty in holding together evolution
> and the biblical account of creation. The key is not critiquing the science,
> but in understanding the role of creation stories in "ancient" cultures.
> Personally, I think westerners are by and large clueless on this score and,
> as David suggests, we could learn ALOT from our third-world brothers and
> sisters in regards to how creation stories should be appropriated.
> Blessings,
> Murray.
> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> > David, when you say:
> > "Maybe some of our brothers and sisters from parts of the world that
> > aren't so influenced by rationalism will some day offer some solutions
> > that /we/ will need to integrate"
> >
> >
> >
> > I'm wondering what you could possibly mean by that. It seems to me that
> > the educated western world is at the forefront of integrating science
> > and religion; groups such as the ASA. How could another place come up
> > with better understanding after groups like ASA have been struggling
> > with it for many years- many of the brightest scientists and
> > theologians? Are you thinking maybe a mystic or prophet of God will
> > arise to illuminate all of this?
> >
> >
> >
> > ...Bernie
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Received on Mon Jan 5 11:44:29 2009

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