Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Merv Bitikofer <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Tue May 19 2009 - 20:13:20 EDT

You are right to reject TE as you have described it here. My question,
though, is: What TEs here (or anywhere) describe themselves this way?

I have pretty strong TE leanings at this point and I would like to think
that my inclinations are based on sound understanding of it. But
obviously my understanding is widely divergent from yours as I do not in
the least consider myself a Darwinist --or schizophrenic about science
and spirituality. Are there any TEs here who would say that science
has proved our existence to be a cosmic "accident" --in the strong "life
is meaningless" sense of that word?

At least I didn't *think* I was anything like a Darwinist, though
perhaps I had better be careful here, since Ted's references to
historical Darwinism confused me. Perhaps I need clarification on just
what a Darwinist is taken to be. Ted? A simplistic reading of your
post seemed to me to be that Darwinists deny design and instead
(promote?) natural selection as the (only?) driving force? But I'm not
sure I understood all your wording correctly. What George said earlier
--essentially that general design acceptance is a pretty big camp that
includes almost all Christians (and I would add TE Christians if he
didn't already imply it) makes a lot of sense. We may be stuck all
over the map on the details, but what Christian is making a blanket
denial of God's hand in creation?

You are right to strongly reject this view, but I strongly doubt too
many TEs have been caught in your net.

--Merv

Cameron Wybrow wrote:
>
> It seems to me that the neo-Darwinian possibility you are propounding
> here (and again, I recognize that you aren't affirming it
> dogmatically, but merely allowing it as a possibility) is profoundly
> schizophrenic. With the "reason" or "science" side of our minds and
> souls, we acknowledge the universe, including life and mind, as the
> product entirely of chance and necessity. With the "faith" side of
> our minds or souls, we look at the same universe and see its accidents
> and necessities as meaningful and purposive. It is almost as if by
> some strange act of will we can make the purposeless purposeful, the
> meaningless meaningful, the undirected directed. It is this
> schizophrenic side of TE -- *not* the quantum-direction notion put
> forward by Ted, George and Robert Russell -- that ID people, YEC
> people, OEC people, and many other Christians find repugnant. On such
> a view, faith becomes an a-cosmic, irrational, idiosyncratic personal
> quirk, a way of looking at reality which some people adopt, and others
> do not, while reality itself provides no basis for faith's way of
> looking at it. Faith and reason are radically disjoined, not
> connected at all, even by the slenderest of threads. What we "know"
> through faith is entirely distinct from, and opposed to, what our
> senses and reason tell us. Existence is not a coherent whole, in
> which the knower and the reality known are integrally connected, and
> in which the truths of the head ("science") and the truths of the
> heart ("faith") are connected. A TE-Darwinist and a Dawkins-Darwinist
> can walk out of the same lab after a hard day's work, both agreeing,
> "Yep, the marvels of the human brain are the result of a cosmic
> accident -- that's been proved by science, except for a few details of
> the evolutionary pathways", and then the TE-Darwinist can wander off
> to Church and pray to the providential Biblical Creator-God, while the
> Dawkins-Darwinist goes off to give a talk to the Rationalist Club
> about the stupidity of religious belief. It's a scene straight out of
> the theatre of the absurd.
>
> I cannot prove that this schizophrenic view of reality is wrong. But
> at a fundamental, existential level, I simply reject it. It strikes
> me as a modern, science-dressed-up, secularized version of ancient
> Marcionitism. For the evil God who created the world in Marcionitism,
> we have the uncaring secular god of chance and necessity. For
> Marcion's higher, good God, we have the unknowable-by-reason-or-nature
> God who selected our world out of the cosmic corner store, but handed
> its governance entirely over to the evil (or at least uncaring) god of
> chance and necessity, so that the world which the good God secretly
> ordained looks and feels (to us human beings) like a world ruled by an
> evil or heartless one. And for the escape route from the world of the
> evil or heartless god to the realm of the higher God, we have faith --
> faith in the good God, for whose existence the world provides not a
> shred of evidence.
>
> It may be that this is the truth that Christianity teaches, and that I
> simply lack spiritual understanding. It may be that I have failed to
> grasp the sheer irrational otherness of God, and perhaps my sunny,
> optimistic disposition is blind to the horrible truth of the
> oppressive, alienating darkness of the world. But irrationality,
> darkness and alienation is not the teaching about nature that I find
> in Genesis 1. I don't take Genesis 1 literally as a series of events,
> but I think that we are meant to adopt the "feel" of the world
> described in Genesis. And I don't think that any version of
> "Christian Darwinism" has this feel. When I read Genesis, I
> understand the world to be objectively (not just subjectively, to the
> eye of faith only) "very good". When I read the Psalms I understand
> the world to be "very good". And I understand the world to be orderly
> and rational, reflecting, in a way partly accessible to our
> understanding, the mind of its maker. I believe that all of this is
> the traditional Jewish position, and I believe that it was also the
> position of Jesus as a Jewish teacher. This position is also
> compatible with much that is found in Greek philosophy, and with much
> of Patristic, Medieval, Renaissance, Protestant and neo-Thomist
> theology, and with the Pope's Regensburg address.
>
> Therefore, I maintain my position. I agree with you that God might
> have produced this word in a number of ways -- front-loading,
> miracles, some form of evolution punctuated by miracles, immanent
> intelligence of some kind, etc. I also agree with you that it is not
> necessary to settle the exact means of creation in order to have a
> sound Christian theology. So we agree on much. But I still must
> exclude what I call "Christian Darwinism". I think that the attempt
> to bring full-fledged Darwinism under the wing of Christian theology
> is profoundly mistaken. I think that undiluted, full-fledged
> Darwinism implies a metaphysics which is incompatible with
> Christianity, and that if Dawkins, Coyne, Sagan, etc. are right about
> the way that nature is, then Christianity is false and must be
> surrendered. And I think that some (not all) TEs confuse the world by
> suggesting otherwise.
>
> Cameron.

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Received on Tue May 19 20:13:37 2009

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