[asa] consciousness, ASA article feedback (was: RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Wed Sep 23 2009 - 09:33:12 EDT

Now, Bernie, as for the point you made about TEs focusing on theological and philosophical arguments and ideas, much more than biblical ones. To some extent that is true, but there are good reasons for this that I think you will recognize as such. (It isn't the case that biblical arguments are simply ignored; see people like George Murphy or Denis Lamoureux or Paul Marston on this.)

It is generally true for the interaction of science and religion, pretty much regardless of the specific topic (evolution, cosmology, the soul, miracles, you name it) that philosophy mediates the conversation between science and theology. Bob Russell stresses this, and rightly so. The specific topic of the soul might conform to this pattern even more than any other topic, since the Bible says hardly anything that can be used to form a single, overarching, coherent view of that idea. Even the crucial idea of the imago dei is just mentioned in one place without a definition being offered. The Hebrews didn't think about philosophy in the Greek manner, and our modern scientific conceptions of many things are ultimately based on taking a Greek approach to nature. So, as Christians, the choice isn't whether or not to give a prominent role to philosophy and its cousins (science and theology); we have to do that if we want to have that conversation. The choice is which philoso!
 phical conceptions to privilege. That's perhaps the biggest stumbling block to popularizing the best thinking about Christianity and science: so many people in so many pews, quite understandably, want something simpler and clearer than the best ideas. The challenge is how to get those ideas across in simpler and clearer forms, without too badly misrepresenting them.

So, Bernie, don't be surprised or put off by this emphasis on philosophy and theology, any more than you would be surprised or put off by taking the science seriously. It's part of the package.


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Received on Wed Sep 23 09:34:22 2009

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