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Bill Nye, Creationism, and Our Take
October 19, 2012 | Matthew Dodrill
Bill Nye, Creationism, and Our Take
Bill Nye (yes, the science guy) has received some attention for his recent comments on evolution and creationism. We appreciate and commend Mr. Nye’s passion for science and learning; indeed, his concerns for academic honesty, scientific coherence, and, even more significantly, the future of our children’s intellectual welfare, are deserving of our admiration. Our concern, however, lies with the all-too-familiar rhetoric of polarization. When these two accounts are placed in fundamental opposition as though they represent totally contrasting philosophies on life (notice Nye’s use of the term “worldview”), people typically perceive them as foes without any mutual concerns. Is it any wonder, then, that some Evolutionary Creationists have accused Young Earth Creationists of dissenting into “cultic groups” all because they don’t adhere to the supposed authority of “reason”? (Whose reason are we referring to, anyway? And who deemed it canonical?) And isn’t it typical, given this polarization, that some Young Earthers often conflate evolutionary theory with naturalism (an actual worldview), such that an evolutionist cannot possibly be thought of as a Christian? Imagine the predicament for the church: an Evolutionary Creationist sits in her church pew on Sunday, and during the moment at which the congregation passes the peace, she glances over at her neighbor, a Young Earth Creationist. Now what? Will the saintly evolutionist have communion with the cult-follower? And will the saintly Young Earther pass the peace with the pagan? Apparently they’ve forgotten the brotherhood and sisterhood they share by virtue of their baptisms. What a tragedy. We believe Young Earthers hold some theological concerns that Mr. Nye has neglected to mention (or, perhaps, that he doesn’t understand). This is not an insignificant claim, because many of these theological concerns are shared by Evolutionary Creationists. What’s more, these theological insights can speak to science. If the universe is held together by Jesus and infused with His divine presence, we need not and should not say that science alone has a monopoly on nature. Rather, since Jesus is always “behind” the details of nature, theology necessarily informs our explorations of this universe. That is why Stephen Jay Gould’s “Non-Overlapping Magisteria” – the notion that science and religion have autonomous and separate “domains” – is simply untenable for Christians who believe nature is held together and infused by Jesus. While Nye believes the rejection of evolution renders one’s worldview a silly “mystery,” we would submit that Christians – YECs and ECs alike – already believe the world is undergirded by the Mystery and points beyond to the Mystery. If this is true, then Nye’s criteria for knowledge should be called into question. Finally, Evolutionary Creationism is not a worldview, nor is Young Earth Creationism. Despite what Mr. Nye says about worldviews hinging upon scientific outlooks, Christians’ worldviews are shaped by the Spirit-infused practices of the church (i.e., our worshipping practices). In fact, those practices are our worldview; passing the peace and sharing the communion table mark a proclamation and embodiment of the truth that all things hold together in Christ. And as Todd Wood, a Young Earth Creationist, has recently said, the embodiment of this truth often takes the form of surrender. While the principalities and powers try to pry apart YECs and ECs into partisan categories, we believe Jesus draws all things to himself, including seemingly contradictory insights. To hold to the mystery of the faith, as Paul tells Timothy, is to expect the Spirit to surprise us. In the end, we might be surprised to find that the Truth encompasses insights we’d previously fashioned into enemies. As YECs and ECs pass the peace and embrace the mystery, may the Spirit surprise us with a new thing.
An Atheist Reviews a Christian Philosopher
October 18, 2012 | Daniel Camacho
An Atheist Reviews a Christian Philosopher
Thomas Nagel, University Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, has recently reviewed Alvin Plantinga’s book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. As someone “who cannot imagine believing what he believes,” Nagel is, nevertheless, appreciative of Plantinga’s book and admits: “his comprehensive stand is a valuable contribution to this debate.” Read the rest of this thoughtful and engaging review at The New York Review of Books. 
Traditioned Innovation
October 13, 2012 | Daniel Camacho
Traditioned Innovation
C. Kavin Rowe, Professor of New Testament at Duke University Divinity School, has written a post exploring “traditioned innovation” as a biblical way of thinking. “Traditioned innovation,” he suggests, “is a way of thinking and living that points toward the future in light of the past, a habit of being that requires both a deep fidelity to the tradition that has borne us to the present and a radical openness to the innovations that will carry us forward.” Navigating through the biblical narrative of creation, fall, election, redemption, and consummation, Rowe shows how God’s pattern of creating and redeeming contains both innovation and fidelity to tradition. Traditioned innovation can provide a helpful framework for the church as it wrestles with its tradition and the findings of modern science. Be sure to check out Rowe’s full article, Traditioned innovation: A biblical way of thinking. This was first published at Faith & Leadership.
Pull Up A Seat: Venturing to the Other Side of the Dialogue Table
October 4, 2012 | Andy Saur
Pull Up A Seat: Venturing to the Other Side of the Dialogue Table
It's always a provocative experiment when an "outsider" takes part in a community in which they naturally do not belong. So when Jason Rosenhouse, an atheist and math professor, wrote Among the Creationists, a memoir about his experience attending Intelligent Design and Creationist conferences, we asked our friend, Todd Wood, to write a review. Todd, a young age creationist, attends a conference every year of evolutionary biologists, listening, eating lunch and talking shop alongside people with whom he substantively disagrees. As such, we couldn't think of a better person to review Rosenhouse's new book than our friend, Todd Wood. Read on for what Todd discovered...(Rosenhouse Review)
Tim Stafford on "A Tale of Two Scientists" and "Science as a Gift"
September 3, 2012 | Matthew Dodrill
Tim Stafford on "A Tale of Two Scientists" and "Science as a Gift"
Tim Stafford of Christianity Today recently wrote a piece titled A Tale of Two Scientists: What Really Happened ‘in the Beginning.’ There Stafford highlights the faith stories and intellectual pursuits of Todd Wood, a young-earth creationist and director of the Center for Origins Research, and Darrel Falk, an evolutionary creationist and president of the Biologos Foundation. This feature story is the first chapter of a forthcoming book by Stafford, a project commissioned and underwritten by The Colossian Forum. Along with Stafford’s Christianity Today piece, he also sat down with us to discuss the church’s obligation to accept science as a gift. This is a fascinating piece and an insightful film. We encourage you to take a look!
Questions on Scientists Losing Their Faith
August 16, 2012 | Matthew Dodrill
Questions on Scientists Losing Their Faith
Over at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog, a recent post raises some questions that are relevant to some of our concerns here at The Colossian Forum regarding scientists losing their faith. Take a look and read the questions at the end.