Category Archives: Politics and sociology
For most of my life I’ve tried to avoid the idea of Jesus as a moral teacher, both because of the gospel of grace and forgiveness versus moralistic self-help, and because of my awareness of C S Lewis’s famous argument in Mere Christianity: A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
I was listening to Bob Dylan’s Talking World War III Blues in the car last week. Those who were of responsible age back in 1963 may remember it’s about Dylan recounting his dream of being the only one alive after a nuclear war to a psychiatrist, who eventually interrupts him saying he’s been having the same dream, only he was the only one left alive (“I didn’t see you around”). It goes on: A lot of time passed and now it seems Everybody’s having them dreams
In my last post on plausibility and credibility I had reason to quote N T Wright on how Deism first divorced God from nature back in the eighteenth century. But I didn’t mention the event commonly identified as the trigger for this radical rejection of the immanence of divine action, a rejection which persists (as I tried to show) until this day. That event was the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
This post is an occasional (and I feel necessary) return to the concept, fielded by Christian sociologist Peter Berger, of the difference between the “credible” and the “plausible”, sociologically speaking. I can illustrate this from my recent recollection of Bishop John Robinson’s book, Honest to God.
The Intelligent Design biochemist Michael Behe not long ago critiqued laboratory evidence for evolution, based on instances of loss of function, as “devolution”, and as a result brought the disdain of many Evolutionary Creationists down on himself because, you see, “there is no such thing as devolution in science.” One poster at BioLogos escalated that by saying that nearly all ID scientists believe (equally stupidly) in devolution. We’ll pass by that entirely baseless hyperbole as typical of the man, but Behe did use the word, so let’s think about it.
The Gallup organization has put out the results of another survey of American public opinion on human origins. The question allowed those surveyed to choose from the same three options that Gallup has offered since 1982: Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?: 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process; 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process; 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one … Continue reading
There’s an election campaign on at the moment here, and it’s amusing how, whatever questions politicans are asked in an interview, they’ll make sure they get one of their chosen manifesto slogans or buzzwords into the answer. It’s laughably transparent, but presumably it works because we are all depressingly gullible. For light relief, my wife and I relaxed over a wildlife documentary last evening.
A frequent theme in BioLogos writing is that Intelligent Design (ID) theory has contaminated the notion of divine design in nature, so much so that some Christians have shied away from even using the word “design.” One can find this notion expressed in remarks of Jim Stump, who wrote a whole column on “reclaiming” the language of design from the alleged damage it had received at the hands of ID people, and in comments by people like Brad Kramer and Casper Hesp. Casper’s latest remark along this line (in a reply to a new poster, Allison) is: “… the cultural baggage that is linked to the term “design” could be … Continue reading
As C P Snow observed in 1959, there indeed appear to be two cultures at work in our society, one striving for fresh insights into the world, and one bound in dogma and tradition. Let me tell you about two recent conversations that exemplify this sad state of affairs.
One product (literally) of genetic determinism (and incidentally another that was, like molecular biology and eugenics, massively funded by the Rockefeller Foundation) is genetically modified seed. Twenty years ago, my son was at college studying aquaculture, and I used to argue with him about GM, which to him was simply a targeted improvement on selective breeding, but to me a potential ecological disaster because of our ignorance of how the genome actually works. He was evidently taught the hubristic reductionist version of genetics I discussed in my recent post.