According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, January 30, 2012

Differences between Evolutionary Creationism and Darwinian Scientific Naturalism

by R.E. Slater
January 30, 2012

Here is a short premier on competing theistic systems within the evolutionary system itself....

The Christian position of Evolutionary Creationism separates itself apart from the atheistic/agnostic position of Darwinism, sometimes called Scientific Naturalism.

Evolutionary Creationism accepts natural selection but understands that a Creator-God has been intricately involved within this process. Both the positions of Classic & Relational Theism (see this blog's sidebars for further discussions on these subjects) also agree with this assessment, however, the older theological doctrine of Classic Theism was developed at a time when evolutionary science was little understood and thus the church taught of a God who created immediately (or instantaneously) - without utilizing any of the processes of the sun and moon, stars and earth, time and energy, indeterminacy and event. In counterposition to this biblically imposed ideology, Relational Theism taught of a mediated creation that used the elements of "time and process" that is commonly accepted by evolutionary science today. This latter view is only now being accomodated by the contemporary Church because of its variant traditional heritages and past, older dogmas.

(As an aside, it should be further noted that Relational Theism is Classic Theism's updated, postmodern twin, without the panentheistic base of a Process Theology that accompanies it. And that there are elements of process theology that are true biblically but cannot simply be held captive by process theology's non-classic theistic base. This is the difference between substantive and pervasive elements better discussed here - Seeking a Postmodern Redefinition of Classic Theism).

Darwinism, on the other hand, claims no knowledge of God's involvement. In fact, it is either doubtful (agnostic), if not down right skeptical (atheistic) of God's existence and mediation. Holding then to a belief in the position of a non-Creator God while questioning the very fact that creation itself is proof of an eternal Creator-God's existence and mediation. Whereas the Christian position sees creation and affirms that it is from God, sustained by God, and directed by God, both in the ages past as will be true of the ages to come (which curiously may have been Darwin's personal view against the scientific system that was spawned by his followers). Thus, Naturalistic science is no less a belief system than its Christian-science twin (cf, Alvin Plantinga's similarly declared observation this past fall re: Emergent Christianity and a Calvinistic Philosopher's Assertion for Theism and Evolution).

Thus, within the commonly accepted scientific theories of evolution are two variant belief-systems. One Christian, and the other, agnostic, or atheistic. One is described as Evolutionary Creationism (the older term is Theistic Evolution) and the other described as Darwinism or ("scientific") Naturalism. Each sees the same evidence but arrives at differing conclusions and juxtaposed epistemologies.

Further, Evolutionary Creationism understands God to have used time-and-process to mediate creation whereas Classic Theism's Immediate-Creationism model, made popular amongst conservative churches and organizations today, see creation as unmediated by time-and-process through subjectively-derived models. However, it is important to note that both systems are theistically-based as opposed to Darwinism's agnostic/atheistic Scientific Naturalism model.

Consequently, it is important to understand that not-all-evolutionists are unbelievers nor are all-believers anti-evolutionists. Within both theistic and anti-theistic systems stand scientific propositions at odds with one another ideologically (or is it philosophically?). Each sees the same systems but each sees it differently from the other.

Lastly, (i) modernistic Christianity's more popular Evangelic position of Immediate Creation should then allow their disbelieving brothers and sisters the position of evolution without deeming (or demeaning) those brethren as mere anti-theists. This would not be true on the basis of Relational Theism.

Secondly, (ii) one could further argue that the concept of Evolutionary Creationism would be more rightly accreted towards the Christian understanding of evolution than the bald label of Darwinism, or Scientific Naturalism, carrying with them their own epistemologies of scientific and social import. (Such as that of Social Darwinism which gave birth to Marxism, that gave birth to Fascism, Arianism, Nazism, Leninism, Stalinism, and the garden variety of inhumanly practiced communisms observed from China to Latin America during the days after WWII) ... It's no wonder than than the term "evolution" gets a bad rap because of popularly discredited associations and inflammatory usages.

In conclusion, I've listed below just a few articles that we've reviewed this past year to help in further delineating the much misunderstood Christian position of Evolutionary Creationism.

R.E. Slater
January 30, 2012

God's Role in Creation

Image for: What role could God have in evolution?

Is God Just Playing Dice?

Evolution: Is God Just Playing Dice?

How Could God Create Through Evolution?

How Could God Create Through Evolution?: A Look at Theodicy, Part 1

    For Even More Information

Go to the "Science" sidebars -->


No sooner had I published the article above when I stumbled across the following video and discussion below that dovetails brilliantly with the our observations made above, so that I must share these added insights as well. And making me to finally believe that what I've been sensing for awhile (and I'll use an evolutionary example this time by way of illustration) that just as homo sapien man entered into the genetic charts en masse as a population, so too will emergent Christianity enter into the mainstream of contemporary Christianity en masse, no matter its size and proportions.  Why? Because as I am writing here on this blog I am finding many others writing on the same and similar topics on other blogs and websites.... And with the same, or similar, sentiments as myself, each having similar concerns and criticisms that have been largely ignored or unwanted by our more conservative religious brethren. And each of us isolated from the other, yet each of us perceiving the needs of the church in similar ways. It gives me pause to actually be witnessing God's active leadership to His Church during our present day-and-age. Even when - from within, and without - and while defying various and sundry forces opposed against it, in repression and persecution. Yet still it grows. Praise God for His faithfulness to His people.

R.E. Slater
January 30, 2012

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From Kurt Willems
[This is the] first video blog I’ve made in a couple years… with the
exception of the Compassion Water Video. I hope the fact that it is
only 3 mins and ask a direct question keeps you interested!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Creationism chases people out of church

by Fred Clark
January 21, 2012

"Ken Ham is slowly killing the American church," writes Joel Watch at Unsettled Christianity.

Kurt Willems agrees, posting a video at his Pangea blog in which he says “Preaching Against Evolution in Evangelical Churches Creates Atheists.”

I’d qualify Willems’ statement a bit. Preaching against evolution in evangelical churches doesn’t create atheists — it creates not-evangelicals. They were told that if evolution were true, then their faith would be a lie. And then they learned that evolution is true. Some of them may go on to become atheists. Others may go on to become Episcopalians. But some just stagger on for years with little identity other than not-evangelical.

But the basic point both Watch and Willems are making is an important one. The creationism of Ken Ham and Al Mohler is not true and therefore belief in it is not sustainable. I’ve made this argument quite a bit, as in “The Bible vs. The Facts?” where I wrote:
When Christian teachers like Mohler insist that the non-negotiable tenets of the faith include beliefs that can be and have been proven false, they set their followers up for inexorable crisis and calamity. It turns Christians into ex-Christians with industrial efficiency.
Or see “Hold on to the good” or “The walls came tumbling down.”

I’ve written about this a lot because I’ve met so many people over the years whose Christian faith was chained to some idea of young-earth creationism that dragged it down like a millstone.

And yet the more people are driven from the church by the unsustainable, unbelievable lies of creationists, the more desperately the creationists cling to those lies and insist on their centrality to the faith.

Roger Olson recently posted an essay from Michael Clawson that I think offers some insight into why the collapse of creationism is making its proponents ever-more vehement. In “Young, Restless and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism Among American Evangelicals,” Clawson argues that the anti-science defensiveness of late 20th-century “neo-fundamentalists” echoes the laager mentality of their early 20th-century ancestors:
Some conservative evangelicals are reacting to the contemporary influences of postmodernity in much the same way that the original fundamentalists did towards the influences of modernity a century ago — namely through hostility towards the broader culture, retrenchment around certain theological doctrines, and conflict with, or separatism from others within a more broadly defined evangelicalism.

… The driving force behind neo-fundamentalism, as with historic fundamentalism, is a “remnant mentality.” Neo-fundamentalists believe they alone are remaining true to the fullness of the gospel and orthodox faith while the rest of the evangelical church is in grave, near-apocalyptic danger of theological drift, moral laxity, and compromise with a postmodern culture – a culture which they see as being characterized by a skepticism towards Enlightenment conceptions of “absolute truth,” a pluralistic blending of diverse beliefs, values, and cultures, and a suspicion of hierarchies and traditional sources of authority. 
Because of this hostility toward postmodern ways of thinking, neo-fundamentalists have little tolerance for diversity of opinions among evangelicals on any issues they perceive as essential doctrines – which are most of them – as opposed to the broader evangelical movement which historically has allowed for a much wider range of disagreement on disputable matters. Neo-fundamentalists thus respond to the challenges of a postmodern culture by narrowing the boundaries of what they consider genuinely evangelical and orthodox Christianity, and rejecting those who maintain a more open stance.
Clawson’s description of this “neo-fundamentalism” is particularly interested in light of the fatal flaw that Watch, Willems and I all identify in the links above. Creationism, like all forms of this neo-fundamentalism, is championed as a militant defense of the church against the world. Yet in practice, creationism drives people out of the church.

It has the opposite effect from the one these neo-fundies are hoping for.

Clawson mentions John Piper, Al Mohler and Mark Driscoll as prominent examples of this neo-fundie “remnant mentality.” For an illustration of this, check out the poster promoting Mark Driscoll’s latest book, highlighted by Hemant Mehta and vorjack of Unreasonable Faith.

The poster emphasizes hierarchical gender relationships, suggesting that this is an essential belief if the church is to survive in the big scary postmodern world. It concludes by saying:
My grandchildren will worship the same God as me, because my children will worship the same God as me.
Vorjack’s cheerfully atheist response:
My grandfather was raised Southern Baptist.
My father was raised Southern Baptist.
… Hi.
It’s not just that the neo-fundie project doesn’t work, but that it’s counter-productive — that it accelerates the problem it imagines it is addressing. By emphasizing untenable doctrines like creationism or the divine right of husbands, and by insisting that these are central, requisite beliefs, the neo-fundies are chasing people out of the church.

See also:

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