Darwinism

Al Mohler vs. Mark Sprinkle: Is all this about being right or being nice? Or what?

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Recently, Southern Seminary president Al Mohler responded to claims from Mark Sprinkle at BioLogos (Christian Darwinists’ site) that he had unfairly characterized them as not Christian

… in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us …

Sprinkle’s prescriptive advice follows,

I invite Dr. Mohler to refrain from condemning (even by faint praise) those whom the Spirit has sanctified and is sanctifying, and through whom He is calling more of the lost to Himself. More, I invite him to join me at the table as a brother and to put off the too-common practice of acting as if we know everything we need to know about those on the other sides of these issues from what we read on-line.

and then an invitation,

As Cornelius asked Peter “to stay with them for a few days” to see what the Lord would be teaching them together, I invite Dr. Mohler to come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of people in the BioLogos community.

Mohler denies he has ever said or implied that the BioLogists are not sincere Christians. Why would he? Lots of folk who follow a church-emptying theology lead exemplary private lives. And we are all thankful that judgment belongs to God alone. All that’s immaterial to the issues at hand.

Two problems I experience with “you will know we are Christians by our love, by our love” as an argument are that

1) I didn’t know this was an exam on virtue. I thought we were discussing the evidence re Darwinism (survival of the fittest) as the great engine of nature.

2) Anyway, protests of virtue sound like a bid for praise, as well as for the repentance of those who think evil of the folk at BioLogos.

When people imply that their lives are the witness to their theology – and no one has volunteered to be their Judge, as it happens – one must assume that one is overhearing a soliloquy, and speak no more.

Mohler points out, re the “Holy Spirit … working through us”:

That is an interesting statement, but it is nonsensical unless there is some means of evaluating what is and is not authentic evidence of the Spirit at work. And that, of course, would mean some kind of biblical and theological test. The effort to escape theology gets us nowhere.”

Here, in my view, is the BioLogists’ problem:

As Bill and I will show in Christian Darwinism (Broadman and Holman, 2011), there can be no reconciliation between Christianity and Darwinism (survival of the fittest). Nor did Darwin and his circle ever intend one. And Darwinism – the Creation story of atheism – is in fact the only theory of evolution that is vigorously opposed or promoted.

The key characteristic of Darwinism is the belief in the awesome powers of natural selection acting on random mutation to produce all forms of life – and, for most Darwinists, the power to produce mind, consciousness, and moral choice too. And for some, even universes. Darwinism undergirds and embraces everything, like God used to.

Biologos invites us to embrace Darwinism. But any Christianity that survived by embracing Darwinism would be a monstrous perversion, so we have little to lose by rejecting it, come what may.

And now, a question, Dr. Mohler: Won’t we soon be hearing how the Bible can be attributed to the selfish gene at work? And soon after, a Christian Darwinist will proclaim that the Bible can nonetheless be accepted as the authentic Word of God.

Wait, better news still: Despite the universal rule of the selfish gene, the Christian Darwinist himself is a nice person and a member of a praiseworthy community.

Fine. Now if they would all just collect their brownie points and depart, we could have a real discussion of the accumulating failings of Darwinism, and what should replace it. That is what we want and need.

7 Replies to “Al Mohler vs. Mark Sprinkle: Is all this about being right or being nice? Or what?

  1. 1
    NormO says:

    Now if they would all just collect their brownie points and depart, we could have a real discussion of the accumulating failings of Darwinism, and what should replace it.

    Indeed! So … what should replace it?! Do tell!

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Indeed! So … what should replace it?! Do tell!

    Design.

    When I was in college I studied piano with an amazing Hungarian concert pianist by the name of Istvan Nadas. He was a miraculous survivor of a Nazi death camp, and during his teens he studied with Bela Bartok (about whom Nadas told me many interesting stories).

    One evening, in the concert hall at the university, a visiting academic “composer” performed his latest work, which was a cacophonous, musically incoherent monstrosity, which resulted in applause from the audience, since no one had the courage to tell this clown that he and his “music” were a pathetic joke.

    After the performance I asked Nadas what he thought of the “music.” He replied, “It is a Himalayan dung heap.”

    This is what has happened in academia concerning Darwinism. It is a Himalayan pseudo-scientific dung heap, propped up only because those in the audience are too fearful and too cowardly not to applaud the transparently ridiculous.

  3. 3
    Ilion says:

    On the music thing, that’s my opinion on a lot of modern “classical” music, that it is “a cacophonous, musically incoherent monstrosity.” And, for all its shallow banality, at least most pop music carries a tune or theme.

    When I was in college, a couple of friends were in the music program … and some of the stuff they would play for us just sounded like notes thrown at a dart-board.

  4. 4
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is a statement of both my scientific/theological position and my thoughts about the so called inclusive accommodationism of Biologos.

    Theologically, my own position is somewhere between progressive (old earth) creationism and some form of theistic evolution. I certainly believe science has shown that the earth is billions of years old and that there is some kind natural evolutionary process has been responsible for the development of life. (Those things for me are almost beyond question.) However, I pretty much reject two extreme views as unfeasible (1) that the earth is only 6-10 thousand years old and that all the major kinds of flora and fauna were specially created, and (2) the so-called blind watch maker thesis that an unplanned and unguided natural process acting alone can account for the evolutionary development of life. However, between those two extremes I am pretty open to anything. For example, I am open to some kind front loaded evolution or some kind of limited interventionism. But, I haven’t learned anything scientifically that would compel me to become committed either one of these views. I don’t see how I can be more open minded than that.

    That is why I am a little confused by the Biologos brand of theistic evolution. It appears that they are essentially accepting the blind watch maker thesis with God as an add-on. But if you accept the blind watchmaker thesis then God becomes superfluous. Doesn’t he? Sure you might introduce God on the cosmological side to account for the big-bang, fine tuning etc. But it is hard to reconcile that deistic conception of God with a personal God who according to Christian theology has intervened in history as the redeemer. They do have that view of Christ, don’t they?

    Yet what I have learned about Biologos, they are almost as dogmatically committed to their position as the YEC’s are to theirs.

    So I am not so much put off by their theistic evolution, rather it is their narrowness about what kind of theistic evolution that is theologically acceptable that bothers me. It seems to be a very poorly thought out view, both scientifically and theologically. Does anyone else see it that way?

    http://telicthoughts.com/unity.....ent-262746

    I posted this last week at Telic Thoughts, but thought it might be relevant to the discussion going on here.

  5. 5
    Charles says:

    Off topic to Ms. O’Leary:

    Dr. Helen notes regarding a new book: Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read ;

    Do you ever take being able to read for granted? What’s amazing is how complex a task reading can be. I received a book in the mail from Penguin Books entitled Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read that explains how we learn to read. The book discusses the psychology and neuroscience behind reading and asks a fascinating question, “How, then, did our primate brain learn to read?”

    Given your background in the “Spiritual Brain” as well as ID, this might be an interesting read?

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    Ilion: And, for all its shallow banality, at least most pop music carries a tune or theme.

    It might interest you to know that I play piano in a praise band at our church. Our worship leader is an extraodinarily talented pianist, guitarist, and composer. His worship music compositions are wonderful and world-class.

    Christian worship music is the last refuge of beautiful, uplifting, musical composition with an equally beautiful, uplifting message.

    We also include traditional Christian hymns in our worship service. I find these even more inspiring in some ways, because of the simple beauty and artistry employed therein, especially the lyrics, which convey the essential message.

    Here’s my favorite performance of Amazing Grace:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYMLMj-SibU

    If this does not inspire, nothing will.

  7. 7
    jstanley01 says:

    Zwölftonwerbung – Twelve tone commercial
    “Just think music lovers, all of the most popular twelve tone rows that only this morning you were whistling in the shower or humming on your way to work…”

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