Intelligent Design

Coming up in FIRST THINGS: Christoph Cardinal Schönborn

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[From http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=72]

The January issue of FIRST THINGS will include a reflection by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn on the intelligent design/evolution controversy. His article is occasioned by physicist Stephen Barr’s argument in the October issue, “The Design of Evolution.” Barr, in turn, was responding to Cardinal Schönborn’s earlier op-ed piece on these questions in the New York Times, which received a great deal of attention. In the issue following Schönborn’s reflection, Barr will have a further evaluation of the state of the question.

So what is FIRST THINGS up to here? We are not distancing ourselves from the intelligent design movement. The champions of that movement have rendered a signal service in exposing the non-scientific philosophical dogmatism of many evolutionists. Nor are we sponsoring a fight between Cardinal Schönborn and Dr. Barr. We have the greatest respect for both. Cardinal Schönborn is, in addition to being the Archbishop of Vienna, the chief editor of The Catechism of the Catholic Church and a great friend of FIRST THINGS. Dr. Barr is a distinguished scientist and a member of our editorial board.

The intention of this continuing conversation is to clarify as precisely as possible, within the context of Catholic teaching, the lines between physics and metaphysics, between theology and science rightly understood. Unlike many Protestants, Catholics have no stake in “creationist” arguments aimed at defending an unpoetical reading of Genesis. Catholics and everyone else have an enormous stake in defending the unity of truth. That defense requires the greatest care and modesty on the part of claims advanced by both science and theology. It requires, in short, the virtues possessed in abundance by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and Stephen Barr.

54 Replies to “Coming up in FIRST THINGS: Christoph Cardinal Schönborn

  1. 1
    jboze3131 says:

    “Unlike many Protestants, Catholics have no stake in “creationist” arguments aimed at defending an unpoetical reading of Genesis.”

    I find that disheartening. What’s next? Having no stake in defending an unpoetical reading of the virgin birth, the resurrection, original sin, the reality of heaven, the basic rituals practiced by the church. I sure as heck hope the Catholic church would have a stake in such matters!! Was Christ speaking in a poetic manner when he said he came as the second Adam?

  2. 2
    PhilVaz says:

    jboze, you wouldn’t have a Bible were it not for the Catholic Church. We wouldn’t know what the biblical canon is without the Catholic Church. You wouldn’t have the essential doctrines of the Christian faith were it not for the Catholic Church. We get all that from the Catholic Church. I suggest a good reading of the Catechism to see what we believe about the virgin birth, the resurrection, original sin, and the reality of heaven, and for that matter, Adam/Eve, Genesis, and creation. And come on over to Catholic Answers boards (http://forums.catholic.com), any of you evangelicals who have questions on Catholicism. Many knowledgeable folks there.

    As for Schonborn, he has clarified himself somewhat in a recent catechetical lecture (10/2/2005) delivered from St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna. I have linked it below. He does believe divine “design” can be defended by reason, but he has shied away from some of the “scientific” claims he made in his July 2005 New York Times editorial. The bottom line for him is:

    “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above [he cites Julian Huxley, Will Provine, and Peter Atkins, all atheist materialists], it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one’s territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life. And thus as natural scientists we are constantly and inevitably bringing in questions reflecting worldviews.” (Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands, translated from the German)

    What he has a problem with is evolution as an atheistic worldview, not biological evolution as science. But I’ll be looking for those First Things articles, thanks.

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p91.htm

    Phil P

  3. 3
    jboze3131 says:

    phil:

    my point was…does the catholic church truly have no stake in defending a literal genesis? why did christ say he came as the second adam if he knew genesis was merely poetic? how do you get original sin (the church i believe adheres to that idea, no?) if not a literal adam and eve and the start of sin with their actions?

    and if you take genesis and say you have no stake in defending it as a true event…then what of the other things? i mean, i know catholics believe in the virgin birth, the resurrection, a literal afterlife in heaven and a reality of hell, etc. but, if you say youve no stake in defending genesis as being literal, then why would you have any stake in a literal resurrection, and all the rest i mentioned? it would seem the church should definitely have a stake in defending the entire bible and all the christian doctrines, no??

  4. 4

    I’m sorry. The Catholic Church didn’t create the canon of Scripture. And jboze’s overall point is correct. I can understand, as a Christian, if you think Gen. 1 isn’t a straight science textbook. However, when you start messing with the historical Adam and the fall, you’ve created terminal problems in Christian theology.

    Furthermore, I think the Catholic Church has been so burned by bad press from the Galileo incident that they may be a little too eager to be supportive of evolution. Which, given my assumption will gain more ground and traction in the future, is unfortunate they stake out an anti-ID position now.

  5. 5
    jboze3131 says:

    i dont think you have to see genesis 1 as a science text, just to make that known. i do think you have to have a literal adam and eve and the fall. and noah as well- tho, i have read a lot of material that makes a good case for a local flood and not a worldwide flood (the evidence doesnt show a worldwide flood from what ive read). these arent really problems…the local flood idea, i mean. and a historical adam and eve and the fall that came from them- we have to defend that as truth, or else christ didnt make sense when he spoke of him being the second and final adam and we dont make sense of the fall in the sense that we need christ to make up for it.

    if no literal fall, why christ at all? why the cross?

    when it comes to genesis- age of the earth, how long the ‘days’ were, and a few other things…its up for debate really, and it fits with science pretty well (tho, im not sure about the order of creation in regards to plants an animals, air and sea based animals, etc- anyone have any thoughts on why genesis seems to possibly contradict the fossil record as to the order?) maybe there WAS a supernatural event and a worldwide flood which screwed up the fossil record, ive no clue.

  6. 6
    puckSR says:

    Galileo:
    This was more than just the Catholic Church getting burned. This was an issue of conflict and Galileo being an “ass”.

    Men predating Galileo in the Catholic church had often referred to the seperation of religious beliefs from secular areas of study…such as science. Read St. Thomas Aquinas if you need help with this.

    The Catholic Church did not write Scripture…your right
    They, however, selectively edited Scripture. There were many books omitted from the Bible. Revelations barely made the cut…They also established most of the early theological ideals of christianity.

    The Catholic Church has not stake in defending a literal Genesis…do you want my George Washington analogy again?
    Jesus claimed he was the second Adam? Wait was Jesus claiming he was going to get us all kicked out of heaven by eating an apple? of course not, he was referring to Adam figuratively even by your understanding. So if he was already referring to Adam in an allusionary sense, then why must Adam be literal to Jesus?

    Going back to the literal interpretation.
    Old Testament—> 1 author(or at least one account)
    New Testament—> 4 Gospels(or at least four accounts)

    The Catholic church still does not believe in literalism in the bible, but you can still gather information from a text without considering it to be absolutely true.

    Was Homer’s Illiad absolutely true?
    Did we find Troy, and were some of Homer’s stories true?

    Same thing with the Bible. We can gather information without believing it is absolute. Plus, we can guarantee that the New Testament is more accurate than the Old.

  7. 7
    PhilVaz says:

    Adam/Eve and the Fall certainly seem to be historical according to the Catechism (especially 359, 375-377, 379, 388, 390-392, and 416-419, etc), much else in Genesis 1-3 is symbolic, figurative or poetical (talking snake, eating an apple, Garden of Eden, Trees, the flood was local, see Catechism 337-338, 362, 369, 375, 390, 396, etc). Now placing Adam/Eve into the timeline of human evolutionary history is difficult I’ll grant. However, the difference between resurrection, the virgin birth and other miracles and the “science” described in Genesis is the latter is testable. Miracles are not testable so they lie outside of science.

    “The fact is that Christianity has core beliefs that are not accessible to the scientific method….The resurrection, existence of the Holy Spirit and immortality are all beyond the realm of scientific testability. Even testing the power of prayer will probably not bring scientists to their knees. The history of life on earth, however, is in a much different category. It has been possible to explore this using scientific methods….For the past century and a half, thousands of scientists from disciplines as diverse as physics, geology, astronomy and biology have amassed a tremendous mass of data, and the answer is absolutely clear and equally certain. The earth is not young, and the life forms did not appear in six twenty-four-hour days. God created gradually….We now know more about the nature of divine action. We now know a little about how God created life, and any time we understand something new about the activity of God, it brings us one step closer to God.” (Darrel Falk, Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology, page 213, 214)

    And we do get the canon of the Bible and the essential doctrines of Christianity (like original sin, the Trinity, nature of Christ, virgin birth, resurrection, etc) from the Catholic Church, but evangelicals or fundamentalist Protestants are loathe to admit that. 🙂

    Phil P

  8. 8
    dodgingcars says:

    “And we do get the canon of the Bible and the essential doctrines of Christianity (like original sin, the Trinity, nature of Christ, virgin birth, resurrection, etc) from the Catholic Church, but evangelicals or fundamentalist Protestants are loathe to admit that.”

    I think that’s because Catholics and Protestants disagree as to when the Catholic church really began. Catholics believe it started with Peter, Protestants disagree (believing that was that small “c” catholic church) and place the date much later — I believe somewhere around the 6th or 7th century.

  9. 9
    puckSR says:

    well the early christian church did not truly become the Catholic church until the protestant reformation. Before Martin Luther wrote a note the Christian church had always existed as one quasi-unified body.

    The fact that the New Testament was written by a council would seem to indicate that at least some semblance of order existed even in the early days of the church.

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    “We get all that from the Catholic Church.”

    Interesting. And here I thought it all comes from God.

  11. 11
    dodgingcars says:

    “well the early christian church did not truly become the Catholic church until the protestant reformation. Before Martin Luther wrote a note the Christian church had always existed as one quasi-unified body.”

    No. I think you need to research your church history. There have been many Christian sects long before the Reformation. There was Eastern Orthodox, The Coptics, the Russian Orthodox, etc. None of these groups saw the Catholic pope as their leader.

    There is some debate as to when the Catholic Church came to be what we see today… and of course Catholics feel differently than other about this subject.

    But for instance, I don’t believe there were truly Popes until 610 with Boniface III.

  12. 12
    puckSR says:

    dodging cars…..that is why i said a qausi-unified body

    All of the Christian sects that broke from the Church before the protestant reformation did it over small points…Like leadership, and the reading of Revelations.

    If you are referring to pontification….then yes..we must use a different timeline

    If we are referring to a somewhat organized religious body, then my timeline is correct

    DaveScot:
    You thought God gave us the New Testament?

  13. 13
    dodgingcars says:

    “dodging cars…..that is why i said a qausi-unified body

    All of the Christian sects that broke from the Church before the protestant reformation did it over small points…Like leadership, and the reading of Revelations.”

    How was the Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Coptic church and Catholic church unified — even quasi-unified before the Reformation?

    You could say that the Protestant Reformation was over “small points” such as indulgences and solo scriptura (sp?).

    “If we are referring to a somewhat organized religious body, then my timeline is correct”

    See.. I disagree… 🙂

    Either way, I don’t think many see the Council of Nicea as particularly Catholic. At least not the Catholic Church, as the political and religous organization of the last 1000 years.

  14. 14
    puckSR says:

    Sorry dodging cars…your making valid points, but let me try and explain what i am saying

    USA
    Is the United States the same country under the constituion as it was under the Articles of Confederation?

    Historically it is the same land mass, and had many of the same leaders between the two governments. Most historians would consider the nation under the articles of confederation a precursor to the current USA.

    Similiarly, the organization that existed for early christian councils eventually became the catholic church…no members broke off during the change.

    All of the Orthodox churches broke from the Roman catholic church in a dispute over leadership. There were no theological disputes that could not have been reconciled. Also, note that all of the churches you listed maintain some form of a Pope.

  15. 15
    PaV says:

    To me, little is served in having a bit of a Catholic/Protestant pie-throwing contest here.

    This is, more or less, what the Catholic Church says about the inerrancy of the Gospels: that all that which is essential to our salvation is present in the gospels without error. The subtlety here is the “that which is essential.” You can apply the same subtlety to the Creation account.

    And, here, for exegetical purposes, let me propose this: The FIRST account of creation is God’s way of telling us that we, as human beings–i.e., our material essence and nature–are in continuity with the rest of creation…..brought into being just like everything else (think here evolution [as common descent]). The SECOND account is meant to indicate that we as human PERSONS are directly formed by God. God breathes his image (consciousness/reason/free will) into us directly (our human soul). This is “discontinous” with the natural order; it takes place at the supernatural level. I think this distinction can sometimes be helpful.

    Put this way, there’s room for natural evolution (guided or not)[I believe guided], and for the position that Christian’s take: i.e., we’re directly created by God: He breathes his life into our bodies.

  16. 16
    puckSR says:

    Exactly….and this is the nature of ID
    ID is a wonderful theological perspective
    It even can be used to inject quite a bit of theism into science…when your child comes home talking about evolution, you can explain that God could have caused evolution to occur

    However it fails miserably as a direct scientific theory.
    i.e.
    God caused evolution, therefore we are defining the exact actions of God, and refuting the scientific theory that it happens in the way they describe.

    besides being both hubristic, and blasphemous…it basically is claiming that the same thing has been occuring as Evolutionists previously described….perhaphs even by the same mechanism…it is simply forcing the belief that God directly caused the mechanism to perform.

    This is why modern Catholicism rejects ID as science…they really like to think these things out.

  17. 17
    dodgingcars says:

    To me, little is served in having a bit of a Catholic/Protestant pie-throwing contest here.

    You’re right. I’m done. But actually I think pucksr and I agree more than we disagree anyway.

  18. 18
    PaV says:

    puckSR:

    God caused evolution, therefore we are defining the exact actions of God, and refuting the scientific theory that it happens in the way they describe.

    Yes, I grant you, there is leeway theologically. But ID is a not a theological argument; it’s a scientific one. The presence of irreducible complexity in living organisms, together with the specified complexity of molecular biology, strongly suggest that simple chance mechanisms could not possibly bring about what we see. Likewise, information theory, the birth father of computers, is more or less telling us that information doesn’t fall out of the sky; only intelligence can produce it. All of this is the result of reasonable deductions which themselves flow from empirical observations. That’s pretty much the definition of the scientific method. Don’t make the mistake of thinking ID is a theological argument. It is not. It is a scientific argument, first and foremost, which directly challenges the neo-Darwinist understanding of evolution. Only secondarily are there theological implications.

  19. 19
    puckSR says:

    Please help me to understand……

    Evolution is claiming that “We won the lottery” so to speak
    ID is claiming that an Intelligent Agent gave us the lottery numbers

    Would this be a correct analogy?

  20. 20
    Bombadill says:

    Just a couple of points (in no particular order)…

    The “Catholic” church of the 3rd – 5th centuries (when the councils took place) was considerably different from the Catholic church today. For one thing, the early church had not elevated the authority of the church over scripture. This error would come in later centuries and would lead to a significant departure from scripture based teaching and authority… hence, the reformation – “Sola Scriptura”.

    And the doctrines of the Fall, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, etc… are scriptural doctrines, not something invented in later centuries as the result of the councils. The councils served simply to put a name to these scriptural principles that were already clearly defined in the Bible. The councils were organized as a reactionary measure to combat heresies. Watch out for the history revisionists who would try to tell you otherwise. I could cite chapter and verse regarding these doctrines, if anyone is skeptical.

  21. 21
    Bombadill says:

    Furthermore, and I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers of Catholic friends here but, it’s important remember that the Catholic church didn’t become established until almost the 4th century AD, due to Constantine’s making it the government religion. So, we have almost 4 centuries of early church history and teaching and discipleship… and interestingly, you do not see many of the Catholic dogma’s in these writings. It’s no secret that Constantine took elements of Greek mythology and infused them with the early church teaching at the time.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    puckSR says:

    correct me if i am wrong bombadill

    but wasnt the “Scripture” fairly new in the 3rd century AD?

    Ex. in the year 50 AD, wouldnt tradition(or anything) be considered more authorative than a written account by a non-apostle?

    Would you consider this duality of sources similiar to the the Jewish Torah and Talmud, and therefore being a continuation of the Jewish tradition?

  24. 24
    pmob1 says:

    Phil,

    Don’t forget Wycliffe and Hus for goodness sakes.

    However, The Church is good at taking the long view. I’ll grant you that. ID will come and ID will go. Like as not it will be appropriated by pagans before we’re through with it. In that sense, it is good for spokesmen of The Church to be circumspect.

    But see here. Without Aquinas your Church would be spinning round with Hobbes and the rest of them. Without the Word, you would be indistinguishable from Dawkins.

    Why should The Church shy from Design?

  25. 25
    Bombadill says:

    puck, I should have been more careful in my terminology. Obviously, the scriptures had not yet been canonized at that time. My point was in contrasting the accounts, both oral and written, with what would become Constantine’s state religion.

  26. 26
    puckSR says:

    Ok, i thought you were condemning the actions of the church in taking tradition over scripture

  27. 27
    jay says:

    puckSR (post #19): “Please help me to understand……Evolution is claiming that ‘We won the lottery’ so to speak. ID is claiming that an Intelligent Agent gave us the lottery numbers. Would this be a correct analogy?”

    My version of an analogy would be:
    You won the lottery. You don’t know how you got the ticket. It just showed up in your possession one day. The “ticket” is actually a gold bar with 100 arbitrary numbers engraved in it, and all of them were needed to win. You wonder where the ticket came from. Someone points to a machine that etches serial number on metal objects nearby, and says that it definitely came from that machine…but when you look closely at it, you realize that the machine only prints 6-digit serial numbers! (i.e., the machine isn’t even capable of producing the numbers that are on the ticket.) There’s just no way that it could have produced the ticket. But you see a typewriter and know that anyone with intelligence could easily type out those 100 numbers. The typewriter only prints on paper, and in the wrong typeface, but you draw the conclusion, the “ticket” must have been produced by a more advanced “typewriter” capable of printing arbitrary numbers on metal. And since the lottery only started a few years ago, there hasn’t been enough time to cycle through anywhere near all the possible 100-digit numbers. Therefore, you think, “Someone must have produced it on purpose and given it to me.” The person who says that the serial number machine did it then explains how the gold bar could have accidentally been fed through in gradual (discrete) steps, and misprinted, and all sorts of extremely unlikely scenarios, and irrationally maintains this no matter how you point out how unreasonable their attempted salvaging of their idea is…

  28. 28
    puckSR says:

    i like that analogy Jay

    You really should think about that one

  29. 29
    taciturnus says:

    Bombadill,

    Can I call you Tom? I’m sure you know that Tolkien was a Catholic… pretty well-versed in his history too…

    “Furthermore, and I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers of Catholic friends here but, it’s important remember that the Catholic church didn’t become established until almost the 4th century AD…”

    Your argument doesn’t ruffle my Catholic feathers at all… in fact, it gives me more confidence as a Catholic when even the opponents of the Church grant that the Church has a continuous history going all the way back to the 4th century AD. That’s 17 of the 20 centuries of Christian history not open to doubt. Does the Church also reach beyond those 17 centuries, back through the final 3, to the time of Christ Himself? No one can say for sure as a matter of historical science. But given that 17 centuries of continuous existence makes the Church unique as an historical institution, I suspect there was more to its founding than the mere fancies of Constantine. I’ll take the 17 centuries as a matter of fact and the final 3 as a matter of faith.

    In any case, is it likely that 21st century scholars can overleap 1900 years of history and figure out what “true Christianity” really was in the early years, before it was allegedly mucked up by the Catholic Church? Or is it more likely that those 3rd century bishops had a proximity to truth that makes them more reliable than any 21st century historian will ever be? That is why the Church does not get fazed with regard to skeptical historical scholarship. Our faith is not based on an historical reconstruction of Christianity, but a living tradition going back to the time of Christ (we believe) or at least the 4th century (Protestants believe).

    Pax,
    Dave T.

  30. 30
    puckSR says:

    Ok Jay…did you notice the problem with your analogy?

  31. 31
    dodgingcars says:

    taciturnus,

    Aren’t some of those traditions far more recent?

    431 AD The exhaltation of Mary begins at the Council of Ephesus
    500 AD Priests begin to wear “special clothing” to distinguish themselves from the layman.
    591 AD the idea of Purgatory is started by Gregory I
    600 AD Started using Latin for services despite the amount of people that did not understand Latin.
    610 AD Start of the Pope era with Boniface III
    709 AD First reference to the kissing of the Pope’s feet
    786 AD Veneration of cross, images, relics authorized
    998 AD Fasting on Fridays and Lent
    1079 AD Priests declared to remain celebate
    1090 AD Rosary adopted
    1190 AD Sale of indulgences begins
    1215 AD Transubstantiation, defined by Innocent III
    1215 AD Auricular confession (Rite of reconciliation) of sins to a priest instead of God, instituted by Innocent III
    1220 AD Adoration of the wafer (called the Host), decreed by Pope Honorius III
    1251 AD Scapular invented by Simon Stock of England
    1414 AD The cup forbidden to the laity at communion by Council of Constance
    1545 AD Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent
    1546 AD Apocryphal books are added to the Bible by the Council of Trent
    1854 AD Immaculate Conception of Mary (not virgin birth) proclaimed by Pope Pius IX (pretty darn recent, really).
    1870 AD Infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals proclaimed by the Vatican Council
    Delete Reply Forward Spam

  32. 32
    jboze3131 says:

    i thought the Immaculate Conception was the same as virgin birth? the catholic church doesnt believe in the virgin birth? or am i misunderstanding? im not well versed on church history…especially the catholic church (tho, i guess the catholic church really WAS “the church” period throughout the majority of christian history, huh?)

  33. 33
    puckSR says:

    No….Immaculate Conception is that belief that Mary was granted special excuse from original sin and all sin for that matter. This way she could give birth to “clean” Jesus.

    Virgin birth just means that she didnt have sex.

  34. 34
    jboze3131 says:

    where on earth does that belief come from? im no biblical expert, but i dont recall this story in the bible…?? i thought immaculate conception was merely a term used to describe the virgin birth. and what is the catholic church’s view on this? virginal birth or no??

  35. 35
    Bombadill says:

    As dodgingcars demonstrated, many significant Catholic dogmas didn’t get established until many centuries after Christ established his church and the closing of the Apostolic era. The question is: do these dogmas stand up in the final court of arbitration – scripture. My personal belief, having studied the scriptures quite a bit, is that many of these teachings do not. And I believe that Constantine was the catalyst for this departure from what the disciples and early believers, believed.

    Ultimately, as a believer, it doesn’t matter what current or ancient theologians have to say, it comes down to what is revealed in the Bible (if we believe it to be the infallible word of God).

    … but hey, this is just my evangelical bias. 😉

  36. 36
    puckSR says:

    Wait…people consider the New Testament the infallible word of God?
    Which part…because if i remember correctly Revelations reads like a bad acid trip.
    Sorry if that offends anyone, but until someone can tell me who John was, i dont know if im going to put a lot of stock in his rather strange book of revelations.

    Immaculate Conception….trust me jboze…Immaculate Conception is the belief that Mary was “without sin”.

  37. 37
    Bombadill says:

    puck, I consider the canon of scripture from Genesis to Revelation as infallible (as it was originally given – I do not believe that the modern english translations are infallible, but the original writings were). The books of the Bible are comprised of different literary styles. You have Historical Narritive, Poetry & Apocolyptic writing (i.e. Revelation). Apocolyptic literature is something foreign to the 20th century western mindset. It’s easy to dismiss it because it’s so fantastic. But, there’s more to it than meets the eye. There is tremendous symbolism with powerful apocolyptic truth beneath the surface. And Revelation has an uncanny harmony with the old testament book of Daniel. It’s really fascinating stuff, actually.

    John the Revelator was the same John who wrote the Gospel of John. He penned Revelation during his exile to the island of Patmos. He was exiled because of his faith in Christ.

  38. 38
    puckSR says:

    oh dont get me wrong, im quite familiar with apocalyptic writing. The Apocalypse of Peter was a fun read. I just do not understand how some people can interpret Revelations as a fundamentalist document. When the word “infallible” is used, i often think of literalism. I know from the Catholic perspective, at least, that it is considered to be “right with God” rather than literal. I fully agree that it is an interesting literary style, i disagree over the way that it is read.

    BTW…I was alluding to the fact that “John” is not the apostle John. I was just trying to keep some of the people here of the Christian persuasion on their toes.

  39. 39
    puckSR says:

    Quick Question

    If anyone here is of the Fundamentalist persuasion
    Many Christian religions believe the Bible to be “good”. Christian Fundamentalists believe the Bible to be “absolutely true”.

    Why do Fundamentalist Christians not teach Hebrew and Greek?(along with some other languages). There are still many people of the Jewish faith who study the Bible and who are well versed in Hebrew, and they are not literalists.

  40. 40
    DaveScot says:

    IMO God doesn’t require an operator’s manual, paraphernalia, third parties, or anything else you weren’t born with. I believe it because all that stuff isn’t necessarily accessible to all people at all times in all places and I refuse to believe that God would shut anyone out merely because of material circumstance in life. You may, however, be shut out by being a prick that needlessly causes or ignores pain and suffering of fellow travelers on this third rock from the sun. ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you’ is a concept born of empathy and compassion, not education or instruction, and it’s that which separates (some of?) us from (most of?)the rest of the animal kingdom.

    That’s the gospel of DaveScot in a nutshell.

  41. 41
    Bombadill says:

    Well, I’m not sure what it means to interpret something as a “fundamentalist document”. The traditional position of Christians has been the recognition of God’s inspiring the individual writers of the books that would become the canon of scripture. The notion that scripture is inspired does not demand that all the books be interpreted in a wooden literal way. The science of reading the Bible is called Hermeneutics. Poetic literature is to be interpreted as poetry, not as the basis for doctrine, etc… But, this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t penned under the inspiration, or control, of the Holy Spirit.

    “Fundamentalist” Christians do teach Hebrew & Greek. Look into any evangelical seminary and you’ll find courses. My understanding is that it is a requirement for most degree programs. Again, we are only to interperet literally, texts which contextually dictate a literal interpretation. This is Hermeneutics. It’s about learning to discern between anthropomorphic language, metaphor, instruction, etc… And considering the cultural, immediate and broad context and audience. Studying scripture truly is a science. 🙂

  42. 42
    Bombadill says:

    What drew me to Christian faith, was the Bible’s presentation of Christ as savior from our deepest need – our sin condition. In contrast, what I found in examining religions of the world was a works-based, performance-oriented, ritualistic relgiosity. In short, I saw in religions of the world all this toil in an attempt to appease a wrathful God. In the Bible however, I saw a relationship with Jesus Christ which is not earned thru works/performance, but rather, is received as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8&9). When I considered this notion of all mankind being born physically alive, but spiritually dead and that there was nothing we could do to bring life to ourselves, it demonstrated to me that this was a message that could not have been the product of fallible humans. If it were, it would have resembled the world religions which try to earn favor with a deity.

  43. 43
    Bombadill says:

    heh, I was just pondering how the sin nature for Darwinists would be the “selfish gene”. An interesting thought.

  44. 44
    puckSR says:

    Bombadill….Im sure Bob Jones teaches Greek and Hebrew
    I was referring more to Sunday School.

    I would think that the original languages of the bible would be almost a requirement for fundamentalism…i.e. Fundamentalist Muslims learn Arabic..the Koran is normally not a translated work.

    ***I know the Koran has been translated, and i know many people in the middle east are illiterate

  45. 45
    dodgingcars says:

    As puckSR said, immaculate conception is the belief that Mary was without sin (not sure if they believe she died without sin, or only was born without sin and remained sinless until Jesus was born).

    As for fundamentalism and all that stuff: I think the terms are kind hard to use — they’re all so loaded that it’s tough to know what one means if they call themselves a fundamentalist.

    I prefer to call myself an Evangelical. I believe the Bible is inerrant, but I don’t necessarily believe everything needs to be read literally. For me, fundamentalism (as the term is commonly used) is actually very legalistic. They also tend to restrict beliefs to things such as a young Earth, etc.

  46. 46
    puckSR says:

    Ok…what is an Evangelical…I was always under the impression that it referred in some way to preaching. Perhaps to you it has a different meaning

    **Immaculate Conception**
    Mary was pure of sin before Jesus’ birth, and pure until she “died”. Well kinda died, Catholic faith holds that she ascended into heaven.

  47. 47
    Bombadill says:

    Evangelical is essentially the same as saying protestant. Someone who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and puts a strong emphasis on proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

  48. 48
    puckSR says:

    alright, thanks for the clarification

    one thing that i have learned…when it comes to someone defining their personal beliefs, the true definition of words goes right out the window

  49. 49
    Bombadill says:

    Good point. Many people pour an esoteric meaning into what should be an absolute term.

  50. 50
    PhilVaz says:

    Whoah a lot of comments in this one.

    As for Catholic inventions, yes purgatory was “invented” by Pope Gregory I in the 590s, the Immaculate Conception (Mary conceived without original sin) was “invented” by Pope Pius IX in 1854, transubstantiation was “invented” by Lateran IV in 1215, and likewise the Trinity and the two natures in one divine Person of Christ was “invented” by the Council of Nicea (325), Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon (5th century AD), the New Testament canon was “invented” by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage at the end of the 4th century, beginning of the 5th.

    All these “inventions” and similiar dumb wrongheaded claims that the Roman Catholic Church was “invented” by Constantine in the 4th century or “invented” by the Council of Trent in the 16th — are addressed on any number of Catholic apologetics sites, like my own. Please people, read a little bit. I would suggest JND Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines, and Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Christian Tradition (first volume). No wonder you guys don’t accept evolution. 🙂

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics

    Back on topic, Schonborn on Darwin:

    “With this, his major work [Origin of Species], [Charles] Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge.” (Cardinal Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands)

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p91.htm

    Phil P

  51. 51
    PaV says:

    PhilVaz:
    “With this, his major work [Origin of Species], [Charles] Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge.” (Cardinal Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands)

    These are fine words. And Darwin deserves his due. But Darwinian notions of progressive evolution simply cannot stand up to scrutiny. His theory fails his own tests.

    Being a Catholic doesn’t mean that you have to believe in the “theory” of evolution; viz., Darwin’s theory; you’re simply free to believe in it………….up to the point of it’s assertion that the human person is simply a by-product of nature’s lottery. It’s a mistake to think that ID is a theological program; it is not. It is all about pointing out the deficiencies of Darwinian arguments in the face of the biological complexity that modern science routinely discovers. I’m Catholic. This isn’t a Catholic/Protestant issue.

  52. 52
    pmob1 says:

    dodgingcars,

    Nice list. Might I add:

    1199 AD: Innocent III reproves those who translate the Gospel or the Pauline letters into French

    1229: Inquisition of Toulouse bans bible reading by laymen

  53. 53
    PhilVaz says:

    Pmob1 and dodgingcars nice list, but you forgot two:

    325 AD: Pope Sylvestor invents the doctrine of the Trinity.

    381,393,397,405 AD: Popes Damasus, Siricius, Anastasius, and Innocent I invents the canon of the New Testament.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

    “Nice list. Might I add”

    No you may not. 🙂

    I agree this isn’t a Catholic-Protestant issue, but there sure are a lot of ignorant fundamentalists who hold to ID, as demonstrated in this thread.

    Phil P

  54. 54
    pmob1 says:

    PhilVaz

    … in this place is one greater than the temple.

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