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Common Sense in Christian Theology…?

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Below is the Preface for my new, unpublished, manuscript, Common Sense in Christian Theology: Supplement to “In the Beginning…” . The manuscript can be viewed here :

My 2010 Discovery Institute Press book In the Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent Design is a collection of short articles on Intelligent Design (ID) and related topics. That book dealt with the evidence supporting the conclusion that we are designed, and, with the exception of the “Epilogue,” which is repeated here as Chapter 13, it was an entirely scientific book, even if it reached conclusions with obvious theological implications. I have now written a Supplement to that book which deals with the question of what this Designer is like, from a non-fundamentalist Christian point of view, and is explicitly theological, and thus much more speculative. I do not claim to have “scientific” evidence for my conclusions in this Supplement.

I have been making the case for ID for many years, and it is finally clear to me that logical and scientific arguments alone will never impress many Darwinists, this is the one area of science where being right does not seem to count for anything. In a June 15, 2012 post at Evolution News and Views, Max Planck Institute biologist W.E.Loennig said “Normally the better your arguments are, the more people open their minds to your theory, but with ID, the better your arguments are, the more they close their minds, and the angrier they become. This is science upside down.” The case for Darwinism is weaker every day, and yet Darwinist rhetoric only becomes stronger and angrier; clearly this theory draws its power not so much from scientific evidence as from philosophical and religious convictions. Of course many of its defenders have simply noticed that naturalism has been spectacularly successful in other areas of science, and take the (understandable) philosophical point of view that it must be possible to explain everything, including evolution, without design, and any evidence, no matter how powerful, that suggests otherwise is simply ignored.

But I have become convinced that many of the angriest defenders of Darwinism are primarily motivated by religious convictions, they have religious problems with the Bible and with Christianity and simply prefer materialist, Darwinian, explanations of origins. Although, of course, an ID proponent does not have to believe anything in the Bible, if the antagonism they feel for Christianity is what prevents these angriest opponents of ID from looking objectively at the evidence, then the only chance of reaching them is to try to deal with some of the philosophical and theological problems they have with the Bible and Christianity. I think I understand many of these difficult problems quite well, as I have struggled with some of them for much of my life, and continue to struggle with them. One doctrine, which has been taught in many Christian churches over the centuries, was particularly repulsive to Darwin himself, and may have been responsible for much of his antagonism toward Christianity. As readers will see in Section 11.2, I also find this doctrine unreasonable … and unchristian.

Thus in this “Supplement” I attempt to deal with some of the theological problems Darwinists, and many other educated people, have with Christianity. I am well aware that mixing scientific and theological issues will only encourage those who claim that ID proponents do not know the difference between science and religion. Most of us do know the difference, we are just interested in both.

I like to think that a common theme in the book and supplement is common sense. In Chapter 5 of In the Beginning , for example, and in a June 22, 2013 BIO-Complexity article I tried to restore some common sense into the application to the evolution debate of the “common sense law of physics,” as the second law has been called, which has been perverted beyond recognition by Darwinists. And in Chapters 11 and 12, in this Supplement, I have tried to reintroduce some common sense into Christian theology, with regard to certain difficult Christian beliefs, and with regard to our view of the Bible.