Questions: (1) Leaving aside Calvinism, is Howard Van Till a Christian at all? Would he even accept that designation? (2) Given that he has veered so far from Calvin College’s statement of faith, is it legitimate for him to maintain his formal affiliation with the school as “professor emeritus”?Ã‚Â Are professors emeritus held to the same standards as nonretired faculty?Ã‚Â
FROM CALVINISM TO FREETHOUGHT: The Road Less Traveled
by Howard J. Van Till
Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Emeritus
Presented 5/24/2006 for the Freethought Association of West Michigan
Lightly edited 5/26/2006
Precis: Born into a Calvinist family, shaped by a Calvinist catechism training, educated
in the Calvinist private school system, and nurtured by a community that prized its
Calvinist systematic theology, I was a Calvinist through and through. For 31 years my
teaching career was deeply rooted in the Calvinism I had inherited from my community.
During most of that time it was a fruitful and satisfying experience. Nonetheless,
stimulated in part by the manner in which some members of that community responded to
my efforts to practice what I had learned from my best teachers, I eventually felt the need
to extend my intellectual exploration into philosophical territories far outside the one
provided by Calvinism. Did I complete the lengthy journey from Calvinism to
Freethought? The listener will be the judge.