Here’s an equation: BioLogos + Templeton = Apologetics funded by a ton of money.
That’s precisely what’s happened with BioLogos’s “Evolution and Christian Faith” program. The Templeton Foundation has anted up nearly two million bucks for this, handing it to BioLogos in their futile attempt to bring evangelical Christians to an acceptance of evolution. The problem is that BioLogos is no longer devoted to that mission; they’ve devolved to sucking up to Christians and soft-pedaling the science. And they’ve gotten rid of people, like Karl Giberson and Pete Enns, who take a hard line on questions like the non-existence of Adam and Eve.
Here’s part of the the Templeton blurb for that program:
Many Christians believe evolution is inherently atheistic and therefore incompatible with their faith. This mistaken belief is frequently reinforced by militant atheists like Richard Dawkins and repeated by fundamentalist Christians like Ken Ham. In addition, the media repeatedly frame science/religion stories as though the two are at war. The BioLogos Foundation exists to turn the tide. In just two years BioLogos has made remarkable inroads into the evangelical community and broader culture by influencing key opinion leaders, scholars, pastors, and educators, and by reaching out to the general public.
Four misstatements, right off the bat: Richard Dawkins is not militant; he hasn’t said that evolution is inherently atheistic, but rather that it has led people like him to atheism because it displaces a creator God; there is indeed a war between science and all forms of faith that are theistic (if not, why are religious people constantly trying to sneak creationism into the public schools, and why do only 16% of Americans accept naturalistic evolution?); and BioLogos hasn’t turned any tide, nor made “remarkable inroads into the evangelical community”.
Fuller Theological Seminary
Profesor Oliver Crisp
A major issue in contemporary Christian theology concerns the relationship between an evolutionary account of human origins and the doctrine of original sin. To what extent does a theological account ofthe origin of human sin depend upon the evolution of modern humans from one and only one ancestral pair – especially if that pair does not appear to correspond to what we would think of as modern human beings? How would that complicate our theological stories of human development in light of Scripture? A related issue turns on the extent to which we can we reconstruct a doctrine of original sin wherenature has always been “red in tooth and claw.”. . .
The Colossian Forum
Pastor Michael Gulker, Dr. James Smith, and Dr. William Cavanaugh
This project gathers a multidisciplinary team of leading scholars to pursue communal, research on evolution, the Fall, and original sin, asking a pressing question: If humanity emerged from non-human primates—as genetic, biological, and archaeological evidence seems to suggest—then what are the implications for Christian theology’s traditional account of origins, including both the origin of humanityand the origin of sin?The integrity of the church’s witness requires that we constructively address thisdifficult question. We believe that cultivating an orthodox theological imagination can enable us to engage these tensions without giving up on confessional orthodoxy.
Dr. Paul Allen
This project has the objective of producing a scholarly monograph tentatively entitled Creaturehood Ascendant: Sin and Science in Theological Anthropology as well as several scholarly articles. This research will lay out a theological anthropology that builds on specific emphases of Catholic and evangelical theology in order to respond to the theory of evolution. heological and philosophical commitments that investigate and account for human personhood.
My emphasis in this next one to show that such projects begin with a presupposition (God and Jesus) and then try to twist the science to fit it. In other words, apologetics:
Dr. John Mullen
Many Christians attempt to deny evolutionary biology, thereby creating an intellectual obstacle for biologically-informed non-Christians who might otherwise consider Christianity favorably. Denials of evolution foster the perception that Christianity requires us to believe something that is demonstrably false, but most of us reasonably believe that God never requires that of anyone. Accordingly, the ultimate goal of this project is to remove the perception that evolution is a threat to Christianity, and to do so in such a way that non-specialists find it relatively easy to understand. This ultimate goal is broadly evangelistic, though it also eliminates a source of division among Christians. The proximate goal is to show that evolutionary biology lends very little evidential support to Philosophical Naturalism over Classical Theism. To do this, it must be shown that a gradual creation is an expected consequence of Theism. We may reasonably suppose that God, to accomplish His purposes as we can reasonably perceive them, must remain hidden to us to the point of leaving Naturalism as a “live-option” for us given our publically-accessible evidence. If so, God has good reasons to create gradually and can reasonably be expected to do so. This conflicts with a tendency most of us have to think that God would want to make His presence obvious to us. This project will be carried out through a series of academic papers, a popular-level book, and possible speaking engagements. The latter are intended to disseminate the philosophical ideas argued in the papers to a wider audience.
These projects, but especially the one above, are an insult to rationality. How can these scholars look in the mirror each day knowing that they’re taking money for such ludicrous projects? I can imagine Dr. Muller, while shaving, telling himself, “Okay, today I’m going to make up more reasons why God is hidden.”
The translation of the above is that God should create gradually (i.e., through evolution) so that we can still remain naturalists about most stuff while the shy deity remains hidden. But God could still have done that by creating everything instantly and then leaving it unchanged. After all, we don’t have to have evolution to remain naturalists. And if God works miracles with Jesus, virgin births, and so on, doesn’t that dispel naturalism, too?
It’s amazing to me that, rather than interpret the “hiddenness of God” as evidence against God, theologians twist their brains into knots trying to explain why God would actually want to remain hidden.
As Delos McKown said, “The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.” Much as projects like this anger me, they make me even sadder, for it shows an irremediable credulity of some humans, who waste their valuable time on this planet trying to explain why an interventionist deity can’t show Himself too obviously.
One more for your delectation:
Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor
Pastor Ken Wilson, Pastor Emily Swan, and David Paladino
The primary goal of our project is to assist a mission-driven, science-friendly change process within Vineyard churches and InterVarsity areas and chapters that are open to this shift; assist leaders in these organizations to accept theistic evolution as one of the legitimate approaches to integrating science and evangelical faith; and to help them become effective change agents within their organizations. Our secondary goal is to assist scientists and science educators to communicate with evangelicals more effectively regarding evolution.
Remember that the Vineyard Church is the one studied (and to some extent praised) by Tanya Luhrmann in her new book, When God Talks Back.
This project isn’t as invidious as the others, but note that what it aims to do is promote theistic evolution—that is, a form of teleological evolution resting on the discredited idea that evolution is driven by a form of vitalism. As I’ve said endlessly, those who accept theistic evolution, or promote it, are not our allies, nor should we court them in a misguided attempt to get friends for court battles against creationism. If evolution is to be promoted, let it be promoted on its own merits and evidence, not by saying that, after all, God is behind it or directs it. After all, we don’t have “theistic chemistry” (God moves the molecules) or “theistic physiology” (God regulates glucose metabolism).
Religious people who deny evolution are not, by and large, stupid. They know that telling them that religion and evolution are compatible isn’t going to settle the queasiness in their stomach when they realize that, in the end, evolution implies to many that humans are a contingent result of a purely materialistic process. It’s easier for them to simply reject evolution and accept the view that humans are the special product of God’s creation and morals were instilled into us by that god.
The battle to keep creationism out of schools is one battle in a war, but the war is not between evolution and creationism, but between superstition and rationality. By caving in to the theistic evolutionists, we may gain support for the battle, but only at the expense of losing the war.