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Van Till a Freethinker?

With a hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars, I’d like to call attention to the text of a speech given by Howard J. Van Till (The Fourth Day) to the Freethought Association of West Michigan. Van Till’s work on evolution in general and intelligent design in particular is amongst my favorite reading, and he provides some excellent insights into working with truth, and our view of what truth is, in the context of a religious institution.

While I experienced some hostility as a graduate student in a Seventh-day Adventist institution, I never experienced this degree of hostility, but I did reject the idea of signing a doctrinal statement in order to be able to teach. That was one of the things that led me away from even seriously seeking work in an Adventist institution. Now as a member of the United Methodist Church, I often actually seem quite conservative.

Readers who come from my current side of the aisle–mainstream Christianity outside the Calvinist or Catholic traditions–may find it hard to empathize with Van Till. Calvinism tends to be much more creedal, and thus to be much more explicit.

But I am no less subject to having an ODoR (operational description of reality) than anyone else, and often being less explicit about it simply makes it harder to examine, rather than meaning that one is actually more open minded. I think Van Till has again provided some excellent insight into the nature of the controversy over creation and evolution, and the relationship of science and religion.

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