Friday, 4 December 2015

More helpful resources on science and theology for the Christadelphian

As the concluding article to the anti-evolution series that has been running this year in The Christadelphian shows, those seeking informed, reliable, factually accurate material on evolution need to look outside our community. [1] The concluding words of the author, in which he declares that "our position is to place trust in scripture and not give the benefit of the doubt to the current (and ever-changing) 'wisdom' of science" [2] provide absolutely no help to the believer who is well aware of the fact that evolution is indeed a fact, and has been regarded as such for well over a century.

I have made several posts linking to credible, informed sources of information on evolution such as BioLogos and the American Scientific Affiliation. A post by Peter Enns has alerted me to another excellent source of information by B.K. Mitchell, professor emeritus of biological sciences from the University of Alberta, who is also a Christian who is greatly concerned about the infiltration of pseudoscience and obscurantism in Christianity:
Even in this new millennium tens of thousands of university students find little support in their home church, family or community for dealing with the intellectual challenges to their faith that they will encounter in the modern, secular university. Worse, those in Bible schools and Christian colleges will often still find reactionary curricula that want to explain away, debunk or simply ignore established evidence gained by the last hundred years of recognized scholarship. As a lifelong Christian, and an experimental biologist with more than thirty years research and teaching experience in a major secular university, it saddens me to have to acknowledge the truth of the sentences that I have just written.
As the recently-concluded anti-evolution series in The Christadelphian sadly shows, this problem is just as pressing for our community as it is for the conservative Protestant faith tradition. Mitchell's series of essays provided to give assistance to the Christian student navigating these problems also includes a bibliography list which contains many excellent volumes some of which every Christadelphian seriously interested in this subject should read.

It goes without saying of course that some of the theological perspectives in the essays or the books in the bibliography will not be congruent with ours, and I would disagree strongly with some of the arguments presented but as with any resource (Christadelphian or otherwise), the key to extracting full benefit from it is to engage it critically. [3] Resources that are particularly recommended include:

1. With the exception of this website and others, I should hasten to add.
2. Bramhill A "And God said..." The Christadelphian (2015) 152:532
3. The fundamentalist who refuses to read any non-Christadelphian resource for fear of 'mental contamination' not only is intimating that he lacks the ability to critically appraise literature or has a faith that will fold on exposure to any view that differs from his own, but given the impossibility of having an expert grasp of all the areas of knowledge needed to provide the necessary background information to properly study the Bible (archaeology, linguistics, history) will bring to the Bible nothing but his own hopelessly uninformed literalism.