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Friday, October 31, 2014

Not God’s Type

Posted by jlwile on December 17, 2012

I read an incredibly interesting book about another atheist-turned-Christian. In this case, it’s Dr. Holly Ordway, and while her conversion was quite different from mine, she was also heavily influenced by the objective evidence that supports the validity of the Christian faith.

My review was published by Apologetics 315. You you can read it there.

Comments

8 Responses to “Not God’s Type”
  1. Keith says:

    Very nice review, Dr. Wile. I think I might pick this up as an early Christmas present for myself. Dr. Ordway’s book reminds me of another I’ve read called “Not the Religious Type.” The author, Dave Schmelzer, has some similar experiences to Dr. Ordway. His book focuses more on his changed perspective as a result of his spiritual journey, rather than on the journey itself.

  2. jlwile says:

    Thanks, Keith. If you get the book, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll have to look for Schmelzer’s book. It sounds interesting.

  3. Mia says:

    The argument from morality? She’s not the philosopher’s type either: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-arguments-god/

    I would love to hear what sources or arguments for the historical resurrection she used.

  4. jlwile says:

    Mia, I have suggested this before, but you didn’t seem to take it to heart. You need to actually read the sources you post, as they tend to destroy your own arguments. For example, the one you posted here argues strongly against your view. You claim that Dr. Ordway isn’t the “philosopher’s type,” because she was convinced by the argument from morality. However, the link you posted lists the following award-winning philosophers who support some version of the argument from morality:

    -Dr. Alfred Edward Taylor, a fellow of the British Academy, president of the Aristotelian Society, and an honorary fellow of Oxford’s New College.

    -Dr. Robert Merrihew Adams, the Clark Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics at Yale, fellow at Oxford’s Mansfield College, and Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    -Immanuel Kant. In case you don’t recognize that name, the very source that published the link you posted calls him, “the central figure in modern philosophy.”

    Do you think that these individuals are “not the philosopher’s type?”

    More importantly, let’s see how the very link you posted concludes:

    Perhaps this is a point at which proponents and opponents of moral arguments for God’s existence might agree on. Moral considerations give all a reason to examine the proposition that there is a God very seriously. For if there is no God, morality is a more perilous enterprise than if there is.

    Now honestly, I find the argument from morality rather weak. However, I am not a philosopher. According to your own source, it is clearly an argument that holds a lot of sway among those who are “the philosopher’s type.”

    There is a way you can learn about the sources Dr. Ordway used in her research. You can read her book!

  5. Jason says:

    Amazon reviewers could learn a lot from your excellent book review Dr Wile. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Kaitlin W. says:

    I thought the most interesting part of “Not the Religious Type,” was Schmelzer’s bounded and centered set idea.

    Anyway, Dr. Wile, I was privileged to take your science courses when I was in high school. You are one of the main reasons I have so much respect for Christians, and Christians who are scientists and support Creationism. I like, get into debates with with my Atheist friends, because I can’t help defending Christians and Creationists (even though I’m agnostic haha).

    But um, I haven’t heard you address what I think is the best argument against Seven Day Creationism (well, at least the seven day part of it). Maybe you have and I haven’t come across it. Would be interested, if that’s the case. I’ve been wondering what you think of it for a while.

    So I was taking an Old Testament class in first year university (I’m not an expert here haha), and my professor said there are several contemporary records of seven day stories, some even written before Genesis was. The seven-day-story-structure allowed them to arrange themes, basically, not time. They could have a story of any length, and organize it into seven “days,” sort of the way we organize a play into “acts” and “scenes.”

    This isn’t to say the Earth couldn’t be young, and God couldn’t have created it, but rather that, what if insisting upon (or dismissing as nonsense) the seven-day part of it is taking the Bible out of it’s historical context, and missing the intended meaning of the creation story, and it’s structure?

    For the class, we read Sandra L. Richter’s book, “Epic of Eden,” which goes into what the creation stories would probably have meant to the people of the time it was written to (like how God dividing the waters illustrated his power over the greatest fear of the culture–everybody was terrified of “the deep”), how the structure affects the meaning of the stories, and what theological implications they have for Christians today. Also, a guy named Dr. Crispin Fletcher Lewis has done some pretty compelling work on the stories as well, noticing how very closely the process God uses to create man, and every detail of that story, parallels the rituals used to make idols in antiquity. There was no way the authors didn’t do that intentionally. So what were they trying to communicate? Really, really fascinating stuff.

    I guess it’s possible God is kind of humorous, and mixes scientific truth into stories. Maybe he did create the Earth in seven days. Maybe there are so many levels of meaning to the stories, you should never be satisfied.

    When I learned about Genesis from this historial perspective, my mind was completely blown by some of it’s implications. I realized the book is insanely brilliant (the intricate foreshadowing and depth of subtle references takes genius–divine genius my professor believes), yeah. But it made me think about what the creation stories were saying about the nature of humanity. It became deeply personal.

    WHY we were created, was the matter, not just that we had been. (I’m sure for some it’s profound and life-changing to realize he or she has been created by God, but I grew up assuming so, with people belittling others over their views on creation or evolution. Ha.) My point is, that I didn’t hear this perspective taught much in the evangelical circles I grew up in, and think it might help Christians to see themselves and the world more positively, and lovingly.

    Not that looking at religion from a scientific perspective isn’t beautiful, as well. It is.

    Blerg. Sorry for over-explaining and going on about things haha. If I had more time and wasn’t as sleepy I’d edit my comment more. XD I’m interested in how important the literal view of the seven days in the creation story is to you, and why that is, and what your opinion is on the historial argument.

    Thanks again for writing your science textbooks. They made science really fun for me. :)

  7. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your comment, Kaitlin. I am glad that my books had a positive impact on your views regarding creationists. I do think you are confusing two books, however. Not God’s Type is by Dr. Holly Ordway, and Not The Religious Type is by Dave Schmelzer. They are both about atheists who have become Christians, but they are rather different. Dr. Ordway emphasizes the evidence that brought her to believe in Christ. Schmelzer is much more relationship-oriented. I found both books interesting, even though they were rather different.

    I am not familiar with the work of Sandra L. Richter or Dr. Crispin Fletcher Louis (I think that’s the proper way to spell his last name). However, I am familiar with the work of Dr. Peter Enns, and he makes essentially the same argument. I have two problems with that argument. First, I seriously doubt that Pentateuch was written after the Babylonian Captivity, which is what Dr. Enns (and most who hold this view) think. Rather, from my non-professional view, I think the evidence strongly favors a date of 1400-1200 BC. Second, I am not at all surprised that there are a lot of seven-day creation accounts out there. After all, if that’s really how creation happened, I would expect a lot of cultures to preserve some memory of it. Obviously, the memory might not be exact, which is why the details don’t line up well. Nevertheless, just as multiple cultures’ worldwide Flood accounts reflect the reality of a worldwide Flood, I would think multiple seven-day creation accounts reflect the reality of a seven-day creation.

    You ask how important the literal view of a seven-day creation is to me. It is not something that I think Christians must believe. Indeed, I have taken a lot of heat from some fellow young-earth creationists because I openly admit that you can still have a solid view of Biblical authority and a good Biblical hermeneutic without believing creation happened in seven 24-hour days. However, I do think it is the most reasonable interpretation of Scripture. Since I also think the balance of the scientific evidence points to a young earth, I think it provides the best framework in which to understand the natural world. However, I am willing to change my mind on the issue. That’s one reason I read many different views when it comes to creation.

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