The last few months have seen a war of words between Albert Mohler and BioLogos. It’s been more of a protest of words… after all they’re Christian brethren, how heated can it get? Nevertheless, the fighting has been going on for awhile.
The public portion of the discussion started in June when Mohler, at the Ligonier Ministries 2010 National Conference (transcript here) spoke on the apparent old age of the earth and labeled evolution as the great destroyer of meaning. It seems that his decision to go public against BioLogos and its fellows is because they had begun to question Biblical inerrancy. This led Karl Giberson to respond on the BioLogos site (other fellows did as well), and then months later, on the Huffington Post. Mohler then responded, BioLogos did in turn, and the war was off. Most recently, BioLogos posted a year in summary and look ahead of sorts written by Darrel Falk, which in turn elicited a response from Mohler. Mohler’s last response has set off a relative firestorm first, second, third, and there are likely many others…
I have spoken out previously against Mohler’s interpretation of evolution and Christianity, and it’s fair to say that I don’t really ever agree with him. This doesn’t mean a priori that I think he is wrong, and I would have no problems applauding and linking here to something that he wrote if I agreed with it. This needs to be appreciated.
There are a number of issues that I have with what Mohler has written during the war and his recent article is no different. What set me off the most though was his equating a belief that scientific knowledge is not deeply flawed to scientism. This is ridiculous. And Mohler knows this. He is an educated man who is either lying or using extremely faulty logic to win the fight. And this means he is not on a search for the truth but is out to “defend” his truth by lobbing bombs that would make politicians in the middle of a campaign proud. Of course, this is not to be unexpected with the things that he has said before. But it didn’t crystallize until this last go-round.
The reasons behind Mohler making the scientism connection (when he knows it’s false) are likely multiple, but I wrote before about how the positions one espouses are affected by being in such a public role. So my question remains: is he lying or does he actually believe this? And if he does believe it, then anything he writes relating to science should be ignored. It’s that simple.
BioLogos should not get off without a warning either, but it’s clear to most that they are much more committed to a search for the truth than Mohler is. However, they need to be cautious when they do get sucked in to a war. I’m not saying that shouldn’t respond because of course they should. But a reminder to stick to the search then to focus on disproving the other is always a good one (for all of us).
Moving on from the continual evolution vs. creationism debate, I have written before about how I think the limits of science are over-stated, at the same time pointing out that, in my mind, while science can provide answers to all questions, that doesn’t mean it will provide sufficient or complete answers. In addition, the relationship between science and religion is much more complex than these simple wars suggest and many (RJS at the Jesus Creed, BioLogos itself when it can, and others) are doing their best to forge ahead. Also, we deeply need to make more visible the works of those academicians that are attempting a real albeit often complex dialogue between or integration of science and religion. These works can be difficult to comprehend, but I don’t believe they’re impossible to interpret. We much continue on in the search for truth and not let the wars and controversies limit us.