Sunday, September 23, 2007

A follow-up to last week's post "Random Designer in the Hands of Reactionary People"

ONU BIOLOGY CHAIR BARRED, BOOK BANNED. Over the past few weeks, I have been paying attention to and reflecting some personal perspective on the treatment of Olivet Nazarene University Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences Rick Colling. Over the summer, ONU President John Bowling barred Colling from teaching the General Biology course and banned his book Random Designer (a thoughtful reflection on theistic evolution) from being assigned reading at ONU after the Chair of the ONU Board of Trustees, representing Fundamentalist perspective, influence, and antics, applied sufficient pressure.

FUNDAMENTALIST POWER. The smoldering story taking place at my alma mater was fanned into flame when a Newsweek column titled "Can God Love Darwin, Too?" made the story part of a larger national discussion. The public has been introduced to one more example of the power of Fundamentalism to trump good science in the name of God and the preservation of true faith. But the issue at ONU may be less about creation vs evolution and more about the power of a Fundamentalist to assert his will.

BRIDGE BUILDER. Having read Random Designer and finding it to be not only harmless theologically, but Colling's personal journey to be winning for both thoughtful but Fundamentalist-cornered Christians and God-doubting scientists, I heartily recommend the book. Squarely stating that God is the sole source of all creation with an intention for human intelligence and transcendent purpose, Colling demonstrates numerous ways in which natural selection and adaptation complement God's creative fiat.

IN COLLING'S OWN WORDS. Since the Newsweek article, Rick has been assailed with questions and his situation the topic of talk radio, bloggers and online and e-mail discussion groups. Rick has posted a personal response that is well worth reading. I find it insightful and important for anyone interested in this particular challenge and the broader issue of the increasing influence of Fundamentalism in evangelical and holiness faith traditions.

Here's the link to Rick Colling's response:

You can listen to Colling in a 2004 NPR interview at this link.

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