“Those of us who teach at Christian colleges write with the knowledge that our books may get us fired.” Christianity Today Reviews Richard Dawkins’ “The Oxford Book of Science Writing” and Brings Up the Delicate Issue of Intellectual Censorship at Evangelical Colleges

Under the ironic and provacative title, “No Science Please: We’re Evangelical,” Christianity Today just gave Richard Dawkins’ new anthology of science writing a POSITIVE review.

The review also urged Evangelicals to stay open to the discoveries of science, including those surrounding evolution.

It was written by Karl Giberson.

Money quote:

Two centuries after evidence began to mount up that the earth is ancient, Christian bookstores feature titles arguing that all this science is wrong. A hundred and fifty years after Darwin, many evangelicals continue to reject evolution, even as data from the genome project establishes the near certainty of Darwin’s central idea of common ancestry. Young Earth creationists reject definitive evidence for the big bang theory.

Many evangelical scientists have encountered great hostility when they have tried to help their fellow Christians come to terms with controversial scientific ideas. Richard Colling has been on the hot seat at Olivet Nazarene University for over a year because some powerful fundamentalists don’t like his acceptance of evolution. Darrel Falk encountered similar problems in the 1990s. Howard Van Till fought this battle for years at Calvin College and finally left his faith tradition altogether. And so it goes. (I have experienced a bit of this myself since the publication of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.) The sad truth is that science writers in the evangelical world are discouraged from plying their craft. Those of us who teach at Christian colleges write with the knowledge that our books may get us fired.

Karl Giberson must have had to think long and hard before publishing his review.

I admire his Antigone-like gesture, though it might bring him into conflict with some Creon moving about in his world.

Below is a bit of dialogue from Sophocles’ play.

It is between timid Ismene, the sister of Antigone, and Antigone. Because it is against the king’s explicit decree, Ismene wants Antigone to bury her brother in secret, but Antigone insists that what one does and believes must be open and spoken.

These lines are dedicated to Karl Giberson:

ISMENE: Oh Antigone, you’re so rash—I’m so afraid for you!

ANTIGONE: Don’t fear for me. Set your own life in order.

ISMENE: Then don’t, at least, blurt this out to anyone. Keep it a secret. I’ll join you in that, I promise.

ANTIGONE: Dear god, shout it from the rooftops. I’ll hate you all the more for silence—tell the world!

 [The lines above come from the opening scene and begin at line 96].

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to “Those of us who teach at Christian colleges write with the knowledge that our books may get us fired.” Christianity Today Reviews Richard Dawkins’ “The Oxford Book of Science Writing” and Brings Up the Delicate Issue of Intellectual Censorship at Evangelical Colleges

  1. I have never had a portion of a classic play dedicated to me. Maybe if I knew the literary canon better I would be more fearful!

  2. Pingback: Karl Giberson and the firing of Dr. Bruce Waltke: “Those of us who teach at Christian colleges write with the knowledge that our books may get us fired” « Prometheus Unbound

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