The recent First Things magazine has an interesting symposium on Theology as Knowledge. Since the Chairman and the Secretary appear to take the side that Theology is not Knowledge, it may be interesting to touch on one theme in the articles written for the symposium:
Modern secular university education, initiated in 19th Century German university reforms, relegates theology to the sidelines. Science and the social sciences are pushed to the fore. Theology is not knowledge. To the modern scientist or "social" scientitst, theology is merely faith or explanation of the irrational -- so theology has no primary role in the modern university or the modern education.
I believe that modern education can be fairly criticized for this point -- but that is not the purpose of this post. For my own part, I am sure that I don't want theology taught in the public universities of our day; but I am equally sure that theology is knowlege -- which brings to my point.
I think the JAS should welcome theological discussion because it can help explain issues and in some cases answer questions or raise issues -- at the very least I suspect most members would agree that different theological perspectives can be helpful.
For example, in my Intelligent Design speech which apparently led to the Chairman's "Ode to SSC", my principal point regarding Evangelical Protestantism on this issue was that Catholic and Orthodox Christians may agree with Intelligent Design but because of their balanced theological perspective, the issue is not prioritized very highly. On the other hand, certain Evangelical Protestants without this balanced theological perspective have prioritized the issue too highly. Basically, proving Creationism scientifically is important to certain Evangelical Protestants and not to Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
My debating point was that a lot of Christians don't believe that Intelligent Design is worth spending a lot of political capital on. Obviously, my theological statements offered lots of food for thought -- but I was debating the resolution, not trying to resolve the world's problems.
I recall that in a question to a pro-ID apparent Biblical literalist, I asked something like, "What would the gentleman prefer taught in the public schools: evolution, intelligent design or the History of the People of God as stated in Genesis?" The gentlement preferred intelligent design. I laughed because I figured he would choose the History of the People of God taught literally. Of course, if I was given a choice of the three, I would prefer Genesis taught allegorically.
So, in the end, I believe that my knowledge of theology is knowledge and is useful at times in making speeches, debating points and in asking questions.
For these reasons, I think the "Ode to SSC" written by the Chairman is odious, an obvious step in the wrong direction and probably unintentional political correctness.
P.S. For those who think I lack humor about this matter, I dissent. I think the "Ode to SSC" would be funny if it weren't slanderous based on the facts stated above. Lastly, I surely would not have written this post except the Chairman and the Secretary published the "Ode to SSC" on the Internet for the public to read.