Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,
I just looked at your “I’m Ready For Some Football!” post.
I mentioned before that I’m excited because I’m headed back to Dillon in October. Not actual Dillon, of course, but someplace similar.
Our new location is in a small rural college town that has both a college football team and a high school team. As you can imagine, football is an important element.
I’m not going to re-open the debate about whether the earth goes around the sun or whether there were dinosaurs. I understand from Rabbs that this is kind of an article of faith for some Orthodox Jews. (I say “some” because I’ve polled some Orthodox in my neighborhood, and everybody believes the science side, and these are the guys with the black hats who wear the fringes outside.)
The situation as I see it is that for centuries theological and philosophical debates have challenged one another. For example, you guys have convinced me that Jewish theology does not allow for the concept that G-d could become a person. However, a number of other religious theologies, including Christianity, allow for G-d becoming a person. These are debates that cannot establish an ultimate veracity one way or the other, because no one can offer proof. And so, as in philosophy, there are simply good arguments on all sides that cannot ultimately be demonstrated.
All this being the case, it is understandable that science presents a thorn in the side. Whereas previously our different theologies offered what we considered to be evidence, now science comes along and says that they have superseding evidence because they have established unarguable truth.
Now I do not happen to agree with many scientific conclusions. At the same time I must submit to many of the assertions of truth because science does not use the methods of theology, but other methods that are entirely designed to end arguments rather than provoke them.
So the upshot is that for centuries the world’s theologies were able to disagree with one another because no one operated in the area of metaphysical truth, rather evidence that could be used to structure good arguments on behalf of the theological positions. Now, with some of these issues, science comes along and says that it is, in fact, not concerned with theological methods or arguments, but only conclusive proof. And this is something that theologies have been trying to reckon with, at best, partial success.