Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
29 (3), September 1994

Table of Contents

Editorial

September 1994 Editorial by Philip Hefner

The editors of this journal are continuously in the business of reflecting upon Zygon’s location in the intellectual terrain which it occupies: What has been its position in the past? To what roles is it committed in its statement of purpose? What seems to be its actual place as it negotiates the stream of contemporary challenges? What locus would the editors most prefer for the journal? Due to circumstances over which we have no control, we may not always occupy the place we desire most or that we ought to occupy, but it is incumbent upon us to be aware of our location and its significance. Our perch, at the end of a limb that covers almost twenty-nine years of continuous publication, intensifies our reflection upon situation and direction.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00665.x

Articles

Energy and the Generation of the World by George L. Murphy

Abstract:
Energy concepts in theology and natural science are studied to see how they may aid the science-theology dialogue. Relationships between divine and human energies in classical Christology and energy ideas in process theology are significant. In physics, energy has related roles as something conserved and as the generator of temporal development. We explore ways in which God and the world may interact to produce evolution of the universe. Possible connections between the double role of physical energy and the bipolar character of God in process theology are noted. Energy helps to describe God’s relationship with the world in both theological viewpoints and, thus, may bridge them.
Keywords:
creation • energy • generation of the world • process theology • time
George L. Murphy is a theoretical physicist and pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Box 201, Tallmadge, OH 44278.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00666.x

Integrating Evolution: A Contribution to the Christian Doctrine of Creation by Rudolf B. Brun

Abstract:
Science has demonstrated that the universe creates itself through its own history. This history is the result of a probabilistic process, not a deterministic execution of a plan. Science has also documented that human beings are a result of this universal, probabilistic process of general evolution. At first sight, these results seem to contradict Christian teaching. According to the Bible, history is essentially the history of salvation. Human beings therefore are not an “accident of nature” but special creations to be saved. With deeper theological probing, it becomes clearer, however, that creation must create itself. The Christian God is the loving God who enters into a loving relationship with human beings if they desire to reciprocate. If creation could not create itself, human beings could not be free. Without freedom to ignore or reject God’s love, the central act of the Christian God, the drama of salvation, would become a parody played by marionettes in the hands of a supernatural manipulator. Christians should welcome the fundamental insight brought forth by science that the universe, including human beings, created itself through its own history. This article will try to show that this scientific insistence is required and confirmed by the intrinsic character of the orthodox, Judeo-Christian concept of God. That nature has to create itself, including human beings, secures human freedom and with it, the responsibility for human actions. From this perspective one might better understand the Bible in the light of God’s revelation through the book of nature.
Keywords:
Christian doctrine of creation • cosmogenesis • evolution • philosophy of evolution • theology of evolution
Rudolf B. Brun is Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, Texas Christian University, P.O. Box 32916, Fort Worth, TX 76129.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00667.x

The Cry for the Other: The Biocultural Womb of Human Development by James B. Ashbrook

Abstract:
The human experience of meaning-making lies at the roots of consciousness, creativity, and religious faith. It arises from the basic experience of separation from a loved object, suffered by all mammals, and, in general terms, from the experienced gap between ourselves and our environment. We fill the gap with transitional objects and symbols that reassure us of basic continuity in ourselves and in the world. These objects and symbols also serve the neurognostic function of demonstrating what the world is like. Thus, humanity lives by faith, as manifested in its pattern-making capacity, and not by literal sight.
Keywords:
cognitive imperative • consciousness • religious imagination • separation cry • symbolization • transitional space
James B. Ashbrook is Senior Scholar and Emeritus Professor of Religion and Personality at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201, and is also an advisory member of the graduate faculty, Northwestern University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00668.x

Redefining Myth and Religion: Introduction to a Conversation by Loyal D. Rue

Abstract:
Minimally, myth means “story,” and religion means “that which binds” a community into a coherent unity. Myth and religion are closely associated because a shared myth is the most efficient and effective means for achieving social coherence. Ancient myths were initially formulated in terms of the science of their day, Thus, an integration of science, myth, and religion is essential to a healthy culture. As these elements become disintegrated there arises a need to generate new mythic visions. The question of our day is whether science offers resources relevant to the expression of a new myth.
Keywords:
myth • religion • science • story
Loyal D. Rue is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College, Decorah, IA 52101.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00669.x

What Science Can and Cannot Offer to a Religious Narrative by Ursula W. Goodenough

Abstract:
A molecular/cell biologist offers perspectives on the contributions that the scientific worldview might and might not make to religious thought. It is argued that two essential features of institutionalized religions—their historical context and their supernatural orientation—are not addressed by the sciences, nor can the sciences contribute to the art and ritual that elicit states of faith and transcendence. The sciences have, however, important stories (myths) to offer, stories that have the potential to unify us, to tell us what is sacred, what has meaning, and how we might best proceed.
Keywords:
ancestor cult • earth cult • mystical experience • ritual • sky cult
Ursula W. Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, and President of the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS).
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00670.x

On the Evolution of Morality and Religion: A Response to Lee Cronk by Roy A. Rappaport

Abstract:
Issue is taken with Dawkins and Krebs’s (1978) conception of communication as being by nature manipulative and with Cronk’s proposals concerning the evolution of morality, both of which are grounded in evolutionary biology. An alternative view, which recognizes that which humanity has in common with other species but which emphasizes humanity’s distinctiveness, is offered to account for religion and morality.
Keywords:
evolution • falsehood • manipulation • morality • ritual • truth
Roy Rappaport, Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding, is a member of the Anthropology Department and Director of the Program on Studies in Religion at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00671.x

The Use of Moralistic Statements in Social Manipulation: A Reply to Roy A. Rappaport by Lee Cronk

Abstract:
Rappaport’s comment includes several errors. First, he conflates manipulation and deceit. Second, he confuses the rationalism of the evolutionary biological analysis of organisms with the rationalism (or lack thereof) of the motivational and cognitive structures of the organisms under study. Third, his moralistic judgment of my focus on manipulation implies that scientists should not only not explore but should also suppress such unsettling ideas. We will make little progress in understanding morality and in fostering truly moral behavior if we refuse to acknowledge that moralistic statements may sometimes, and perhaps even often, be used in a manipulative way.
Keywords:
communication • morality • signals • social manipulation
Lee Cronk is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00672.x

Book Symposia

Conceptualizing Humanity, World, and God by Maurice Wiles

Gordon Kaufman is well known for his insistence that theology is a work of imaginative human construction. This view is argued in his Essay on Theological Method (Scholars Press, 1975) and provides the title for his later collection of essays—The Theological Imagination: Constructing the Concept of God (Westminster, 1981). It is one thing to sketch the appropriate method for theology; to show what such a method involves by putting it to work on a grand scale is a very different matter. Not every one who writes about theological method goes on to do the latter, more demanding task. Kaufman is warmly to be commended for having done so. …
Keywords:
anthropocentrism • God as agent/God as process • theological method
Maurice Wiles is Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus, Christ Church, Oxford University, Oxford, England OX1 2LQ.

This article reviews In Face of Mystery by Gordon Kaufman.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00673.x

Unfazed by Mystery by Frederick Ferré

Gordon Kaufman’s In Face of Mystery is a book to be absorbed and pondered. It will certainly offend some of the naively faithful by its agnostic candor; but as a philosopher I rise with joy to greet its no-nonsense attitude toward even the most sacrosanct icons of Christian faith. Theological concepts that fail to withstand scrutiny should be dropped, no matter how precious. In contrast, the concepts that can still function religiously for postmodern women and men, Kaufman argues, deserve to be restated with fresh, generally supportable cognitive content and thus survive. Nothing should be propped up by claims of authority or tortured reasoning. Let the chips fall! …
Keywords:
constructive theology • ecological ethic • God • serendipitous universe • theological method • Alfred North Whitehead
Frederick Ferré is Research Professor of Philosophy. The University of Georgia, 122 Peabody Hall, Athens, GA 30602.

This article reviews In Face of Mystery by Gordon Kaufman.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00674.x

The Summa Hefneriana: Myth, Megamyth, and Metamyth by Eugene G. d’Aquili

In The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion, Philip Hefner achieves what in my opinion is the most compelling synthesis to date of the scientific worldview and religious phenomenology. It is nothing less than a prolegomenon to any credible future theologizing. Not having had the wit to write it myself, like most commentators, I shall now expand upon how I could have written it better. …
Keywords:
biocultural evolution • Ralph Wendell Burhoe • created co-creator • cultural information • ecosystem • freedom • genetic information • harmony with nature • megamyth • metamyth • myth-ritual-praxis complex • survival • technology • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • theologizing • theory-making theory • transkin altruism
Eugene G. d’Aquili is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, 2400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

This article reviews The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion by Philip Hefner.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00675.x

Eclecticism and Loose Coherence: A Risk Worth Taking by Mary Gerhart

Frequent references have been made for several years to Philip Hefner’s felicitous definition, “Human beings are created co-creators,” in formal and informal conversations. The references have been accompanied by the question, “When will his book be published?” Such references will not cease now that The Human Factor has appeared. Those already using his definition can now see just how the creator of the term uses it himself. …
Keywords:
altruism • created co-creator • creativity • evolutionary theory • teleonomy • theological anthropology
Mary Gerhart is Professor of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456.

This article reviews The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion by Philip Hefner.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00676.x

A New Synthesis of Knowledge and Faith by Gerd Theissen

This book provides the reader with a fascinating synthesis of modern thought and theology. It is characteristic of this modern thought that it does not represent a self-contained outline; rather it is a program that seeks to persuade us, not because it is irrefutable but, on the contrary, because it is open to correction. It represents itself as a theory to be tested. At the same time, it challenges our thoughts and encourages us to think further. …
Keywords:
altruism • freedom • God/world/kerygma • Love Commandment • myth • nature
Gerd Theissen is Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg, Wissenschaftlich Theologisches Seminar, Kisselgasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

This article reviews The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion by Philip Hefner.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00677.x

The New Naturalism and Ethical Consensus by Hazel B. Barnes

Rarely, if ever, have I so intensely admired a book while finding myself in almost total disagreement with its author’s avowed purpose and his own statement of what he has done. That this is possible is because one can read By the Grace of Guile, and give it a fair reading, in two quite different ways. Looking at it in the way that I myself prefer, Loyal Rue has accomplished something that I judge remarkable. Assuming that neither divinity, nor nature, nor philosophical logic has provided a sure foundation for a universally valid ethics, he has accepted the challenge to formulate what I will call a provisional ethics, a general outline for an ethical position which pragmatically, and in terms of its inner coherence, seems best adapted to a sensitive appreciation of our human existential condition and our situation in a world about which scientists have come to possess an impressive degree of understanding—if not yet, and perhaps never, absolute and complete knowledge. In short, without claiming to have said the last word, Rue structures a moral framework which he believes to be appropriate for us here and now and perhaps for a long time to come. I will return to the question of the nature of his conclusions on morality, a term he prefers rather than ethics. The project itself is exemplary. He is one of a very few persons to recognize that, given the lack of any general acceptance of traditional values, we need collectively to create an ethics or value system our society is willing to live by; and he offers, with due modesty, a possible model. …
Keywords:
biocentrism • Albert Camus • deception • existentialism • myth • naturalism • nihilism • Noble Lie • Plato • pragmatism • Jean Paul Sartre
Hazel E. Barnes is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her mailing address is 896 Seventeenth Street, Boulder, CO 80302.

This article reviews By the Grace of Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs by Loyal D. Rue.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00678.x

Denial of Death and the Noble Lie by Neil J. Elgee

Early in By the Grace of Guile, Loyal Rue observes that “deception has commanded as much aversion as death itself” (p. 6). He then proceeds to look at deception with exhaustive attention to everything but death. The perspective of this review is that knowledge of the inevitability of death—and the deep repression of this knowledge—is a universal in human nature so powerful in its effects that it must be the central focus of any study of deception and self-deception. We can perhaps interpret Rue’s omission as a clear demonstration of denial of death at work! Not even nihilists are immune to death-aversive behavior. …
Keywords:
Ernest Becker • death • denial of death • humor • religion
Neil J. Elgee is Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington and President of the Ernest Becker Foundation. His mailing address is 3621 Seventy-second Avenue S. E., Mercer Island, WA 98040.

This article reviews By the Grace of Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs by Loyal D. Rue.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00679.x

Testing the Truth of the Noble Lie by Thomas L. Gilbert

In Loyal Rue’s words, “The ultimate purpose of this book is … to oppose a monstrous truth with a Noble Lie.” The monstrous truth is nihilism, which Rue accepts as true—and also evil—without question. The book aims at justifying the claims that: (1) deception (that is, guile) is an unavoidable and essential aspect of life and culture and, therefore, morally acceptable (chapters 1 through 4); and (2) in the form of a Noble Lie, it can be effective for countering nihilism (chapter 5). …
Keywords:
appearance • deception • evolution • guile • morality • myth • nihilism • Noble Lie • personal wholeness • reality • social coherence • truth
Thomas L. Gilbert, Senior Physicist Emeritus at Argonne National Laboratory, is Codirector of the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East Fifty-fifth Street, Chicago, IL 60615.

This article reviews By the Grace of Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs by Loyal D. Rue.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00680.x

Reviews

The New Genesis: Theology and the Genetic Revolution by Ronald Cole-Turner, reviewed by Denis R. Alexander

Denis R. Alexander; T Cell Laboratory; Department of Immunology; AFRC Babraham Institute; Cambridge, UK CB2 4AT
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00681.x

Cole-Turner Response to Alexander by Ronald Cole-Turner

Ronald Cole-Turner; Professor of Theology; Memphis Theological Seminary; 168 East Parkway South; Memphis, TN 38104
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00681.x

Yoking Science and Religion: The Life and Thoughts of Ralph Wendell Burhoe by David R. Breed, reviewed by James Gilbert

James Gilbert; Professor of History; University of Maryland; College Park, MD 20742
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00681.x

Explaining and Interpreting Religion: Essays on the Issue by Robert A. Segal, reviewed by Keith S. Price

Keith S. Price; Lecturer in Religious Studies; DePaul University; Chicago, IL 60614
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00681.x

Endmatter

Late Night Thoughts on the Cosmic Self—New and Old: A Reflection on The Cosmic Self: A Penetrating Look at Today’s New Age Movements by Ted Peters by Alan Riddiford

Abstract:
Responding to Ted Peters’s The Cosmic Self, the author finds parallels and dissonances between New Age assertions and traditional mysticism, East and West. The comprehensive consciousness and interconnectedness of life are addressed by various mysticisms in their search for spiritual realities. However, many of the most recent movements are distinguished by superficiality.
Keywords:
David Bohm • mysticism • meditation • New Age • Vedanta
Alan Riddiford is an Engineering Physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is also Br. Benedict, Order of St. Benedict, Extern Oblate, and Br. Yogindra, Ramakrishna Order of India. His address: 1590-D Burton Court, Aurora, IL 60505.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00682.x



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