This issue brings to a close the thirtieth year of Zygon. In addition to publishing 25 percent more material than in an average year, this volumes contribution took a definite shape, providing in-depth discussion of four thinkers who are significant for the enterprise to which this journal is committed, the effort to throw light on fundamental human questions through the interrelating of science, religious tradition, and theology—thereby fashioning new paradigms of thought and action. The March issue offered a comprehensive reassessment of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a giant figure of the first half of the twentieth century who inspired and otherwise stimulated a generation of persons to engage in the dialogue between religious faith and science. In June, the profile of James Gustafson deepened our insights into how religion and science interact in the context of a theological ethics that takes seriously the breadth both of human experience and of scientific knowledge of the world. In both June and September, commentators reacted to the stunning (if controversial) effort of mathematical physicist and cosmologist Frank Tipler to explain the physics of immortality.
The development of Ralph Wendell Burhoes philosophy of religion and science occurred in the shadow of the continuing dialogue about the place of science in American society. Like his friend and mentor, Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley, Burhoe was distressed and intrigued by the troubled postwar relations between science and religion. Unlike Shapley, however, Burhoe sought to create a new modernism, a blend of religion and science that would allow each to develop and complement the other.
Ralph Burhoe • cosmology • evolutionary theory • IRAS • science and religion • Harlow Shapley
James Gilbert is a cultural historian at the University of Maryland. His address is 2115 Francis Scott Key Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe in Historical Perspective by John C. Godbey
Ralph Burhoe has sought to preserve traditional religious wisdom, but he emphasizes science as a new revelation. His relation to philosophical positivism and his insistence on including in a scientific theology only views that reflect the scientific worldview constitute major philosophical and theological problems. This essay considers the influence of several historical precursors—Francis Ellingwood Abbot, George Burman Foster, and Shailer Mathews of the Chicago School of theology, Douglas Clyde Macintosh, and, especially, Henry Nelson Wieman—which has contributed to a favorable reception of Burhoes ideas. Social problems such as the youth revolution of the 1960s and indifference to the lack of intellectual credibility of religious beliefs have, however, hindered reception of his ideas. The conclusion notes some tasks that must yet be accomplished in order to continue Burhoes work, particularly that of increasing the general level of education in the sciences.
Chicago School of theology • natural selection • positivism • process theology • science as a new revelation • scientific worldview • traditional religious wisdom
John C. Godbey is Professor of Church History at Meadville/Lombard Theological School, 5701 Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago IL 60637.
The Theological Anthropology of Ralph Wendell Burhoe by Joel E. Haugen
A central aim of Ralph Wendell Burhoes scientific theology is to define and interpret the meaning of human existence in relation to ultimate reality. As such, it can be understood as an exercise in theological anthropology. For Burhoe, this ultimate reality is nature, understood as the total reality system which is studied by the sciences and which the sciences are showing to be the sole determiner of the way things are. This article discusses various aspects of Burhoes theological anthropology, as well as its value and credibility, and raises questions concerning his understanding of the value of the individual and the problems of evil and human sinfulness.
coadaptation • culture • evil • evolution • freedom • genes • god • Lord of History • meaning • nature • perennial incompleteness • purpose • religion • salvation • scientific theology • sin • soul • suffering • theological anthropology
Joel E. Haugen is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a doctoral candidate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. His address is 1100 East Fifty-fifth Street, Chicago IL 60615.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe and Beyond: Proposals for an Agenda by Hubert Meisinger
This paper deals with Ralph Wendell Burhoes scientific theology and his theory of altruism. Its task is a critical examination of some of the main aspects of Burhoes approach within the dialogue between science and theology; its goal is to enhance his vision. In the first part I argue that Burhoes concept of God can be related to the Christian concept of a God of love through his theory of altruism. The second part deals with Burhoes way of yoking religion and science. I apply insights of evolutionary epistemology as well as Philip Hefners fruitful suggestion that Burhoes enterprise is unavoidably metaphysical. In the last part, I investigate Burhoes philosophy of science and the dominant role of Western culture, including the Judeo-Christian tradition, in Burhoes thought. Incorporation of a more critical attitude toward science within Burhoes positivistic approach is suggested.
altruism • Ralph Wendell Burhoe • equivalence • evolutionary epistemology • God concept • love • scientific theology
Hubert Meisinger received his doctorate in theology at the University of Heidelberg. This article is based upon a paper he prepared for his first examination in theology in Germany. His address is Hassenrother Str.26, D-64739 Höchst-Hummetroth, Germany.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe and the Two Cultures by Eduardo R. Cruz
Ralph Burhoe developed his proposals for a social reformation at a time when the two cultures debate was still active. It is suggested here that Burhoe, sharing with his contemporaries an understanding of culture that was Western and normative in character, overlooked the distinction between the culture of the elites and popular culture, and consequently between religion as presented by theologians and church officials and popular religion. Therefore, his proposals for the revitalization of traditional religions, even if implemented, would not work. Some contradictions within his own program are pointed out, and the social role of the sciences after World War II, as well as the ambiguities of their presence in the so-called underdeveloped nations, is analyzed. As a positive conclusion, it is suggested that Burhoes main contribution should be sought, not in his outline for a social reformation, but in his role as an organizer of the dialogue between religion and science.
ambivalence • culture • domination • religion • resistance • science • syncretism • utopia
Eduardo Rodrigues da Cruz is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (PUC/SP), São Paulo, SP 05014, Brazil. Part of the research for this paper was done while the author was a visiting scholar at the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, with a grant from the Brazilian Secretary for Science and Technology—CNPq.
Cosmology and Theology: The Reemergence of Patriarchy by James F. Moore
Recent developments in cosmology have enticed several thinkers to follow leads from cosmology into new possibilities in theology and philosophy. Thus, we have seen an increasing number of books and essays offering proposals for creative relations between theology and cosmology. New constructions for theology are appearing that lead us toward a new rationality in theological thinking. This rationality seems especially familiar for anyone working in feminist thought, not so much as a repristination of Enlightenment philosophy and its strongly patriarchal overtones, but rather as a new form of postmodern patriarchy that grows out of revolutions in cosmology, mathematics, and quantum physics. This sense should be tested especially by comparing these new "theologies" with other feminist visions or alternative perspectives. This comparison will not only uncover signs of a reemergence of patriarchy within the new cosmologies, but will also suggest ways in which new cosmological views can both provide a source for new creative thinking in theology and be sensitive to the best of feminist thought.
cosmology • Mary Gerhart • Sallie McFague • patriarchy • Rosemary Ruether • Anne Schaef • Steven Weinberg
James Moore is Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383.
Hawking on God and Physical Theory by Robert J. Deltete
When queried about his objectives, the celebrated theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has replied, My goal is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. In this essay, I comment on what Hawking has to say about the role of God in the understanding he seeks. I draw from his popular writings and pronouncements, since both are peppered with references to God and with statements about what God can and cannot do. In particular, I focus on his most recent collection of essays intended for a general audience. I argue that the theological implications Hawking has drawn from his cosmological models are shallow and that the narrow naturalistic path he has taken is inadequate to the large task he has set for himself.
God • S. W. Hawking • quantum cosmology
Robert J. Deltete is Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University, Seattle, WA 98122.
Christian Belief in a Postmodern World: The Full Wealth of Conviction by Diogenes Allen, reviewed by James E. Taylor