A Matter of Faith

For those interested in creationism and the culture wars, I bring to your attention the forthcoming A Matter of Faith (trailer here).  [And could someone explain to me how to post the trailer directly in my post?]

Several things fascinate me about this development, among which are:

(a) comments on the YouTube video are disabled, so there can be no debate about a movie which centers on a debate;

(b) this movie is produced and endorses by Answers In Genesis, which explicitly refused to endorse “God’s Not Dead” in their review of it (which comes through, in their terms, in the conflict between “evidential” and “presuppositional” apologetics);

(c) the same aesthetics as “God’s Not Dead” (on which, see here for a brilliant and nuanced assessment of how these kinds of films work);

(d) the culmination of the “teach the controversy” strategy.  I found out earlier today that the pedagogy of “teach the controversy” was developed for dealing with conflicting interpretations of literary texts (source here).  It fell to Paul Johnson to appropriate a pedagogical strategy perfectly suited for the humanities — “teach the controversy” — into the sciences. This leads to what strikes me as the right-wing version of Rorty’s collapse of the humanities/sciences distinction. This is the epistemic apocalypse — there is no knowledge, it’s all just “faith”. Which is kind of a bad thing for a culture with a knowledge-driven economy . . .

 

8 thoughts on “A Matter of Faith

  1. Several things fascinate me about this development.

    Indeed.

    For me, it looks like another “world views” bit of tripe. As if evolutionary biology could come from anything except the evidence, while ID/creationism can only complain about carefully considering the facts.

    Glen Davidson

  2. From the AiG review of God’s Not Dead:

    In the first debate, Wheaton boldly declares to his classmates, “We’re going to put God on trial!”

    Think about that for a moment. A college freshman is going to place a group of teenagers who are willing to sign away their souls to please a philosophy professor they don’t even know as judge and jury over the omnipotent Creator God of the universe.

    While Wheaton sought counsel from a pastor on his decision, he might have done well to consult his Lord who plainly said when He was tempted in the wilderness, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12, ESV). Only a fool thinks he can sit as judge over the Judge of the universe…

    Wheaton could have agreed to the debate and used the Word of God as his foundation, as Jesus did in the wilderness temptation, but he chose to appeal to reason—the reason of fallen men and women whose minds are blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:1–6).

    In other words, “Stop thinking, kids. It’s evil. We’ll tell you what to believe.”

    Also, crayshunism makes people rite gud. Note the exquisite sentence structure:

    A college freshman is going to place a group of teenagers who are willing to sign away their souls to please a philosophy professor they don’t even know as judge and jury over the omnipotent Creator God of the universe.

  3. Prior to 10th grade, my science classes were more like history of science, with emphasis on how major ideas were developed. Controversies were placed in their historical context.

    I have long thought that this is the most effective way to teach the value of empiricism.

  4. The more I think about it, the more I think that this whole “teach the controversy” strategy indicates the deep hatred of science that underlies the creationist/ID movement.

    The basic idea of “teaching the controversy” makes good sense when there are no facts of the matter to resolve the dispute — for example, “is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn racist?” or “is Nietzsche a fascist?” –and in those cases, teaching the various interpretations is the intellectually responsible thing to do.

    But it is not intellectually honest or responsible to transport that same strategy back onto the sciences — not without effacing the very distinction between the sciences and the humanities altogether. And when we undertake that move, then we have entered onto the stage where it’s all “belief,” “opinions,” “ideologies,” “worldviews”, “it’s only a theory” — the epistemic apocalypse is when we no longer feel that reality itself gets any vote in what we say about it.

    Fundamentalist Christianity began with a struggle against progressivism and modernism; but now the design movement shows it to be nothing more than another version of the postmodern epistemic nihilism that it decries.

    (This is not to say that scientists have done much better at keeping aflame the torch of reason and the Enlightenment; they have not, especially as they have become willing servants of the two greatest enemies of the Enlightenment: capitalism and government.)

  5. Kantian Naturalist: but now the design movement shows it to be nothing more than another version of the postmodern epistemic nihilism that it decries.

    Yes, precisely.

    And another irony: It is hard to read the Gospels without seeing Jesus as liberal reformer, opposing the conservative establishment. Yet much of Christianity today has become that conservative establishment that Jesus opposed.

  6. I see someone has neatly labeled them Chick flicks which seems rather apt as they sound exactly like Hollywood versions of the Jackwagon’s caricatures.

  7. Neil Rickert: And another irony: It is hard to read the Gospels without seeing Jesus as liberal reformer, opposing the conservative establishment. Yet much of Christianity today has become that conservative establishment that Jesus opposed.

    Every generation gets the Jesus it wants, I guess. Personally, I find it hard to read the Jesus of the Gospels as a “liberal reformer” — he strikes me as what we might call a libertarian socialist, or more precisely, an anarchist. The establishment isn’t ‘conservative’ but, importantly, imperialistic. I tend to think that there’s a subtle and pervasive critique of civilization throughout the Hebrew Bible that the Gospels pick up on. The ways in which the critique of civilization gets co-opted into its defense is, pretty much, the history of Christianity.

    That aside, I pretty much agree, Neil, which is why I’ve adopted Andrew Sullivan’s term “Christianism” for right-wing Christianity. Briefly put, a Christianist is someone who thinks that the de-institutionalization of heterosexual privilege is a graver threat to morality and decency than the institutionalization of torture.

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