Re: ID: A tent for all theists?

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Jul 17 2002 - 10:31:32 EDT

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    Dick Fischer wrote:

    > George Murphy wrote:
    > .............................................................
    > > It is important not to overstate (or understate) what is
    > >required by the
    > >ASA Statement of Faith. (I would encourage anyone who hasn't seen
    > >it or is hazy
    > >about it to look at it on the ASA web site.) This statement does
    > >not explicitly
    > >set out the doctrines listed above and does not, e.g., exclude
    >from membership
    > >someone who interprets the accounts of Jesus' conception in Matthew
    > >and Luke as
    > >something other than historical and biological fact. I am not
    > >saying that such
    > >an opinion is correct, nor am I trying to start a debate about virginal
    > >conception (though I probably will). But we shouldn't give the
    > >impression that
    > >the requirements for ASA membership are more restrictive than they in fact
    > >are.
    > I was merely stating what Christians pretty uniformly believe.
    > Doesn't mean some of us can't hold alternate views on even the
    > essentials. ASA members are Christians after all, not just theists.
    > What may be required as a formalized statement differs from
    > organization to organization. And formal ASA membership is not
    > required to join the ASA listserv.
    > That said, I think the virgin birth is pretty foundational to our
    > faith. See Matt.1:18-25. My guess is that a counter view would
    > spark a pretty vigorous debate on this list. Without conception by
    > the Holy Spirit it would call into question whether or not Christ was
    > without sin, then how could He have been the "unblemished lamb," then
    > maybe the resurrection was a fabrication, etc. Did you really want
    > to start the first domino, George?

             I already said that that wasn't my intention. I simply wanted to call
    attention to the fact that the ASA statement of faith is not a listing of
    "fundamentals" - i.e., basic doctrines - to which a prospective
    member must give
             Having said that: I believe that Jesus was "became incarnate from the
    virgin Mary" or "was born of the virgin Mary" in the sense that Mary was in
    biological fact a virgin when she conceived him. But I would not exclude from
    church fellowship - & even less from ASA membership - someone who
    believes that the
    point of those phrases in the creeds is the genuine human birth of Jesus & that
    "virgin Mary" serves to designate his mother rather than to insist on her
    biological virginity. I do not find such arguments very persuasive but that's
    another matter.
             Which is to say, I do _not_ think that virginal conception is nearly as
    "fundamental" to Christian faith as the tradition has often insisted.
    Paul & John
    were able to give pretty strong expressions of the faith, with very high
    christologies, without apparently knowing anything about the idea.
    The center of
    Christian faith is the cross-resurrection event, seen as the death &
    of God Incarnate. That's where we start theologically.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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