An Example of Why I'm Not Impressed with The Ivory Tower-Part II

Why is it that I have hostility toward the Ivory Tower1? In fact, I spent enough time there to obtain a Ph.D., you’d think I’d pay homage. While I do appreciate that I had the opportunity, and a few things that I learned, I did not disengage my independent mind during the process (I seem to be incapable of doing so). It really would have been easier to get caught up in the pursuit of the intellectual. All my professors were pushing my toward academia (“You’re too intelligent to go into private practice. You should be in academia.” WTF? I took it as one of the worst insults I’ve had. In retrospect, I realize this was the best compliment the professor could possibly give. But it was from the perspective of one ensconced in the Ivory Tower. So, now with a bit more maturity and perspective, I can appreciate the compliment).

I don’t come from a background of intellectuals. My family was blue-collar, working class, middle-class folks, living out in rural America. A lot of my friends were farmers. We didn’t have any wealthy friends (they didn’t exist here), and there were no intellectual elite. The closest university is 65 miles away. So, I think it is a bit more clear to me when someone is detached from the basic reality of humanity and life, than it is for others with a different background.

So, this is a lot of lead up, and a lot of (possibly unnecessary), information about me. What’s this post all about? I’ll get to the point.

In Part I2, of this series I wrote about an example of why I’m not impressed with the Ivory Tower. I cited specifically, the work of Dr. James McGrath, a professor of theology at Butler University in Indiana. Dr. McGrath was kind enough to express his willingness to engage the discussion further, but only did so obliquely on his blog.

He wrote in a comment here:

Thank you for engaging my posts. I must confess, however, that I’m not sure what exactly you find lacking in my theological credibility. If you could be more specific, it would better enable me to respond and continue the conversation!

I responded, my coauthor, DB responded, and others responded. James, did not respond. Or did he?

My coauthor DB wrote in a comment:

This is a similar argument to that which Judas used to scold Mary M. for wasting money, “that could have been used to feed the poor,” on perfume to wash Jesus’ feet. It’s legalistic, and, as with Judas, manipulative in its intent, since he wanted that money for himself! “…by opposing science…” I don’t oppose true science, nor do most rational believers! What I do oppose, as others, is billions of dollars spent on science experiments like the LHC, which serves only the egos and desires of naturalist/materialist and atheistic scientists whose only goal is to disprove God. How could those billions have been used for humanity? How many people could have been fed, housed and clothed with 8 billion dollars? Also, unlike material science, the Creation Museum is funded by believers, not the government, which uses tax payer’s hard earned cash! I’m sorry, but your arguments seem to be manipulative and political in nature, which tells me something about what you do believe.

Dr. McGrath subsequently followed up on his blog with two posts.

Judas and the Field of Blood
30 Pieces of Silver

So, while I find obliqueness to be interesting, I find it to be a bit of a cop-out to direct communication. If you believe in your ideas enough to present them to the public, then why not defend them in a direct way instead of challenging the story of Judas. Perhaps the comments of DB hit home a bit?


An Example of Why I'm not Impressed with The Ivory Tower

James F. McGrath, professor of religion at Butler University in Indiana is an ideal example of why I’m rarely impressed by the thought processes of those entrenched in the ivory towers of this country (note I don’t lump all professors into this category, but Dr. McGrath is clearly one who fits the bill).  Dr. McGrath often uses fundamentalist-like arguments to buttress his positions without a shred of theological credibility.  While it probably makes him popular among atheists, progressive Christians, colleagues in the ivory towers, and naturalistic evolutionists, he does not appear to care one whit for theological consistency and appears to be pandering to folks that he wants to stroke his ego.

Dr. McGrath’s views on Creationism:

Dr. McGrath’s views on Intelligent Design: