Deposition of Langdon Gilkey - Page 2
Q Can you give me some examples?
A The judgment of God on the white race is
very real. It is going to be increasingly real.
Q In what respect?
A They will pay for their oppression of the
blacks and of others. This is the Old Testament view.
God appears, as Hosea says, not as a friendly person,
but as a bear or a lion. And in the long run,
radical injustice leads to conflicts and leads to
destruction. My first experience of this was living
in China and seeing the dissolution of the British
Empire and seeing the Japanese reaction to the Empire.
So it wasn't just Hitler. That reaction was frightening.
I was a prisoner, but it was also there because of
the oppressive and arrogant power of the white West,
which the Japanese just couldn't stand. And they
exploded. The Chinese did a little later. Khomeni
is exploding now, not against Christianity, but against
Now, the instruments of God in the Old
Testament language are not thereby virtuous. And I
take the Old Testament as giving me the best clue
as to what is going on. And I would argue with
someone who would say, no, there are only natural
explanations. Now, you see what I mean by seeking to
recapture the Bible in the modern situation.
Q Using that as a guide to more or less
your own life?
A Not only to my own life, but as a guide
to understanding my world. I would say the same
about nature. You use nature as if it were merely
an objective realm that we can do anything we want
with. It is a child of God. It is made in the image
of God; not as we are, but we can't do that.
Q It rather seems anti-climatic to go back
to your professional associations you are involved
with. But I would like to ask you about those. Those
were not listed with your curriculum vitae. Are you
a member of any professional organizations?
A Yes. I am a member, but not a regular
attendant of the American Theological Society. I
have been a member of the American Academy of Religion,
which is the professional society, like the American
Historical Society. AAA is the professional society
of teachers of religion; and seminars and colleges
and universities and so on. I have been a member of
that. I was vice-president of it. Then I was
President of it. That is the professional association.
Now, I am an elder statesman. That is
the one I have been involved in quite deeply.
Q Do you know if either of those associations
has a position on whether or not Creation Science
should be taught in public schools?
A The American Academy of Religion would
rather die than take a position on such issues, I
suspect. That is to say, we have Hindus, we have Arabs,
A-rabs, as we like to say --
MR. SIANO: Facetiously, of course?
A (Continuing) Right. We have Jews; we
have Christians; we have non-Christians; we have
everything there. We have fundamentalists. If they
wish to join, they do.
Now, an issue of academic freedom would be
a professional issue. I don't wish to relate these
two. I am not an expert on that. I am not speaking
as an expert. I can well imagine issues of academic
freedom being of interest to the American Academy of
Religion. Any substantiative issue they would steer
clear of for obvious reasons. This is an academy of
teachers; therefore, of all kinds of varieties, and it
is possible only if it takes no particular tradition,
no particular position. I don't think they would agree
to take a position.
Insofar as it might be a constitutional
issue or an issue of academic freedom, they might well,
but not on the substantiative issue.
Q Do you know if they have taken an issue,
either of those organizations?
A No. No, I don't. I meay be wrong about
that. I don't know of it. I am speculating about it.
Q Are you familiar with the organization
called the Society for the Study of Evolution?
Q Are you a member of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science?
A No, I am not a member. I have been in
touch with them. I have been invited on, I believe,
two occasions, to attend their meetings, because
I have been interested in religion and science. I
went to the Copernicus Festival, whenever that was,
in '76 or something. I am invited to view a speaker
at their meeting next January, in which they are
dealing with the issue that is the substance of our
issue. And I am asked to address a paper, which I
have not written yet, on the subject of inquiry and
beliefs in America. So I have a folder in there of
letters in which this arrangement has been made and
what I am to talk about, who else is on the program,
and so forth and so on.
Q You mentioned academic freedom. I know
you are not an expert on academic freedom and you are
not going to be talking about that at the trial, but
do you personally view Creation Science as an issue
of academic freedom?
MR. SIANO: Again, Mr. Campbell,
I would ask that you select a definition
of the term "Creation Science."
MR. CAMPBELL: I am always referring
to the definition, the only definition I
know of, which is in Section 4A of the
Act 590 of 1981.
MR. SIANO: I am more than happy,
on behalf of the Plaintiff, to accept
A (Continuing) My own view is that it is
quite appropriate to teach that in a course on
comparative world view. In fact, I wish there were
such a course. I think its proper place is in the
course that would include philosophical views, among
them, naturalistic and atheism. I think that is where
it is. I don't think it is science. I don't think
it belongs in the scientific classroom. That isn't
an issue of academic freedom. That is another issue.
This is perhaps a constitutional issue of what is
science and what is not.
Now, for my own view, what is science is
determined by the scientific community. As far as
I am concerned, they are the only ones to tell us this.
Just as I would assume the lawyers would want to say
what is the law, what is included there, it's something
we, not anybody else, can say. I would say the same
about the doctors. When one gets to doctors, this gets
interesting, because my wife would disagree that they
knew anything about health. I am not saying these
are the socially, legally, practically ways we can
define these things, and the only way. It doesn't
mean necessarily they are right. I want to be clear
on that. But I don't know any other way to define
what is the subject of law besides the concensus of
the legal community, including its philosophers and
so forth, historians and so forth. I wouldn't want
us to say what the law is. In this way, I think it
is dangerous academically for anybody to tell the
scientific community what they should be teaching.
I think it is dangerous in many ways that
we would spell out, just as I think that the legislature
shouldn't tell the political scientists what to be
teaching, or the sociologists or the psychologists. I
can well imagine the legislature saying you shouldn't
teach Freud. That is very easy to consider. So I
think there is an academic freedom issue here. And I
would be very edge about any act on the part of a
legislature that declared to a profession what its
subject matter was and what its limits were. This,
it seems to me, is precisely what happened in Russia,
to the great detriment of Russian science. This is
precisely what happened in Germany. German science
is tough, and it can survive anything. But that was
too tough. So that is where the issue of academic
freedom will arise, as far as I am concerned.
Q If a scientist -- this is a hypothetical
question -- felt that there was some evidence to support
Creation Science as it is spelled out in Act 590,
do you think that he should be free to discuss that
in the classroom?
A Of course. Of course. I don't have any
question about that. And the only adjudicating
supporters are his or her peers. Now, they are not
in the classroom, but the principle. I would say the
same about a teacher of law.
I believe that, and I think that is part of
science, that one should be quite open to new
interpretations. Now, we can discuss whether this is
possibly scientific, and I am willing to state my
opinion on that, though not as a philosopher of science.
MR. SIANO: And not as a scientist.
A (Continuing) Not as a scientist, correct.
But let's leave that one out. I agree with that
Q (By Mr. Campbell) Would you also agree
that the legislature should not prohibit some area
from being discussed in the classroom? Just as we
talked about it mandating the teaching of something
to a professional, would it likewise follow that it
should not prohibit --
A I am not quite sure what that means.
MR. SIANO: Also, I object. I am
going to object to the question as calling
for a legal conclusion and being speculative.
I am not going to let you get very far into
Q (By Mr. Campbell) What I am thinking of
is in terms of teaching, you indicated, I think, you
found it offensive or whatever that the legislature
would mandate to a professional that he should present
something in the classroom?
Q Likewise, would you find it offensive if
the legislature prohibited a professional from bringing
something in the classroom?
MR. SIANO: Again I am going to object
to the question. You are asking a different
question, which is intrinsically a legal
MR. CAMPBELL: I am asking him as a
person, not as a lawyer.
MR. SIANO: As a person, his opinion
is not relevant. It is not in his area of
expertise and not relevant to the case. It
is very far afield. There are limits. There
is in fact a limit to what you are allowed
to inquire, when you tread upon an area
in which I am compelled to direct him not
to answer, when you go so far afield.
MR. CAMPBELL: Are you instructing him
not to answer that question?
MR. SIANO: No. I am suggesting to
you, I think you ought to get into some area
that is at least collaborately relevant.
MR. CAMPBELL: May he be permitted to
answer that question?
MR. SIANO: Yes. I told you that.
A (Continuing) I can't conceive of what
you are thinking about. I couldn't have an opinion
as to what you are thinking about. If you can,
formulate that into an example of prohibiting something.
I have already indicated that I think a scientist
who generally feels that something is scientific --
now he may be wrong -- obviously -- but I approve
of his being able to teach what he or she feels to be
scientific. I think they would be obligated to teach
what the concensus of the scientific community is, and
then say, well, my own view is this. I would be quite
content with that. If the legislature said this is out
of bounds, I can't conceive of such a law. I don't know
what such a law would look like. Anyway, I am a baby
Q (By Mr. Campbell) This is not a major
point at all. The thing is, I was wondering, just
like the legislature having mandate here in the
teaching of creation science, what if they made a
law prohibiting the teaching of Creation Science in
A The principle would be, they would then
say it is a science. And I would disapprove of that.
A more possible example is, say, if you have a college
faculty in political theory and they want someone to
teach Marxism, and the legislature says you can't,
I would say that is wrong in principle. We should know
what Marxism is. This is something that should be
before us. I would go against any prohibition of that
sort. Let me say that in relation to this, that the
verb "to teach," is a very ambiguous word. I interpret
that as I said, to show the class how to think about
this idea. To many people, to teach means to instruct
this is true. And I think the issue of academic
freedom, the issue of the freedom to explore various
ideas, is based upon the first meaning of the words
"to teach," and not the second. So that the way the
sentence is, to you approve of so-and-so being taught,
actually the sentence has got to be unpacked.
My own view is that it is the scientific
attitude that there are few things that, in the
classroom, should be taught in the second meaning of
the word, and that everything should be taught in
the first meaning of the word. That is the way I
would interpret academic freedom.
Now, in the issue of religion, this is
particularly warm. I think they should all be taught.
I think none of them should be taught in the second,
in a classroom. You can hardly grade people in piety
on a final exam.
Q We have talked about this earlier, but can
you tell me how you personally viewed the creation of
the universe and man and life?
MR. SIANO: Wait a minute. Now, you
are not asking for his professional opinion.
You are asking for his personal view?
MR. CAMPBELL: Right.
MR. SIANO: I am going to object on
the grounds of relevance. But I will let
him answer the question.
A (Continuing) Let me first of all say my
first book was on that subject. It is before the
court. I think I have expressed this, that I believe
everything came into being through the work of God.
This is the way I interpret the first chapter of
Genesis, the first verse of Genesis. As a theologian,
I don't know how that process took place. Just as a
theologian, I don't know what the neurological structure
of my body is. We found out a lot of things. I am
interested in various people who know much more about
these things telling me how that took place. In other
words, my own interpretation of theology is that it
has to do with God and God's activities, with primary
causality and not with the detailed structure of
secondary causality. Now, the theological question
is, what does it mean to say God is our creator? Does
it mean about the world? Certainly. Certainly that
it is good, as the Bible says; that it has a meaning;
that its history is headed somewhere. I am not exactly
sure there, but that is a firm belief, that we are
sent here for a purpose. We are more than animals.
Though, I don't think it is bad to be an animal.
I object to some of the literature where animals
are regarded as somehow dirty. In many respects,
they are cleaner than we are. I wish we were as
virtuous as the animals. That is part of our faith.
I don't like the cover of that thing (indicating).
It has the ape looking down. An ape can well look
down on us. They haven't extinguished the earth;
we may have. It indicates to me that we have a
certain responsibility to be related to god, to be
related to our neighbor in a certain way. This
is the first and second Commandment. This is what
we are here for, and so on and so forth.
So the concept of God's creation of the
world and us, let me put it that way, has almost an
infinite meaning. In fact, it says you spell it out,
what you are doing is spelling out the whole Christian
faith. Now, actually, if you start anywhere, you
spell out the whole thing. Systematic theology is,
you start and say God is the creator and so on and
so forth. I suppose it is like the law. Things
relate to one another. If I went on with what it means
to me, I would run through everything. I think I have
Q Have you ever testified before in a
court of law?
A I've done this once.
MR. SIANO: What is "this"?
THE WITNESS: This deposition. Not
in a court of law, that is to say.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) What was the circum-
stance of that --
A Well, I'm a member of the Committee for
the Study of the New Religions, which appropriately
it meets inadvertently, because I'm an expert, I
suppose, and I'm also interested in the subject.
And apparently, as a member of that committee, my name
gets given to groups who wish one form of testimony
or another. There may be other types of testimony,
but I don't know what they are. But mine was, in this
case, to testify that a group was, in fact, a religion.
And I agreed to do this after looking at the group.
It was called the Gurdyaev, G-u-r-d-y-a-e-v. I had
never heard of it before. It shows I didn't --
wasn't as much of an expert as I thought.
It's a small group founded by a Russian
at the end of the Nineteenth Century, which is kind of
a mixture of Russian Orthodoxy and Sufism and Hindu --
well, we don't need to go into that. And they wanted
me to testify they were a religion.
I read their stuff. I went down and met
with them a couple of times.
The point was, they had bought property,
and they wanted -- it wasn't for a store; it was for
their meetings. They wanted to be set under the tax
laws of governing religions, churches. And there was
no question they were a religious group. I had to
define religion in the process, and I think I convinced
them this was a religion.
The fellow lawyer said, but they don't
meet on either Saturday or Sunday. Now, he was Jewish,
and I thought that was a marvelous expression from an
American legal view of religion. Thursday is out.
And so we had a long talk about what
religion was and how not everybody met on either
Saturday or Sunday, and so on. So that was --
that was what it was.
Q I was going to ask you later on, but we
are already here. But how would you define religion?
A Well, I'm an expert, but no definition is
universally agreed to. My own definition is that
anything to be called a religion must include, first,
a view of the ultimate reality, what is really real,
and our discussion will indicate why I say -- have that
ethic, a law, a set of rules. But unless, in moving
into it, you change the way you're existing or at
least say you're going to, you don't have this.
Now, whether the people in a given religion
really do what they're saying is an interesting
question; but still, they would say, we believe in
this, that, and the other; this is what we follow.
Okay. And in that way of life, there is
included some way of coming into touch with that
reality. It's not just an ethical society; right?
Now, some will call that worship; some
will call it meditation; some will do it through what
we would call cultic practices; right? I mean, there's
a tremendous variety. But along with the way of life
is -- as a part of it, there is, you may say, regular
-- almost regularized within a particular tradition,
a way of associating one's self with this reality.
It's very hard to be more specific, because
the minute you are, you leave somebody out; right?
Okay. Thirdly, there is a community --
church, you would say, people. As in Judaism, there
is a community with a -- some form of definite
structure, some mode of authority, some designation
of tasks -- well, so on and so forth -- that meets at
specified times and places in certain ways, and so
forth and so on. Without that, I don't think you
can have a religion.
Now, we can go on explicating each of
these three and believe me, I would say there's nothing
people disagree with as much as definitions of religion;
but I think that's a pretty good one.
MR. SIANO: Can we take a short
MR. CAMPBELL: Sure.
MR. SIANO: Thank you.
(Whereupon, a brief recess was
MR. CAMPBELL: Professor Gilkey,
if you want to stop again, that's no
problem. We've been going for quite a
while. I'm sorry I didn't notice.
THE WITNESS: That's all right.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) You've been listed
by the Plaintiffs as a witness in the case, and
obviously, the main part of my inquiry today is going
to be directed toward determining what it is that
you're going to testify to and the source of those
opinions, the reasons for those opinions. So can you
tell me, if you have thought it out, generally what
the subject matter of your testimony will be at
A Well, if I were to choose how it would
develop, it would develop this way; that we would
begin just as you did, with a definition of religion,
and then I would narrow that to the relevant point
of what is religion in our historical tradition,
which is almost exclusively, though not quite, formed
by the Jewish and the Christian, to some moderate
extent, the Islamic traditions, but one could say
it's -- as the Islamic people say -- the people of
the Book. This wasn't always true in the West,
obviously, but it is now. It's been that way since
Now, in such a religions context, that
first point of the definition of ultimate reality, of
course, takes a particular form -- God. That is to
say, God is the center of all religion. Religion has
to do with God; God is what religion is about. That's
the functional meaning of monotheism. There's nothing
else religious but God.
However, we stray from that. That's the
point. So that in our tradition, religion and God
are, in our common sense, in our assumptions, in
everything, directly associated.
This was the problem legally with that
little group -- how could they be religious without
God, you see? Well, that makes sense in Chicago.
It wouldn't make any sense in Tokyo, but we're here.
So then I would go on and talk about the
meaning of monotheism, which means that when you
speak of God, you're speaking religiously. When you
speak of the world, you're not -- you could be
speaking religiously if you speak of the world in
relation to God; but whenever you're speaking of God,
you're speaking religiously. Whatever you're talking
about with God, whether one's talking about Creator,
Revealer, Redeemer, Judge, Savior -- you see what we
mean by "monotheism"? Every one of those subjects
relates to God.
Thus, one could say religion has to do
with God, and whatever has to do with God is part of
religion. This includes not only ways of behaving,
worship -- we aren't worshipping anything else; we're
worshipping God there in a Christian or Jewish context
It also includes language, prophesies,
theologies, if you will -- theology, perhaps, is a
little more confined; but language compositions.
God did so-and-so; God spoke to me; God is going to do
so-and-so for you -- these are all religious proposi-
Now, I would go on to say that among the
religious propositions that are most religious in
that sense is the statement, God created the world.
Now, I mean, "most religious" not in the sense that
emotively, that is religious, but in the sense of
the Jewish definition of Creation. God's the only
actor; right? That's what ex nelio means.
God is presumably the main actor; but
after all, in the orthodox view, Mary is also there,
and so forth and so on; right? So even with salvation,
we're also there.
At this point, nothing's there. So one
could say ex nelio is of all statements, the most;
those others are religious.
The fact it has to do with nature doesn't
mean it's not religious. It's a religious view of
nature. Always has been taken to be that.
In the sense appropriately, it is the
first chapter of Genesis, though, as I said, my own
view is that this is not the first thing known.
That is to say, the calling of Israel begins the
story, as far as I'm concerned, all right? And then
they know that the God who called them is the Creator.
But logically, it comes out this way, obviously, and
it's not only the first chapter of Genesis, but it's
the first article of the Christian creed, the so-called
I'll say "so-called" not in terms of doubt;
but as far as we know historically, this appears about
150. But it's about as early as you can get, the
first document and, after all, the first chapter,
John, and so forth.
But I wanted to say to creed, because this
is quite right. I believe the God Almighty in Heaven
and Maker of this Earth when they want to say, who
are we, what do we believe, what is our world like,
how do we view everything. This is the first thing
they say, and rightly. So this is a religious
It's also a peculiarly Christian statement.
Now, it's also Jewish, though the Jews are not so
much interested in doctrine, and they get kind of
bored when we start talking about ex nelio and so
forth. But I haven't found any of them who really
want to disagree with this one; that is, this Creation
out of nothing.
It's peculiarly that. It's not Hindu.
They have a different view of Creation. In fact, they
wouldn't even want to use the word. It's not Greek
in the sense of Greek religions or Greek philosophical.
It's not Babylonian, and so on and so forth. You name
it, it's not.
There are all kinds of religious creation.
This is peculiarly Christian, and when I talk to
Buddhists, they object to this one just the way
Birch and Russell would object to this one. Different
grounds, but they don't believe it. So it's a religi-
ous doctrine, and it's a peculiar religious doctrine.
Thirdly, it's a particular interpretation
of that religious doctrine. That is, the Creation's
interpretations, it's not mine; apparently, it's not
the Jewish interpretation; and I'll suspect that's
what the other churches who are involved say, that
is, who are among the Plaintiffs. So I will testify
this is a particular interpretation of a very particular
religious point of view.
Then I was going to talk as a theologist,
not as an expert,about the difference between religion
and science, at least with regard to what their
propositions involve; right -- or their theories
involve. What is a religious theory? What is a
Now, I'm not an expert on science, as I'm
not paid to be a philosopher of science; so the
weight of my testimony is a little bit unbalanced
there. But I do know something about it and can make
the distinction, and I will try to do that.
Q Is there anything else that you might
A No. Just to make that quite concrete,
I would say, as a conclusion to these views, that the
establishment of a religious point of view, which I
take it to be, because it has to do with God. God
is the main actor here. If you take God out, there
isn't even theory; there's no model. It's the
establishment of a religious point of view in the
act as it appeared -- this, again, being the first
Now, that's obvious in what I've been
saying, but I just wanted to make that clear.
MR. SIANO: Off the record.
(An off-the-record discussion ensued.)
A (Continuing) Yes. Involved in this
testimony is the question, what is apologetics, which,
as you probably know, has been an effect of -- I
don't think the word is used in any other tradition.
Of the Christian tradition or Christian theological
tradition has been an enterprise called apologetics.
Now, that enterprise has been distinguished rightly
or wrongly. Someone might say, the systematic
theological enterprise, which would be expounding the
Apologetics is distinguished from that in
terms of an argument for the validity of the Christian
faith. And there are many apologetic documents; but
probably the most famous is St. Thomas' summa contra
gentiles; that is to say, the summa, the compendium
of geology against the gentiles, an argument to those
outside for a religious position.
In this sense, apologetic doesn't assume
the faith at the beginning, assume the authority or
either Scripture or church, of dogma; but finds some
common ground, the world we live in, morality,
community, or what we know about nature, let's say --
I don't want to say "science," because that doesn't
apply, say, to the Thirteenth Century or to the
Fourteenth Century, whatever. And there are many
documents from the earlier church arguing against
Roman philosophers. There were a group of early
Christian thinkers called the apologies -- exactly
this, arguing with the Roman world.
You mind a common ground, and you argue.
You argue for a particular religious tradition; that's
what apologetics is. St. Thomas is the most famous
example, but there are many others. William Pehli,
the famous formulator of the Divine argument at the
end of the Eighteenth Century, who, incidentally,
by heart, as a theological student, memorized the
arguments from God of the design of the world. Another
one that comes to mind is F. R. Tenant, an English
philosopher of religion in the Twenties who argued
from the facts of evolution to the necessity of a
I would argue that Creation Science is
an act of apologetics. That is to say, it has a
model derived from the religious tradition which it
seeks to show is true by appealing to the scientific
facts, and so forth and so on. And it's an argument
for a -- as I say, a particular position and a particular
interpretation of a particular religious position.
But there's -- in my mind, there's no question it is
an apologetic effort.
Q In defining religion, what authorities
will you be relying on to make your conclusions as to
what is religion?
MR. SIANO: Do you understand the
A (Continuing) I'm going to rephrase it.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) What sources.
A All right. Because "authority" has got
the wrong nuances. The main sources would be what
study of religions I've been involved in. Now, at
that point, I am on the boundary of expertise; however,
it's my job as an expert to think about religion,
and I know a great deal about various religions.
I've taught them and I've read about them, and so
forth, and there, of course, as I say, a hundred
definitions of religion. But this one is the one
that I have -- and I've checked it with others -- that
seems to me to tell us what this is.
Among all the various other things humans
do, religion is an abstraction. It's not as if it's
there any more than economics is there; it's an
abstraction from the totality of life. It seeks to
be the center of life, but it's an abstraction. And
there's also economics, politics, and so forth and
so on. And it's perfectly true that if you went to
an archaic society -- I'm thinking of a Babylonian
society, Egyptian society -- you would be absolutely --
it would be impossible to distinguish religion from
politics, from economics, and so forth and so on.
In that sense, it's very much of an abstraction.
And what we call religion was the center
of the society. One of the things that's happened
in the development of civilization has been these
things that divide it off. Law is different from --
well, I don't need to explain. That's -- and what
happened -- has happened with the Constitution of
the United States, but happens spiritually with the
development of the enlightenment -- I mean, in terms
of people's mind is that the community is not founded
upon its religion, but founded upon what we like
to call a natural basis.
Now, the legal separation of church and
faith is merely an expursion.
The religion is a part of life, but
not center. So one has to look for one's sources of
a definition of religion to all kinds of situations
where it has different ways of functioning in a
human community. And I think that what I was des-
cribing is able not only to cover the varieties --
well, for something like Buddhism, early Buddhism is
clearly an old religion, because there's no question
that the early Buddhists were religious and had no
deity. And there are those things that seemed to
follow up the community where you have a theology,
in effect, or a Roman society, or indistinguishable
from political, or in our society, which was Christian
for a long time, where you have a different relation-
ship where it's absolutely in the center of the
Christian King, the Holy Roman Empire, and so on and
so forth, and in our society where you've got the
Methodists, let's say, with very strange relations to
Washington. And so those are the sources.
Q The ultimate reality which you talked
about sounds a lot like Paul Tiller with his --
was it ultimate concern? Was that what he taught?
A No. Ultimate concern is a psychological
category. Ultimate concern is my relation to ultimate
reality, but that's a psychological category. No.
The unexamined, the patillic (sic) God is the object
of my ultimate concern. Got is not my ultimate
concern; my ultimate concern could be for cash.
Then one could say, this is my God, but God is not my
ultimate concern in that -- in the sense of logical
identity. Until its category of the unconditional,
the grounds of power and meaning is equivalent to the
No. I was thinking of some word, but
even the word "reality" is dubious there, because
after all, your Buddhist friends would say no, it's
not reality; it's nothingness. But if you joggle them
a little bit, you say, well, I'm using the word
"reality" to cover your nothingness, whatever that
is' and he'll say, okay. But that itself is not a
-- I think you can see the problem.
Whatever language you use to point to that
which religion or its culture takes to be ultimately
real, you try to get some neutral word there that
will cover that.
Now, this will be the subject of its
doctrines. This is the prime -- I don't know of any
religion which doesn't relate itself to what it
thinks to be real. It doesn't believe itself to be
Q I see.
A All right? Other people may say that,
but it doesn't say that. That's why I think that
first definition is quite right.
Q Would this definition be held only by
you, or are there others who hold a similar definition?
A When they're taking a test, students
hold it. When they get on their own, I don't know.
Q Did you pick this up from reading any
scholar theologians? I think you mentioned --
A Well, this is a result of all of my
scholarship insofar as it has to do with all of
this subject. I don't -- I feel a little uneasy about
either saying it's somebody else's or trying to put my
name on it.
Q I see.
A If asked, what do you call religion, I
don't know -- and one can be asked this in many contexts.
This is precisely what I was asked in that other
deposition. Then this is what I would answer.
It has the authority not of my name, but
of the fact that it makes sense with regard to the
data. And anything like this is a proposal. It doesn't
come from God, and I want to make that clear. I don't
think that it does. But I'd be willing to argue for
it with anybody.
Q Which scholar theologians have most
influenced your thinking?
A When I wrote my last large book on the
theology of history, I dedicated it to Ryan O'Neal and
Paul Tiller, saying that they had been my teachers,
they were both my teachers and friends, and that
anybody who read my stuff could see them in it. They
said that they disagreed and regarding an antithesis,
since every sentence of mine reflected both of them,
I didn't agree with that point. I was either bringing
them together or was wildly confused, and I wasn't
ever sure which. So that's the main source.
If one goes back a little further, I would
say St. Augustine, Lutheran Calvin, and Schliermacher.
Q You want to spell Schliermacher for the
Q You stated that it was your opinion that
God is the center of all religion. If I said some-
thing wrong, please let me know. I don't want to
mischaracterize your statement.
MR. SIANO: I would object to the
characterization. Again, I think we have
a great deal of difficulty in the area of
sophistication to have either you or I
try to characterize his testimony. But
my understanding was that the concert to
the deity was what was focused on. You
know, I'm not trying to characterize,
either, and I don't want --
MR. CAMPBELL: I understand.
THE WITNESS: Let me respond to that
question. I won't answer it, but I'll
respond to it. There are various ways of
talking in this field. When you asked me
for a definition, I was giving a descrip-
tive historical, in careful quote,
scientific -- careful quote, scientific
description, which sought not to give a
view of the world, but to say, what's this
stuff we see all around us, what we named
by common usage, religion. Okay?
Now, there's a -- quite a different
question which is a much more interesting
one to me. What do you think there is in
reality that explains why people are
Now, obviously one is they're showing
one's own petticoat. This is where you
begin to develop a world view. And many
people looking at religion, just the way
you and I might, would say, this is all a
projection. This would be Floyd, this would
be Marks, this would be even Darwin. I would
say they don't make sense, but that can't be
a scientific statement. That's a philosophi-
cal or a theological explanation. But let's
leave that aside.
If you ask me as a theologian something,
then you get what you said. This is a
response to God, and I would thoroughly agree
with that; but that would not be my defini-
tion of religion. It would be my theological
statement, which would seek to include --
in explaining all kinds of things, to
include, why is there human religion? Why
is it when you get to the earlier tribes,
you find a sense of the holy, you find a
holy fear, you find a celebration of some
kind of gift -- all these things, because,
I would say, they're living in the presence
of God. But if I said this for the Society
of the Study of Religion, they would just
say, this is typical, and they have their
own view, and et cetera, et cetera.
That's a theological interpretation
of religion, which is quite different than
a definition of religion in a court of law.
But if you, in court, ask me, all right, you,
as a theologian, how do you explain it?
Then we'd get talking this way. But one's
got to make some pretty careful distinctions
as to how the witness is talking here.
I think that's -- anyway, so you were not
wrong in what you said. We just got a --
said it in the right context.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) With regard to mono-
theism and with regard to religion in our historical
tradition -- and I assume by "our," you're referring
to -- let me ask you. What are you referring to when
you said, "our historical tradition"?
A that of the European and American West.
Australia, New Zealand -- you name it. But that
which seems out of the Jewish tradition, the Greek or
Roman tradition, which come together. In both the
Jewish and the Christian tradition, subsequently,
the Jewish thought reflects this as well as Christian
thought, this union. It comes down through the
medieval period, goes through the renaissance and
reformation, the enlightenment, into maternity, so
to speak, what we generally call West with a capital
"W", that's what I mean.
Now, more specifically with regard to our
religious tradition, which is a part of that -- I
don't know what sentence we were talking about. I
would be referring to the Catholic, and then the
Protestant traditions in the West. The eastern
tradition -- I mean, eastern orthodox tradition is
different in many ways, and I'm really not an expert
at all on that.
Q Accepting that definition which you've
just given in terms of the American -- excuse me --
European and American West --
Q -- and then, more specifically, Catholic
and Protestant position of the West, is it your opinion
that the word "Creator" is an inherently religious
A With a capital "C"; yes. Now, obviously,
"Who's the creator of that statute" is not a religious
statement or a question. "Who's the Creator of
the world" is. And that goes beyond monotheism. That
is, that the myths of Creation of other -- by "myth"
I don't mean untrue; but the myths of the religions
used may or may not use the word "Creator"; they
don't mean what we mean by it. But they may use the
word "Creator," and in that sense, it's religious.
There's no way of getting around that one.
Q Would that be true, then, of any word
which sought to describe the ultimate origin of the
MR. SIANO: You've got to define
"the world" for me.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) Well, the universe,
or however -- we've been talking about origins. In
other words, at any time that you've talked about
origins, regardless of whatever word you used --
creator, designer -- would it have an inherent
A That's a tricky and subtle matter. In the
history of philosophy, there have been a number of
ways of talking this way. Usually, they begin with
something there. In that sentence, none of them have
quite the character of ultimate origins we've been
talking about; right? I'm thinking of early Greek
Now, let's say speculative philosophy is
the endeavor to think this out nonreligiously; okay?
Whether the person is religious or not -- Jay Gould
would be a good example. I think one could say
Aristotle. What's interesting is that they're always
reflection the religious tradition of their time in
terms of rational forms. And I think August Comp
was quite right that metaphysics is a rational form
of religious condition. I think Comp couldn't have
been wronger that we couldn't get rid of -- well, he
did think, you know, you had to have a cult, you know,
science. But I think he is right about that. Greek
philosophy is a rational form of the religious
attitude of that culture.
So that there are efforts as a society
becomes more -- let's say advanced in "reflective"
to set the religious tradition into religious
philosophical form. Very clear examples of this are
Indian/Hindu philosophy, which set in reflective
form the mystical fundamentals of the religion of
India, Buddhist philosophy and so on. These have
unquestionably a religious space. They express a
religious point of view philosophically, and I will
say, whatever you find, say, St. Thomas, natural
theology, this is Catholic religion expressed philo-
sophically, whatever it wants to call itself, and it's
called natural theology.
Now, at the present time, I think it would
be almost -- that this is a risky statement, but I
think I can make it. There are not many philosophers
who think they can deal with this kind of question.
Say, metaphysics, in this kind of ultimate sense, is
as I've put it, a terminal case in the same award
as theology; that is to say, in the mind of a good
deal of our world, our academic world. And you find
philosophy defining itself in the -- a speculation
in which the question of origin could come up. But
as the philosophy of science, as the analysis of
experience -- now, the minute you say philosophy is
the analysis by reason of experience, you cut out
the question of origin. The question of origin is
excluded. You understand?
So I say the only people who are taught
to raise the question are the theologians at the
present time. Historically, Thomas raised it, but
he had a clerical collar on. The point you're raising
is a tricky one. But I would witness to this. When
you witness to a theological, a philosophical point
of view, you're not subject to perjury, because some-
body may disagree with you, and that should be
clear. I don't want to be caught on that one -- here's
something that doesn't agree with me.
We're dealing with controversial issues
here, and I want to make that clear. I don't wish
to state the truth; I wish to state my view that when
one looks at these, and even the most speculative
efforts to discuss origins, one finds some philoso-
phical expression of religious tradition.
Q So is Creation Science, then, a rational
form of religious tradition?
MR.SIANO: Objection. The question
has been asked and answered already. You
can go ahead and answer it again.
I've just said you already asked the ques-
tion once before.
A (Continuing) Well, the logical form of
it is philosophical or natural theological. That is
to say, they're asking the question, how do we make
sense of certain facts, which is the way a philosopher
might proceed or a theologian arguing a natural
theology. Formally, therefore, this is philosophical.
This is not the way the scientists ask. You don't
just ask, how do you make sense of what is the most
intelligible explanation. In fact, I think I'd say
the history of science have found those kind of things
can end up with everything from apples to bananas.
And there's no way of settling this, how did we make
something out of it.
And one might say, the criteria of ade-
quacy to the facts incoherent which are generally
regarded as the criteria of philosophical ideas.
Now, that's not the way the science is perceived.
And it is, in part, the way the theologian proceeds.
That is to say, I think most of us agree that to be
in accord with the Scripture is our first -- to be
in accord with the Scripture, and that means in
argument that we are, that's our first authority or
requirement or canon. To be in accord with tradition
is the second and subsidiary one.
But what we regard as true in the sciences
is important. And then what's important to me is
adequacy to all the facts of experience, and heaven
knows who has hold of the facts of experience; but
that's part of your argument. And, of course, coherence
among your ideas, if they don't -- aren't coherent,
you better pack up right away. You can't start with
one God and end up with five. So those -- some of
those are philosophical criteria. They're significantly
different as what the scientists would specify as
criteria for the theory, and these have a different
form; and I would say that Creation Science comes in
Q You mentioned religions that do not have
God as the source of their origins. Do any of those
religions even seek to explain that, explain origins?
A No. Rephrase the question. I'm not sure
-- quite sure what you're asking.
Q These religions that do not have God as
the creator --
Q -- do they attempt to explain creation, or
do they just start from where they are?
A Well, they wouldn't use the word "creation,"
probably. That's a word pitched inexorably to God.
Without God -- you can't have a creation out of nothing,
because you've got nothing. So they don't explain
creation; they regard that as a Christian myth. And
they're very rough about that. Get talking with the
Buddhist. He thinks we're asinine.
Well, let's take the best example, which
is Theravada Buddhism, which is presumably the
early Buddhism. Here it's very obvious, it seems
to me, to everybody who's read these documents, that
there is no deity figure. In fact, the Buddha said
he wasn't interested in this kind of a problem. The
Hindus had deities and couldn't care less. He did
have -- what, he had four noble truths. My statement
of this will not be in expert form. Involved in them
was the statement, all is in flux, which is pretty
close to my first point, all that is in flux is
suffering, which is involved in that.
What's our big problem? We think we are
real, we think we are a self. We're attached to this,
and, therefore, we suffer in it. The way to get out
-- and, boy, here's the real religious element -- is
to learn detachment from this that we are not a
self; that there's nothing to be attached to here,
to develop this incredible cool; and then finally,
we will not exist any longer, and so forth and so on.
Now, there are four noble truths, and
there is the song, the community, and there is the
way of life, which seems very aesthetic to us, but
was regarded in that Hindu world of about the Fifth
Century, B.C., as being very middle-of-the-road.
Now, to the average guy sleeping in the Holiday Inn,
it's everything but the middle of the road, but
that's -- and it had certain characteristics.
Now, they would certainly not use the
word "creation," in fact, what is is the problem.
That's not Christian. What is is good; what we've
done with it is the problem. But for them, what is
You've got a very different view here,
very different view; and this is -- this has always
been going on, and we can get out of it. And you
have certain creation myths in Hinduism, but they
almost always have a deity connected with it of one
sort or another. They're not Creation in our sense,
because the deity either spins the world out of himself
-- which is not the Christian belief. God didn't
spin the world out of Himself. We are not of the
substance of God. Christ is only of the substance of
God. We are made out of nithing, not out of God.
So we are -- this is an utterly different view from
that Hindu myth, when out of Brahman comes the world,
and then goes back to Brahman, and so forth, or
Brahman dreams the world. It's all a dream.
You've got hundreds of different things
that -- but those are not Creation myths.
There are also Indian Creationists. Indra
comes to a foremost matter and creates the world
out of it. He slays Tiobot and takes the world.
But Indra is proceeded by heaven knows how many
hundreds and thousands of deities, and so forth and
All I'm trying to do is indicate, you've
got very, very different ways of going about this,
and none of them would have the force of our word
"creation," but everybody explains origins in one way
or another, talks about it; right? Everyone talks
about it' right? Even the question of ultimate origins
Q With regard to your testimony concerning
the difference between religion and science --
Q -- you've provided a definition for
religion. How would you define science in that con-
MR. SIANO: You're asking a specula-
tive question, assuming the witness will
define science, and I object to the assump-
tion inherent in the question.
Q (By Mr. Campbell) Will you define science
to distinguish it from religion in your testimony
concerning the difference between religion and
A I will certainly say it's something about
the way I understand the way scientists proceed.
The kinds of questions they ask, the kinds of experi-
ences that they appeal to, the kinds of authorities
that they recognize, and the kinds of theories that
can be regarded as scientific, and shows, in each
case, the kinds of questions that are asked, the
kinds of experiences that are appealed to; or one
could put it in kinds of facts that each talks about,
the kinds of authorities that are appealed to, and
the character of the theories are substantially
different between science and religion. That will
be the way my testimony will proceed.
Q How are the kinds of questions that
scientists ask different from the kinds of questions
that religion ask?
A On the whole, the scientist has been
interested in the question, what sort of a process
that can be observed can infect a material process.
A physical process explains events that can be observed.
In this sense, one might say, this is a "how" ques-
tion -- how did it take place. It's not a "why"
question. You can bend "why" around to answer that --
to ask that question, but that's not really what
you mean by "why."
Very early, purposes were regarded as not
a scientific matter -- I say very early -- in the
development of modern science.
What's the purpose of the earth going
around the sun is a kind of typical, what, Greek
semi-religious question when they thought the sun
going around the earth was an in-soul being, and one
might ask, why is it doing it. Because it's a being;
it's a "how" question asking for the material process
and asking for a necessary -- the answer will be a
necessary, as they like now to say, set of variable
Okay. We will say causes and effects.
Modern philosophy of science is a little uneasy about
cause and effect causes. They'd rather be talking
about this if "P" then "Q" kind of stuff. And so
you have a different theory there in terms of it --
the observational canon, because it is interested in
the process of events as they unfold. It recognizes
only secondary causality in terms of our discussion.
It is against the rules to introduce anything else.
Now, I think that's a canon that has been recognized
in every one of these distinctions.
I would suggest also in the law that a
demon killed John Smith is not a legal explanation.
You have a category act of God, but it doesn't function
that way; right? And I'd say the scientist would say
the same; the historian would say the same. If I
were to write a history book, not a theology book --
a history book on the origins of the First World
War -- that's the word, the origins of -- as I say,
I could not include the category, the judgment of God.
Maybe in a footnote; maybe in an addendum; but if I
handed that into the University of Chicago History
Department as a thesis, I'd have a hard time.
Now, to me, that doesn't mean it's untrue,
as I said, but it's simply not historical inquiry --
the rules of historical inquiry.
Now, I would say, with history -- you
don't have a necessary law, I don't think, in history
and that makes it logically different than natural
science. There's a lot of argument about this, as
you may know.
Supernatural cause is uncommon right
across the disciplines. I suppose that's what we
mean by secular discipline. Certainly Academia
recognizes this. That's what they're uneasy about,
our being in Academia. All right?
I think it's important to understand
Darwin wasn't the mean guy you're deduced at this
point. At this point, he was being a scientist. A
doctor is required, as Shrewell said, to find the
natural cause of a disease. He doesn't keep looking
for it. The fact he hasn't found it, whatever he
may believe, that's what his job as a doctor is.
I'd say the same with a lawyer. Now,
that means, scientific theories are really significantly