There is an amusing thread going on over at Dembski’s blog concerning the religious views of Howard Van Till, who recently made available this speech that he gave to the West Michigan Freethought Association. Howard is a friend and a fellow board member of Michigan Citizens for Science; he is also an emeritus professor of astronomy and physics at Calvin College, a theologically conservative Christian university. Dembski wonders whether Van Till should be an emeritus professor since his religious views have strayed so far from Calvinist theology.
That question doesn’t concern me a bit. Howard has been through his battles with Calvin and the church in the past, having literally been subject to an investigation for heresy a few years ago (yes, such trials actually do still go on, medieval as they seem today). What I find amusing about the whole conversation is the incessant effort to apply a label to his views, as though the application of such a label would prove or disprove his views. I’ve had many long discussions with Howard about the evolution (pun intended) of his religious views (and mine, for that matter) and it has never occured to me that I should be searching for a way to label them. I’d much rather engage the substance of them.