A Response to Yesterday’s Anti-Religion Op-Ed

I just got a blitz from Nathan Empsall ’09, who writes the Wayward Episcopalian blog, in response to my post on Lucy Stonehill ’10’s condescending op-ed in yesterday’s D:

Thanks for your post on Stonehill’s op-ed. I can assure you I am no religious zealot (she didn’t name me, but it was obvious), as the conservative evangelicals, liberal mainline Protestants, athiest leftists, agnostic Democrats, and fellow NAS majors I know can attest. You will notice that Stonehill never actually describes my arguments or evidence, merely asserting their worthlessness. The full explanation of the class is this: I was actually making an academic point about the multi-author nature of Genesis, suggesting that it can be read metaphorically rather than literally and does not have to conflict with evolution. Stonehill was insisting on a narrow literal reading so that she could push the view that Genesis is a narrow and arrogant text. I did not dismiss her claims, I merely tried to broaden the discussion to include multiple interpretations of the text in order to better understand the diverse array of Judeo-Christian creation beliefs. That may not have fit into her agenda of discrediting faith, but it was very much an academic pursuit in that it prevents students from walking away thinking certain Christians believe things that in reality they do not. I ask, which is more zealous and close-minded? Insistence on one and only one valid interpretation, or a broader approach willing to take into account multiple perspectives? …I have since learned that the professor who usually teaches the class even teaches the same interpretation of Genesis that I was advancing. I do agree with Stonehill’s point about religious zealotry, but in her anti-religion bias, she used a non-zealous irrelevant example to smear a student, portray him as something he is not, and distort her otherwise valid argument.

And for the record, I have never said I am a priest-in-training. It is the career path I am looking at, but the discernment process will not start for years and the “training” years after that. Anything can happen, and I try not to talk about it much.

Nathan

So, yeah, both sides of the story.