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The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship$
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George M. Marsden

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195122909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195122909.001.0001

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Christian Scholarship and the Rules of the Academic Game

Christian Scholarship and the Rules of the Academic Game

(p.44) Chapter Thee Christian Scholarship and the Rules of the Academic Game
The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship

George M. Marsden

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that while it is certainly true that some religious believers wish to destroy the pluralistic academy, there are many other religious viewpoints, including some theologically conservative ones, which harbor no such desire. For instance, it is perfectly possible to hold an Augustinian view that faith in God, rather than faith in self or material contingency, should shape one's essential vision of reality and yet to support the rules of liberal society as a God-given means for accomplishing some limited but immensely valuable goals. The main problem is how to balance the advocacy implicit in all scholarship with academic standards that are scientific or “reasonable” in the sense of being accessible to people from many different ideological camps. Traditional religious viewpoints can be just as hospitable to scientifically sound investigation as many other viewpoints, all of which are ultimately grounded in some faith or other. Hence, religious perspectives ought to be recognized as legitimate in the mainstream academy so long as their proponents are willing to support the rules necessary for constructive exchange of ideas in a pluralistic setting.

Keywords:   religious belief, Christian perspectives, academic life, pluralistic academy, academic standards

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