September 17, 2018

SCP: 1978-2018

Filed under: Philosophy — camcintosh @ 5:09 pm

Well, the Society of Christian Philosophers had a good run, celebrating its 40th anniversary at a vegan-catered conference this past weekend. Like the American Philosophical Association, the SCP is a shell of its former self, having been soul-sucked by political activists on the left. Consider Alvin Plantinga’s vision of nearly 40 years ago, as detailed in his “Advice to Christian Philosophers”:

My counsel can be summed up on two connected suggestions, along with a codicil. First, Christian philosophers and Christian intellectuals generally must display more autonomy–more independence of the rest of philosophical world. Second, Christian philosophers must display more integrity–integrity in the sense of integral wholeness, or oneness, or unity, being all of one piece. … And necessary to these two is a third: Christian courage, or boldness, or strength, or perhaps Christian self-confidence. We Christian philosophers must display more faith, more trust in the Lord; we must put on the whole armor of God.

Compare that to the SCP’s vision today as gravestonesummarized by one of the conference organizers:

The future is about teaching philosophy better, engaging in community outreach, rethinking “the canon”, willing to think about mental illness, seeking to be compassionate and caring, promoting diversity and inclusion, and working to be less white. And it includes children.

This vision, relayed in typical Orwellian code, could just as well be that of any other progressive, secular organization’s. Hence, the Society of Christian Philosophers can no longer be said to exist as a distinctively Christian or philosophical organization. Its acronym should henceforth be understood to stand for the Society of “Christian” Progressives. I’m sure Uncle Al and Sr. Swinburne are proud of this bold, counter-cultural direction.

Addendum (9/19/2018) in response to feedback.

  1. Saying the conference was “vegan catered” implies (falsely) it was exclusively vegan, when in fact there were also non-vegan options. Fine. For what it’s worth, the “vegan-catered conference” quip was meant to be a more humorous way of remarking on the political makeup of the conference (I’m told around 20% of the attendants were vegan or vegetarian).
  2. I was not presenting the quote in the post as a summary of the SCP’s official mission statement. This should have been clear from the facts that (i) it is obviously not formally written, and (ii) I was comparing it to Plantinga’s “Advice,” which was also not an official mission statement. The SCP’s official mission, available on their site, reads:

    The Society of Christian Philosophers was organized in 1978 to promote fellowship among Christian Philosophers and to stimulate study and discussion of issues which arise from their Christian and philosophical commitments. One of its chief aims is to go beyond the usual philosophy of religion sessions at the American Philosophical Association and to stimulate thinking about the nature and role of Christian commitment in philosophy.

    The quote in my post, rather, is the conference organizer’s summary of a seven-person panel discussion on “The Future of Christian Philosophy”. Given that context, make whatever you will of the importance of that summary.

  3. To my knowledge, no one has yet challenged my main point that the SCP has become a left-leaning organization without Christian distinction, as indicated chiefly by its institution of “diversity” quotas and the obvious intrusion of identity politics and all its attending social demands. Even “guidelines for inclusive chairing” are being passed out at the events! A more subtle post could and should be written. I wrote the above in haste and in frustration. But its main point stands.
  4. I’ve had a great time, and met many great people, at SCP events. They are, I’m sure many would attest, remarkable for their conviviality. That is precisely why I and many others are concerned about the SCP’s current trajectory, and are increasingly uneasy with financially supporting it through our membership. And some, I know for a fact, are happy to see us go. This leads to a final point.
  5. There seems to be a “Cold War” of sorts between progressive and conservative members of the SCP. Swinburnegate was a spark that ignited subterranean combustibles that had been brewing for a while. Social media and blogs are not ideal fora for determining just how deep our differences go. I, for one, think a conference on this would be great. I think getting together in person to explore and discuss this openly and honestly would go a long way toward a more accurate diagnosis of the problem, not to mention opportunities for reconciliation. If there is sufficient interest in such a conference, I’d be delighted to help organize it.

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