Creed and challenge

by Paul Burmeister

Professors who hold to a creed and teach in a religious institution live in tension from the external and / or internal pressures to manage a balance between teaching and scholarship that are secular and teaching and scholarship that foreground their creed. This tension cannot be resolved by choosing to be anti-intellectual. Wendell Berry has proposed that people who find themselves at the crossroads of science and creed must navigate the conflicting commitments.
While the Christian professor dare not renounce his creed, he is an impostor or counterfeit if his response to secular challenges becomes an anti-intellectual retreat or withdrawal. Then it is time for the Christian professor to find another vocation or to become acquainted with an intellectual defense genuinely grounded in mystery and paradox; this defense simply requires that reason ultimately yield to what God has and hasn't fully revealed to man. G. K. Chesterton, David Skeel and Berry are on the side of this option. Chesterton argues for "welcome and wonder," Skeel submits to incomplete explanations of mysteries and Berry allows for vulnerability to "cosmic mystery."