Worlds Apart: The Unholy War Between Religion and Science
Beacon Hill Press | August 2003
My first book, published in 1993 when I doubted I could actually become a “real” author, was Worlds Apart: The Unholy War between Religion and Science. Published by the denominational press of the Church of the Nazarene, it would have appeared sooner but powerful fundamentalists tried to block it, even though a contract had been signed, the manuscript had been delivered and the publisher had approved it. The Church of the Nazarene, despite sponsoring colleges and universities that employ many outstanding scholars, wrestles with strong anti-intellectual and fundamentalist constituencies, some of which have insisted—often with a total lack of charity—that I was too “liberal” to teach at Eastern Nazarene College. For years they have been demanding that my institution fire me. When news of my resignation became public there was great rejoicing.
I was encouraged to write Worlds Apart by Cecil Paul, a beloved president of Eastern Nazarene College who died tragically shortly into his administration. Paul was eager for the denominational publishing house to produce material that would counter the surging fundamentalist voices calling for wholesale rejection of scientific theories of origins. Worlds Apart, as the only publication with the imprimatur of the official publishing house was a de facto denominational statement on origins, which rankled fundamentalists, who couldn’t get their books published.
Although Worlds Apart played helped restrain the tide of denominational fundamentalism, in retrospect it seems flawed to me. In many places I can see where I was often “venting” and reacting against the fundamentalism I had embraced as a youth. But people I respected endorsed the book. Many used it as a text at their colleges. It helped establish me as a scholar whose belief in God did not require rejection of science. And this started many conversations…
Foreword: H. Ray Dunning
ASA Worlds Apart Review (1995)