Most readers of Free Inquiry I presume would describe themselves as secular humanists. This article is written from a somewhat different point of view, that of a Christian. I started out a long time ago as a very conservative Christian -- indeed, a fundamentalist Christian, though I have grown out of that. But I think it worthwhile to say that the fundamentalist wing within Christianity does serve an important purpose. Fundamentalism, or extreme conservative evangelicalism, can be an important phase through which to pass, though not a good one in which to get stuck. The conservative evangelicals do have the zeal to sometimes jolt young people out of an unthinking, self-centered materialism, and this can be very good. What is not good, of course, is for people to remain in that mold and become not simply enthusiastic young evangelicals but retarded adult ones.
From the liberal Christian standpoint, which I now occupy, I would like to ask two questions in connection with the subject of Jesus in history and myth. The two questions are: What do the liberal Christian and the secular humanist have in common? And where do we part company? We have in common, first, an opposition to the so-called creationists who are trying to turn the clock back in the teaching of science in the schools, and also an opposition to the people who are trying to impose Christian worship in the schools. So far as I am concerned, this opposition is in the interests not only of secularists but also of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, et al. This is a pluralistic country, and for that reason, quite apart from any other, there ought not to be required Christian worship in the nation's schools.
I spoke of the creationists. Notice how tricky language is. It seems to me a shame that the word "creationist" has become a label not only for____________________