A Clash of Orthodoxies: An Exchange

First Things, June/July 2000, with Josh Dever.

I am grateful to Josh Dever for his thoughtful challenge to my essay “A Clash of Orthodoxies.”

Professor Dever states candidly his religious views and moral“political commitments: he is an atheist and a liberal. He begins by proposing to defend the secularist orthodoxy, though later he suggests that no such orthodoxy exists. With a single exception”which, interestingly, Prof. Dever himself considers to be “regrettable””he claims that the positions I have attributed to secularist liberalism are, in truth, “extreme minority views.” The most he is prepared to concede is that one could probably “hunt down individuals holding each of [these] views.”

I’m afraid I cannot yield to Prof. Dever’s claim. Perhaps things are different at the University of Texas, but even on a rainy day when most people stay indoors I could “hunt down” dozens of people who hold these views simply by taking a stroll across the Princeton campus….

First Things