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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive J.D. Walters's Reply to Avalos

While there was much in Hector Avalos's original essay I would not agree with, I share his concerns about the theocentric and religiocentric orientation of my Society's mandate and work. And sadly, I think his point is proved when the Society chooses to let a (probably) 23 year old undergraduate dress down someone who has been in the Society for 25 years. It strikes me as disrespectful and dismissive. Would it not have been more rewarding to have an intellectual peer critique Avalos's thoughtful piece, rather than someone who speaks with all the worldly experience of a (probably) 23 year old?

Also, Walters's response (and SBL Forum's printing of it) puts me in mind of a phenomenon I've only recently started noticing: everytime there is a secular-humanist critique (usually perceived as an "attack") on Christianity (very broadly defined), the media ensures we hear from a Christian so that we can all be certain of the Christian response. We see this consistently with Same Sex Marriage or abortion debates, and anytime there is a film/movie/documentary/discovery that questions some aspect of Christian doctrine (The Jesus Ossuary, the Lost Tomb, criticism of Mel Gibson's "Passion"). This is undoubtedly justified in the spirit of balanced journalism, but in truth this approach holds all the predictability one would expect were they to interview some local Luddite for an opinion every time there was a story in the news on technology. It would get a little repetitive.

Zeba Crook, Carleton University

Editor's Note: J. D. Walter's "Opinion" piece was initially submitted to The FORUM as a letter. On occasion, we ask permission from letter writers to publish their thoughts as a feature or article.

We did not solicit Walter's letter. At the same time, we believe that it is important for The FORUM to be open to all of our readers, from undergraduate students to senior faculty, as well as to those outside of the academy.

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Citation: Zeba Crook, " J.D. Walters's Reply to Avalos," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited June 2007]. Online:


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