The Myth of the Myth of Secular Objectivity
Michael Barber reponds to Alan Bandy's interviews on faith/secular scholarship in a post called 'The Myth of Secular Objectivity'. This is a criticism I hear a lot but there is not one secular scholar who I have spoken to (there may be some I don't know of course) who thinks this (actually I prefer to distinguish between neutrality and objectivey but that can wait for now). My issue is an increase in different persepctives, the very opposite of supposed secular objectivity, so that a whole range of new and different questions get asked.
Incidentally, the following is mistaken:
What is noteworthy to me is that it seems that the only scholar who didn’t talk about the role personal bias plays in his scholarship was James Crossley, who identifies himself as a “secular” scholar.
Firstly, I certainly don't think like the secular schoar constructed by Michael Barber. Secondly, I implied the opposite of what was attributed to me, even if I didn't explicitly describe my own work. Hence,
Personal faith has an important role to play in scholarship as does just about any perspective.
I don’t think a secular approach is inherently superior to any other approach but like evangelical perspectives it offers new ways of looking at the history and the texts. It too would offer new questions which would (hopefully) have to be answered. My own particular hope is that more and more secular types could provoke differing ways of looking at history such as a more causal based explanation for the emergence of Christianity rather than explanations grounded in description or history of ideas.
If I didn't imply that I was included in that then we get the very unusual argument that someone who identifies himself as a secular scholar and who works with causally based approaches to Christian origins doesn't include himself in the biases of secular scholars and ones who want causal approaches. You would have to read my argument as someone who thinks he is above not just faith approaches but all other secular approaches! I may be arrogant but surely not that bad.
I also discuss the particualr bias or perspectives of different people like Marxists or whatever.
I also imply pretty strongly that perspectives from all sides can learn from one another. E.g.,
More generally, interactions with works of opponents and answering their questions is one positive way forward.
...scholars who have made an impact through differing perspectives and how a perspective can be a positive thing.
None of this looks even remotely like the constructed myth of secular objectivity.