A Punk Rocker and a JBU Professor

Siloam Springs, Ark. (July 25, 2006) — Dr. Preston Jones, assistant professor of history at John Brown University and an unassuming fan of the punk rock group, Bad Religion, found himself in very intriguing, ongoing discussions with a punk rocker not too long ago.

The end result of the rock star correspondence is a book written by Jones, “Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity.” The book was published in July by InterVaristy Press.

One day, on a whim, Jones sent the rocker an appreciative e-mail. Little did he know this would begin an extraordinary correspondence. Greg Graffin, the lead singer and songwriter for the group Bad Religion, has been corresponding with Jones for the past three years. (However, the book is based on focused correspondence over a three-month period.) Graffin holds a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University where he wrote his dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism.

The two exchanged e-mails on topics such as God, religion, knowledge, evil, evolution, biology, destiny and the nature of reality. So what is the radical difference between the two? Jones is a Christian and Graffin is an atheist. Over the course of their friendly debates, the two tackled such cosmic questions as: Is religion rational or irrational? Does morality require belief in God? Is this universe all there is? And what does it all matter?

Jones’ book is a collection of reproduced e-mails and includes bonus materials that provide additional background and context. Readers will find that each man makes his case for why he thinks his worldview is more compelling and explanatory. While they find some places to agree, neither one convinces the other.

Jones holds a Ph.D. from University of Ottawa. He has previously taught at The Cambridge School of Dallas, Dallas Christian College, the University of Dallas, California State University-Sonoma, and the University of Ottawa. His articles have been published in a variety of journals and he is a contributing editor for “Books & Culture and “Critique.”

John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 1,900 students from 43 states and 40 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.