Quote of the Week: Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize Winner

 It’s like having a good friend who is a devout believer in another religion. You can learn a lot from a friend like that, even if you don’t pray in his church.    –Robert ShillerShiller’s statement is about his friend Eugene Fama of the efficient-market theory, of whom Shiller is a critic.I’m interested in the truthfulness of the analogy. I’ve always questioned the Fundamentalist approach to Jesus “only.” Although a piece of my background was in an evangelical seminary, I’d studied Islam in the Koran and Judaism. The bias to apologetics, a defensive of the so-called Christian gospel, was pervasive. But from today’s perspective, it’s clear I didn’t really move beyond that stupid bias until June of 1987 when youngest graduated from Barnard College. Like the dutiful “religious” that I was at that time, my wife and I attended the Columbia University baccalaureate service. I don’t remember who spoke, probably a college chaplain. But I do remember the readings by three students. One was a Muslim from the Koran, another a Jew from the Old Testament and the third a Christian from the New Testament. They all read what was essentially the same text with the same message, but from their own scripture.I wasn’t especially surprised, but I saw the similarities of the great faiths laid out in front of me. Growing up in the Detroit area, I was rather open to ethnic diversity, but hadn’t stared as closely at religious diversity and had no Muslim friends. Thankfully, the world–and my world–has changed drastically since then. It has become all the more obvious that the trajectory of the biblical tradition is in the direction of inclusion. I celebrate that fact.So Gene Fama and Bob Shiller have a lot more in common that most might think. “He collects data and he shares it and I use it all the time, and I use many of his theories. Not all of them, of course, but he’s a very good guy.”
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