Archive for the 'Darwin' Category

WHY ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS ARGUMENT???

WHY ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS ARGUMENT???

This ad describing “the evolution of flavor” appeared recently on Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page. It triggered a storm of protest from Creationists—and an equal and opposite reaction of ridicule from those who don’t share their view. In the midst of this imperfect storm I’m compelled to ask: Are you kidding me? Are we really still having this argument in the second decade of the twenty-first century—over the internet? Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. The book introduced his theory of evolution by natural selection. Its application has revolutionized countless aspects of modern life. Of course, some Christians protested that Darwin’s theory contradicted the biblical accounts of Creation. Their spiritual descendants haven’t budged—or grown–an inch in the last 150 years.  They work tirelessly to discredit evolution. They oppose its inclusion in public school science education at every opportunity. They demand that their religious view be recognized as a legitimate scientific alternative and given equal time. But it’s no such thing. Welcoming this religious view into the classroom  diminishes the scientific literacy of children subjected to such educational malpractice. Yet to this day Christian charter schools in some states receive public education funding t0 promote this narrow religious doctrine. One Scottish newspaper described the use of public funds by Louisiana charter schools to teach children that the Loch Ness Monster was a dinosaur that co-existed with early humans.

I don’t want to rehash the argument here—not even the part about religiously-based charter schools using our tax dollars to promote their religious worldview known as Creationism. I do want to encourage people of faith to learn and grow beyond Creationism’s narrow, fear-based interpretation of scripture. Insisting that the Creation stories are about “just the facts” destroys their beauty and poetry.  They are more far more poetry than prose, especially science textbook prose. Let us for God’s sake stop misreading Genesis 1-2 as a primitive science text. Then our souls can soar with this vision of a God far greater than a heavenly answer man or cosmic butler. Stop forcing the text to answer only the question “How did God create?” and trying to exclude all science that doesn’t fit that narrow box. (Incidentally, that includes all the science that makes possible most of contemporary life and technology.) Let’s celebrate the story’s affirmations of faith: “In the beginning…God” (Gen. 1:1); “And God saw that it was good.” (the refrain repeated after each stage of creation); “God saw all that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31, after six days of Creation.)  Let us never again confine God within the impossibly short timeframe of Creationist theology. Let us boldly and reverently worship a God we may never fully comprehend—big enough to use natural processes over billions of years to create the universe we continue to explore and discover, which is still a work in progress.

The Clergy Letter Project  began in 2004 when a school board in Wisconsin addressed this issue. Before long hundreds of Christian clergy had written or signed letters affirming the complementary nature of scientific and religious truth. Today that number has grown to nearly 13,000, in addition to hundreds of Jewish, Unitarian, and Buddhist clergy. The letter says in part, “We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as ‘one theory among others’ is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris[pride].”

Recently in the church where we worship, we sang a hymn by Dr. Thomas Troeger  which says in part,

 “Praise the source of faith and learning that has sparked and stroked the mind

with a passion for discerning how the world has been designed…”

God created us with the curiosity and ability to unlock and understand this amazing universe. Let’s use all God’s gifts, including our minds. Let’s do our best to discover all God’s truth. If it’s God’s truth, it can only lead us—to God.   Many scientists affirm that their explorations of God’s wonders have deepened their faith, not destroyed it. Just ask Frances Collins [LINK]how his faith and his science fit together.

Troeger’s hymn continues,

“Let the sense of wonder flowing from the wonders we survey

 Keep our faith forever growing and renew our need to pray.”

I want to know all of God’s truth I can discover. I’m not afraid new information will destroy my faith. This awesome, Creating God didn’t remain remote and stay behind the scenes. He loved his creation too much. When the time was right, God said, “Look, I’ll show you,” and came and shared our life through Jesus of Nazareth.


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