Monday, December 13, 2010

"Evolution and Religious Faith" - Five Views

"A Venerable Orang-outang", a carica...                                         Image via Wikipedia
NPR had a Forum on “Evolution and Religious Faith” back in 2005.  Five views were presented. Albert Mohler provides a snippet of each person's contribution:

An Evangelical Baptist View, R. Albert Mohler, Jr.The Christian doctrine of creation sets the stage for a comprehensive Christian view of life and human dignity. Without the doctrine of creation, Christianity is only one more artifact of an evolutionary process. The Christian affirmation represents the most significant intellectual challenge to evolutionary naturalism.
A Jewish View, Rabbi Bradley HirschfieldThe increasingly nasty debate between believers in Darwinian evolution and advocates for intelligent design theory hinges on the fact that most creationists relate to evolutionists as if they have no soul, and most evolutionists relate to the creationists as if they have no brain.An Episcopal View, Katherine Jefferts Schon
 simply find it a rejection of the goodness of God’s gifts to say that all of this evidence is to be refused because it does not seem to accord with a literal reading of one of the stories in Genesis. Making any kind of faith decision is based on accumulating the best evidence one can find — what one’s senses and reason indicate, what the rest of the community has believed over time, and what the community judges most accurate today.
A Catholic View, George Sim JohnsonThe Church has had no problem with evolutionary theory or the idea that the first humans had biological antecedents — so long as divine causality is not kept out of the big picture. The pope added that there had to have been an “ontological leap” from any presumed ancestor to homo sapiens. In other words, we are not simply trousered apes — something you can verify by trying to explain the Superbowl to the smartest chimpanzee.
A Muslim View, Sulayman NyangMuslims embrace much of the scientific argument about human origins, but not all. We part company with secular fundamentalists on an important issue: Muslims do not take a Promethean view of man and his activities on Earth, that is, the perception that man is the measure of all things.

Each person's contribution is about a page in length. I read each one and rank them as follows:

1. Catholic
2. Evangelical
3. Jewish 
4. Episcopal
5. Muslim

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1 comment:

Joe said...

Interesting read there Richard. I wonder if the authors actually reflect the views of the faiths they purport to represent. From and Evangelical point of view I can say that the author gets close but misses. The problem isn't really the author but the English language. The author relegates God and His workings to the 'supernatural' whereas I have always viewed God's workings as purely 'natural'. The natural and the supernatural are one and the same.

What we see, hear, touch, taste, feel etc (the natural) is but a manifestation of what is commonly referred to as the Supernatural. In my understanding the natural is no less a miracle than the supernatural.

However the problem in the essays is the elevated position given 'evolutionary science'. Evolutionary science fits in the same category as AGW science. Long on details short on facts. There really is no positive proof of macro evolution in a biological sense. Yes things change but none of those changes are unseen or unknown or un-caused by God. How can they be if indeed God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent! To those who would insert Darwin's lie into the Truth of the Gospel I would say, "Your God is too small."

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"