Devo's Blog

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My God is big enough for evolution

I find all the hullabaloo raised by ultra-conservative Christians regarding Evolution and Intelligent Design overblown and silly at the least, paranoid and controlling at the worst. I'm also concerned what image non-Christians derive from their bluster and self-righteous posturing.

I'm a Christian and I don't have a problem with evolution - a lot of of Christians don't. I believe God created the universe as we know it; I don't claim to know how she did it. In fact, I don't really care. It's enough for me that he wanted to. God's creation was an act born of love and his desire to share it with us. That's what matters - that I was created to be loved.

Evolution - at least at this point - appears to be the best paradigm for understanding creation as we observe it today. It may be a theory, but it's a scientific theory, rigorously questioned and tested. It makes the most sense with what we know right now. Besides, evolution doesn't claim to explain why and by what/whom we were created - that's religion's domain. It's good to remember how far we've come from the earth-centered universe of the Middle Ages; who knows what new paradigm will emerge a thousand years from now?

Paint me liberal, but I find both the Reverend Shepard and St. Augustine make good sense:

The fact [that we find ourselves in a national debate] points to why I want us to study the Bible in this parish and to understand the nature of our Scripture, lest we paint ourselves into a corner in our well meaning zeal to defend God. God is quite capable of defending God. God would be quite happy if we stopped killing each other or anathematizing each other in God’s name. Science and religion can exist side by side each seeking each its own sphere of knowledge and not trying to invade the other. The Bible is not a science book or even an especially accurate history book. It is rather the book of a people who discovered God and became the people of that God and who thus make meaning out of life in relationship to God.

- Rev. John Shepard, Rector St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Spokane, WA. Complete Sermon

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for a [non-believer] to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

- St. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, translated and annotated by John Hammond Taylor, S.J., Vol. 1. (New York: Newman Press, 1982), p. 42

Creationists and proponents of I.D. are certainly entitled to discuss and defend their position, but not to force it down our throats and relegate those of us who disagree - Christian or otherwise - to second-class citizenship in the eyes of God.


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