Monday, February 12, 2007

Creationism and "Evolution Sunday"

With the Answers in Genesis creation conference starting this Friday at Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley, I have been thinking more about evolution and creationism. The conference runs Friday-Sunday, but I'm only going to a couple of the sessions. I'm definitely going to the one Friday night called Strategic Evangelism: 4 Power Questions to Ask an Evolutionist.

I'm not sure if I'll go to any session on Saturday. That will depend on whether David or someone else would be willing to give me a ride from church over there. I'm not going to the Sunday School session on Sunday morning because that's the beginning of my work week and prime workout time. I need all the gym time I can get with how busy I am this week and next.

I am looking forward to this conference because I have been indoctrinated my whole life to believe in evolution, both in the public schools and at home. I remember seeing Inherit the Wind at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon (we lived about a two hour drive away at the time) so saw several plays. We spent the entire drive home talking about how true evolution was. I never questioned any of this until college when I saw a video of a debate between an evolutionist and creationist. It was only then that I realized how weak the evidence for evolution was. If there is more evidence I would like to hear it.

Along those same lines, this past Sunday was Evolution Sunday in many churches. They describe their mission thus:

On 11 February 2007 hundreds of congregations from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 198th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

And what does The Clergy Letter say? Let's take a look:

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. 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. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

Evolution is "scientific truth"? It's frightening that they got over 10,000 "Christian" clergy to sign this letter! Not surprisingly, California leads every other state and territory in the number of signatures at 807. The next closest state is Pennsylvania with 692. Mississippi has the fewest signatures at a mere 16.

Thank God my church doesn't participate in this! The theory of evolution is just that: a theory. It has not been proved.

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Sparky's Girl said...

I'd never heard of this. A truly frightening trend and hope it doesn't go any further than it already has.

Anonymous said...

I'm very familiar with "Answers in Genesis". I have had churches and Christian colleagues presenting it as the answers to all possible questions.

*Sigh*. I'm afraid I don't accept their reasoning. But I'm not convinced secular reasoning is correct, either. They all have demonstrable problems.

Thing is ... to be a Christian one must believe in Jesus as the son of God. I get nervous when people start adding 'and you must believe creation happened this way, too.'. In His grace, God gave us liberty in those areas.

*Sigh*. So I guess I'm waiting for Heaven to find out the answers.


Brian P.