During the Summer holiday, I walked through the door of an Anglican Church building I hadn’t been to previously, and the first thing that stood out for visitors was a collection of anti-evolution pamphlets. This church, the pamphlet collection screamed at anyone stepping through the door, sees accepting evolution as the source of many, many evils. If you accept evolution, your ideas will not be welcome here.
I’ve written before that, with shrinking church numbers, evolution is the elephant in the empty nave. Bishops and church leaders generally don’t publicly declare their acceptance of evolution, probably on the misunderstanding that even more of the shrinking numbers of pew-sitters will leave (rather than realising that it might lead to many other people beginning to explore faith).
Those who want to keep gender and sexuality uncomplicatedly binary can see denying the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis as threatening the Genesis 1:27 prooftext. They realise that the church hasn’t seemed to put much energy into thinking how evolution fits in with our beliefs about salvation. And if Paul and Jesus are seen to be wrong about Adam and Eve, at which point can we begin to be sure that they are right? What about the nature of being human? And so on…
On holiday, flicking through television channels, there are several Christian ones – the speakers all hold to everything in the Bible is history; everything in the Bible literally happened as written [even if the different speakers on different Christian channels cannot seem to agree with each other or form a single church].
Clearly, there is no room for a person like me in these churches: holding to science and logic, comfortable with uncertainty in some areas…
Not that all those who hold to evolution allow for room for Christian faith. There are anti-theists who use evolution as a weapon to attack faith in God. There are some who, tiresomely, reduce everything or attempt to reduce everything to an evolutionary lens. There are some who are tediously scientistic – that there is no truth unless it is scientifically proved.
And there is another issue I regularly address: applying the evolutionary model of “survival of the fittest” to our life, our relationships, our economics, and so forth. This short-term thinking, where profitability at all costs has become a primary driving force misses that survival is also of those who cooperate. The belief that people, organisations, and corporations acting solely with self-interest will somehow produce the best results – this is clearly destroying social fabric, individual lives, and, in fact, our environment, climate, and planet.
All this – many pitting science and faith against each other – has exacerbated the mistrust in science so dangerously manifest currently, especially in the response to Covid19. I do not accept science in spite of my Christian faith; I accept science because of my Christian faith. I hold to a universe which makes sense, is consistent, and can be systematically investigated because it is sourced in and sustained by a loving God. Accepting science takes faith, faith that what happened in the past will continue to happen in the future – that is the basis of the scientific method – and that this has always been the case in the past is no deductive proof that it will continue to happen into the future!
- Evolution – The Elephant in the Empty Nave
- Evolution and Christians
- Science Versus Religion?
- Science and Religion