Tag Archives: Creationism

Evolution, creationism? Why not both?

Problems-with-the-Creationism-vs-Science-Debate

Polls occasionally drive me a bit crazy.

Take the one discussed in a Slate.com article that says young Americans favor Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution over the belief that God created the world in six calendar days.

May we hit the pause button for a moment?

I am a Christian. I’ve read the Bible many times in my life. I know what the Bible says about how the world came to be.

I also believe that the world was populated by dinosaurs and other creatures for zillions of years before human beings made themselves known.

Thus, I believe that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Is it possible that God created the world and allowed it to evolve into what it has become? I believe that is precisely what occurred.

The Slate article was written by Rachel E. Gross, who it is clear to me believes exclusively in Darwin’s theory. She writes: “Now, at long last, there seems to be hope: National polls show that creationism is beginning to falter, and Americans are finally starting to move in favor of evolution. After decades of legal battles, resistance to science education, and a deeply rooted cultural divide, evolution may be poised to win out once and for all.”

She adds: “The people responsible for this shift are the young. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 73 percent of American adults younger than 30 expressed some sort of belief in evolution, a jump from 61 percent in 2009, the first year in which the question was asked. The number who believed in purely secular evolution (that is, not directed by any divine power) jumped from 40 percent to a majority of 51 percent. In other words, if you ask a younger American how humans arose, you’re likely to get an answer that has nothing to do with God.”

Read the whole story here

I get the divide over how to teach science in classrooms. Fundamentalists want to teach creationism as it is written in the Bible. They also want to present evolution as just as much of a theory as creationism. This issue has been kicked around at the highest level of public education governance in many states, none more so arguably than in Texas, where we elect State Board of Education members who run for the office as politicians.

Creationism, though, is a religious doctrine. Evolution is a secular one. That doesn’t mean — to my way of thinking — that one of them is invalid.

What it means to me is that the biblical version of creation was written as a metaphor. “Days” can’t be measured in 24-hour increments; for that matter, it might be possible that every element of time takes on meanings that we cannot comprehend.

Does any of this discount the role that God played in creating our world? Not in the least.

As for whether we should teach creationism in our public schools alongside evolution, well, I do not believe that’s appropriate.

Creationism should be taught in places of worship, which I also believe also is part of God’s plan.

Evolution, Bible not mutually exclusive

What is it with politicians who cannot answer a simple question: Do you believe in evolution?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of a thundering herd of Republicans considering a run for the presidency in 2016, got asked that question in Great Britain.

He punted on it. Actually, he choked on it. Neither result is surprising given that he needs to curry favor with the evangelical wing of his political party.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/12/scott-walker-dodged-a-question-on-evolution-that-was-dumb-but-not-for-the-reason-you-think/

Actually, I’ve never quite gotten the notion that evolution and the biblical theory of creation are mutually exclusive.

I long have held the view that one can believe in both ideas: that the world evolved over billions of years and that God orchestrated its evolution.

The Book of Genesis talks about how God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh day. As one who believes in the presence of God, I’ve never quite bought the notion that the “days” mentioned in the Bible are days as we’ve come to know them as human beings. I long have held the view that biblical “days” can be measured in almost any increment we choose.

I get that the Bible doesn’t acknowledge the existence of prehistoric creatures or the existence of human beings in any form other than what is mentioned in Genesis or any of the books that follow through the Old and New testaments.

From my standpoint, that doesn’t discount the existence of those creatures or of prehistoric hominids.

So, Gov. Walker cannot answer the question about evolution because he fears some backlash by evangelicals? Come on. You can believe in both elements of creation. The way I read Scripture, they aren’t mutually exclusive.

 

Holy Father believes in science

Check this out from Salon.com:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so.”

Who said that? None other than Pope Francis I, the head of the Catholic Church and God’s spokesman on Earth.

He added that God “created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”

http://www.salon.com/2014/10/28/pope_francis_believes_in_evolution_and_big_bang_theory_god_is_not_a_magician_with_a_magic_wand/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Imagine all of this for a moment.

The Holy Father is saying something many of us have believed for our entire lives, that the biblical version of creation is compatible with the scientific version of how the universe was formed.

You can bet that religious fundamentalists are going to take serious issue with what the pontiff is saying here, that the Bible means what it says in Genesis — that God created the universe in six calendar days then rested on the Sabbath.

This notion, of course, flies in the face of science and the idea that the world was created over, um, a whole lot longer span of time. You know, as in billions of years.

Many of us mainstream Christians long have believed in both ideas. My faith tells me that the world is part of God’s plan. However, I cannot deny the evidence compiled over centuries that the evolution of the universe contains elements that the Bible does not mention.

Does that mean the Bible isn’t God’s inerrant word? No. To me, at least, it means that God ignored all the complexities that were occurring in the world he created.

As the pope himself said: “The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

It works for me, Your Holiness.

 

 

 

Church and state do need separation

Occasionally discussions about blog posts do get out of hand, or they twist off into unintended directions.

Such was the case involving a recent item I posted on this blog involving the teaching of creationism in Texas public schools. Here’s the link:

http://highplainsblogger.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/creationism-has-no-place-in-classroom/

But in the comments responding to the blog as it appeared on Facebook, a couple of the respondents decided to declare that the Constitution doesn’t state categorically that there must be a “separation of church and state.”

I’d like to clear the air a bit on this matter.

I agree that the Constitution doesn’t use the words “church and state separation.” But as with a lot of principles contained in that wonderful document, the interpretations of what it actually says are quite clear.

The First Amendment says, among other things, that Congress shall make no laws that establish a state religion. I’ve read it, oh, about a bazillion times in my life. I know what the Founders meant when they wrote that. They intended to keep church business out of state business. They didn’t want our government to be dictated by religious principles.

They created a secular nation.

There well might have been plenty of debate among the Founders about whether to allow a state religion. It doesn’t matter, in my view, what they debated. What matters now, more than two centuries later, is what they approved when they sent the Constitution out for ratification by the 13 states that comprised the United States of America.

Thus, church and state separation is implied in the Constitution’s First Amendment, just as the “right of privacy” is implied in the Fourth Amendment.

What’s more, Texas happens to be one of 50 states that now comprise the U.S. of A., even though it once seceded with tragic consequences. My point about the candidates for Texas lieutenant governor wanting to teach creationism in our public schools still stands.

Teach science in schools and religion in church — and keep church and state separate.

Creationism has no place in classroom

Paul Burka is absolutely correct in criticizing the four Republican candidates for Texas lieutenant governor and their insistence that creationism should be taught in Texas public schools.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/last-call-candidates-lieutenant-governor

The Texas Monthly editor/blogger took note of their “genuflection” to religious doctrine and said quite correctly that the biblical version of Earth’s creation should be caught in church.

It’s long bothered me that some have held creationism — which essentially is scripture’s version of the world’s beginning as told in the Book of Genesis — on the same level as evolution. One of my former journalism colleagues is fond of referring to evolution as a “theory” in the same vein as creationism. Well, it isn’t.

Yes, evolution is a “theory” but it is substantiated by mountains of scientific data that suggests that the planet was created over billions of years. Paleontologists have uncovered countless fossil remains of prehistoric creatures that aren’t mentioned in the Bible. T-Rex et al aren’t in the Good Book, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.

I won’t go on and on about evolution.

Nor will I say the Bible is incorrect. I happen to believe in both notions, that evolution and creationism aren’t mutually exclusive.

I also happen to believe that one of them should be taught in school, the other one should be taught in church.

One is based on science. The other is based on faith.

I just wish the four Republicans who want to be our next lieutenant governor would understand that as well.

Evolution, creationism aren’t mutually exclusive

Bill Moyers is one of the smarter people on the planet.

He’s also one of the more spiritual folks around, given that he once was ordained as a Baptist minister back in his native East Texas.

The link attached here talks about the “partisan divide” over whether life on Earth evolved over billions of years or was created by God in six days. The blog is written by a staffer on his “Moyers and Company” PBS show. Even though Moyers himself didn’t write it, he likely endorses its content.

http://billmoyers.com/2014/01/17/the-growing-partisan-divide-on-evolution/

I’ll posit this notion: The polling examined in this link is meaningless.

I’ve never for a moment believed that creationism and evolution were mutually exclusive theories. In my own heart and soul I believe they are the same.

I’ve read the Bible my entire life — or at least that portion of it in which I’ve been able to read. I know what it says in Genesis about how God created the world. However, I’ve always had difficulty believing He completed the task in six calendar days, you know, the way we measure time today.

I have long believed that the creation as told in the Bible is a metaphor for what actually occurred over a much, much, much longer period of time.

I’ll concede there’s no mention of T-Rex in the Bible or other such creatures. I cannot ignore, however, the mountains of scientific evidence of T-Rex’s existence at one time. Did God put those creatures on Earth? Sure he did. He’s God and is capable of doing anything — any … thing … at … all!

Gallup notes that Republicans believe more in the biblical story of creation more than Democrats. This is just me here spouting off, but that doesn’t make Republicans more God-fearing than Democrats.

Nor does the discussion of creationism and evolution mean they couldn’t have occurred at the same time.

Creationism vs. Evolution: Where’s the conflict?

Three of the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor are tripping over each other in the rush to pander to the extreme right wing of their party.

The issue this time is creationism. Should it be taught in our state’s public schools? Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick say “yes.” Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stopped short of that declaration.

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/12/12/texas-lt-gov-hopefuls-voice-support-creationism/

They traveled to Waco the other day to debate among themselves. By golly, three-fourths of them are creationists. They believe in the biblical version of Earth’s creation and they want it taught in public schools.

Me? I think creationism should be taught in Sunday school, in church where people worship their faith — where I worship my faith.

Even though Patterson didn’t jump on the creationism bandwagon directly in Waco, he said this: “Show me where that’s in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution. I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence, let those who wish to pray pray in their own faith. I see nothing wrong with having a prayer before a high school football game.”

Well, I believe the First Amendment is pretty clear that Congress shall make no laws establishing a state religion. I do agree with him, however, that prayer before a high school football game doesn’t violate the Constitution, if someone other than a public school administration calls for it.

Creationism is a tenet of one’s faith. Evolution is science, backed up by mountains of empirical evidence. One should be taught in church, the other should be taught in publicly funded school classrooms.

Here’s where it gets sticky, in my view. I do not see any contradiction in the two notions.

Creationism, according to my reading of the Bible, does not stipulate that God created the Universe in six calendar days.

Therefore, I do not see the contradiction between what Scripture tells us and what scientists have uncovered relating to the evolution of the universe.

Am I less of a believer in God than my friends who interpret Scripture differently? I think not.

Amen.