Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Getting Ready for Evolution Weekend


We are closing in on the 4th Anniversary of the first Evolution Sunday, which is morphing into Evolution Weekend so as to include other faith traditions. It will be my fourth time doing this -- the first three times as Pastor of First Christian Church of Lompoc. Now, I'm readying my current congregation for a similar observance. Yes, we will observe the birthday of Charles Darwin, who incidentally turns 200 on February 12, the same day that Abraham Lincoln also turns 200.

Laurie Lebo writes a most informative background article on this observance, focusing on Michael Zimmerman's efforts to support the teaching of evolution in our schools. I learned something in this essay (not that Indianapolis' Butler University is in Wisconsin -- a minor mistake). I didn't know that Zimmerman was himself an atheist. But unlike Richard Dawkins, he doesn't believe that using evolution as a platform for espousing atheism does science any good. What he discovered in his own efforts was that many religious people, including clergy believed that evolution and faith were compatible. That led him to conclude that maybe it's religious folk that need to take the lead. Though, I must say that Michael works tireously on this effort, and he has treated me as a religious leader with utmost respect. I don't feel like he's using me to further an end, rather he has invited me to participate in an important effort that vital implications. I've been only too eager to help!

Lebo closes with an extended quote from St. Augustine, who cautioned fellow Christians against posing their faith against the science of the day.

Usually even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens and the other elements of this world, about the motions 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 the 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 an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics…. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field in which they themselves know well and hear him maintain his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books and matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learned from experience in the light of reason?

So, won't you join me in celebrating Charles Darwin's birthday on the weekend of February 13-15?




4 comments:

Steve Kindle said...

Bob and other readers, I recently read a book that, if the author is correct, will change the substance of the argument between chance and design. It's by Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. Tarcher/Penguin 1998. The last chapter is a stinging analysis of the materialistic biases of modern science.

Bob, I wish we could get a section on this blog just for discussing this book. The great Huston Smith wants to call us back into preModern thinking; I now know what he means.

Steve Kindle said...

I probably should make it clear that Narby is an evolutionist, but he challenges the notion that there is no design or end involved. He does not argue for a religious position, and I doubt if he is religious.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Steve,

Could you write a review so we could get a conversation going?

Gary said...

No, I won't be celebrating Evolution Weekend with you Mr. Cornwall.

Come April, Charles Darwin will have been in Hell for 127 years. A lot of others have gone to Hell believing Darwin's lies. No doubt, more will follow.