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EVOLUTION OR RELIGION?

by Tim O'Donnell | July 23rd, 2010

The continuing condemnation of evolution from an assortment of religious types, and conversely, the outright rejection of religion by science types, points directly to another of the many deep divisions in our culture of polarity these days.  To many, there is a rule that seems to demand us to choose one or the other – science or religion.  If one believes in evolution they must reject religion and any ideas about the divine. Likewise, people of faith should reject any notion that evolution is an actual and real depiction of what is true; true “believers” must reject this scientific theory of evolution.

RIDICULOUS BOTH!

This reminds me of growing up in Chicago where you had to choose.  On important religious matters in Chi-town, i.e. baseball, one could not be a follower of both the Cubs and the White Sox – you had to pick.  Not only did you have to root for one, it was also imperative that you root against the other.  In Chicago, you always had two favorite teams; the Cubs (for example) and whoever was playing against the Sox. This dogma was sacred.  (As it should be.)

To reject the science of evolution due to religious belief is simply stubbornly choosing to cling to an uninformed position.  To reject any possibility of a supreme intelligence due to science is close-minded to anything that doesn’t readily offer “physical proof”.  Having to choose one or the other of these two makes much less sense to me than being forced to choose between ball teams.

MY TAKE

Evolution articulates a picture of the truth about reality, maybe not the whole and entire truth, but the science behind this “theory” (I’m not sure why we keep calling evolution theoretical) continues to expand upon itself toward an increasingly larger depiction of what is real. It doesn’t have anything to do with religion and those who have religious beliefs that are threatened by it must have a fragile faith in their belief system.

Religion, which also attempts to articulate the truth about reality never evolves once it becomes institutionalized. To hold on to beliefs as truth that was articulated two thousand years ago is rather “un-evolved”.  Religion doesn’t have anything to do with science per se’, and those who look down on people of faith as being childish and/or superstitious are brittle in their intellect and condescending.

They both (science and religion) address the same questions from different points of view. One keeps expanding its articulation of reality; the other is stuck in antiquity.

IN OTHER WORDS (Windier, loftier, expanded version of same)

Science continues to expand upon its accumulated body of knowledge.  It continues to ask and answer questions even when the new answers or discoveries render a previous scientific doctrine obsolete.  Science does not assume any of its answers are the definitive last word – it keeps searching for better answers and a clearer picture of reality. As we are increasingly able to comprehend, science continues to evolve.

Most religious belief systems articulate an understanding of truth originally articulated or “deposited” into human consciousness by an enlightened spiritual master.  The followers of the master then formulate the deposit into an organized system and then the belief system is typically institutionalized.  Once institutionalized, by its very nature the religion resists questioning and stymies any advancing articulation of the original deposit.  As we increase our capacity to comprehend, religion continues to stay the same.

Just think how much more we would understand as a species if religion, like science, evolved along with our ability to comprehend.

I know, I know,  I probably sound like an enlightened, well educated inhabitant of Wrigleyville, but… Go White Sox!!

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The Book

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Below is a discussion about three separate issues related to the “Spiritual but Not Religious” conversation that seems to be forming today.  Joining me in the discussion is Pastor Bob Cornwall of Central Woodward Christian Church in Troy Michigan and Reverend Matt Appling of Levi’s House in Kansas City; the panel discussion is moderated by […]

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