[extropy-chat] Religion: A discussion

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 11 22:53:59 UTC 2004

--- Brent Neal <brentn at freeshell.org> wrote:
>  (2/11/04 8:10) Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >The Catholic Church has endorsed evolution, as have the
> >Unitarian/Universalists, while the Congregationalists are generally
> in
> >agreement, but getting them all to agree on anything in particular
> is
> >difficult. Anglican Bishop Robinson of NH has endorsed evolution as
> >well, last I heard.
> No. Because 1) The Catholic Church has -not- to my knowledge,
> endorsed evolution. 

It has. In 1996, the Pope himself made a public speech which stated
that it accepted various theories of evolution as valid scientific
theses EXCEPT scientific creationism. The Vatican's only difficulty
with some evolutionary theories is with materialistic claims that both
holy and human spirit, or qualia, is an emergent epiphenomenon of the
process of evolution, rather than an inherent property of the
pre-Big-Bang universe.

Evolution, both biological and cosmological, are accepted by the
Vatican and endorsed by its science academies. It is taught in Catholic
schools at all levels, from elementary to university level, and NOT on
an equal basis to creationism.

TO the Catholic Church, creationism is a heretical dependence upon
materialism to prove the literalness of a mythology which even the
Church currently accepts as metaphorical and not literal. You can even
find in many Catholic editions of the bible a footnote that the story
of genesis is not to be taken literally, but is a metaphor of God's
relationship to man.

The Church's acceptance of evolution has also been personally confirmed
to me by the 2nd in command of the La Sallette Order, who works at the
Vatican, and is a personal friend.

> 2) UUA is -not- Christian, as I stated before,

>From the UUA website:
"What about Jesus?

Classically, Unitarian Universalist Christians have understood Jesus as
a savior because he was a God-filled human being, not a supernatural
being. He was, and still is for many UUs, an exemplar, one who has
shown the way of redemptive love, in whose spirit anyone may live
generously and abundantly. Among us, Jesus' very human life and
teaching have been understood as products of, and in line with, the
great Jewish tradition of prophets and teachers. He neither broke with
that tradition nor superseded it.

Are Unitarian Universalists Christian?

Yes and no.

Yes, some Unitarian Universalists are Christian. Personal encounter
with the spirit of Jesus as the christ richly informs their religious

No, Unitarian Universalists are not Christian, if by Christian you mean
those who think that acceptance of any creedal belief whatsoever is
necessary for salvation. Unitarian Universalist Christians are
considered heretics by those orthodox Christians who claim none but
Christians are "saved." (Fortunately, not all the orthodox make that

Yes, Unitarian Universalists are Christian in the sense that both
Unitarian and Universalist history are part of Christian history. Our
core principles and practices were first articulated and established by
liberal Christians. "

> which leads me to believe that not only did you not read my email,
> you also have no idea what you're talking about, and the Anglican
> church has -not- endorsed evolution, which I know because I -was-
> Anglican before I left. 

The Anglican Church website does not make any statements on evolution.
However the following link has this to say about evolution and
christianity in general:

To many people the relationship between science and religion is
epitomized by the clash over evolution. Over the past two decades
America has seen a significant rise in the number of Christian
"creationists" who believe the biblical story of creation must be taken
literally, and that the universe was therefore created in six days just
over six thousand years ago. But although there are some Christians who
insist on taking the Genesis account literally, the majority of
Christian believers understand this story metaphorically. Recently, the
Vatican Observatory in conjunction with the Berkeley-based Center for
Theology and the Natural Sciences held a conference on the issue of
evolution to which they invited theologians, philosophers, and
scientists from around the world. Here, Christian participants
overwhelming agreed that evolution was not in conflict with Christian
faith, and that on the contrary it could be seen as the way in which
God goes about being creative within the world. For these believers, an
understanding of the processes of evolution could indeed enhance their

The controversy over biological evolution began in 1859 when Charles
Darwin published his monumental book "On the Origin of Species by Means
of Natural Selection". Darwin's book suggested that instead of being
specially created by God, humans were the product of biological
evolution. As he later wrote: "Man is descended from a hairy quadruped,
furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its
habits." Many religious believers in the nineteenth century felt that
Darwinian evolution had robbed humanity of its dignity, for how could
humans be created in the image of God if we were the descendants of
apes? Faced with this dilemma, they rebelled against Darwin's theory.
Yet even in the nineteenth century there were many theologians and
ministers - both Catholic and Protestant - who did not see a conflict
between their faith and Darwin's science. These more liberal thinkers
often went to great lengths to convince the public that evolution could
be harmonized with traditional religious views and values.

Today a new generation of Christian thinkers is again stressing that an
evolutionary perspective is compatible with their faith. A leading
voice in this debate is the Oxford University biochemist Arthur
Peacocke. Peacocke, who is now also an ordained minister in the
Anglican Church, believes that evolution can even enhance understanding
of the Judeo-Christian God. Whereas biblical literalists insist that
creation was a once only event that happened at the beginning of time,
Peacocke notes that evolution is compatible with the Christian idea of
creatio continua, the notion that God is continuously creating. As he
explains: "Whatever we meant by God being creator, it wasn't something
that God did once in the past, and then walked off ... It's something
that's going on all the time."

The point here is not that one must see God in the process of
evolution, but rather that there is nothing inherently incompatible
between an evolutionary view of life and a commitment to the Christian

Mike Lorrey
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
                                       - Gen. John Stark
"Fascists are objectively pro-pacifist..."
                                       - Mike Lorrey
Do not label me, I am an ism of one...
Sado-Mikeyism: http://mikeysoft.zblogger.com

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