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Evolution Sunday

Evolution Sunday is coming up February 11, 2007. Some folks may be a bit concerned, or even seriously annoyed with the idea of an “evolution” Sunday. Is the theory of evolution going to become a point of Christian doctrine? Shall we celebrate evolution for a day?

Well, I can think of several subjects right off hand that would make good sermons that relate the theory of evolution to relevant topics in Christianity, and I would have no problem with preaching them, should I have the opportunity. (My venue is more commonly the classroom, but who knows?) But the real point of Evolution Sunday is to discuss the relationship between religion and science. Evolution seems to be the topic most commonly used to drive a wedge between the two, and the event is scheduled as near as possible to Charles Darwin’s birthday because he is made the focus of the controversy.

I have no greater desire to see evolution become an element of a Christian doctrine of creation than I do to see young earth creationism in that position. I would like Christianity to deal doctrinally with the doctrine of God and his relationship to his creation, and to leave the how to those who employ the scientific method. Getting those physical facts and coordinating them is what science does well. It is also something that religion generally does poorly.

So what I would suggest to churches is that they focus on the topic of science and religion, with an emphasis on living respectfully together as Christians in spite of our disagreements on the details of how God created. Let the congregation know that we can live together even when we disagree on matters of science. Believe it or not, young earthers, old earthers, ID advocates, and evolutionists can and do exist in the same congregation without immediate war breaking out.

This respect doesn’t mean that we have to give ground in debate or discussion. A vigorous exchange of ideas is important in seeking the truth. Too often respect is equated to agreement or even to the idea that what we believe doesn’t matter at all. What I would hope for is that members of Christian congregations could debate these issues without fear of being thrown out of the church or cut off from positions of authority.

So on February 11, 2007, consider talking about science and religion working together, about how we can both disagree and communicate our disagreement, and how we can place our focus on the essentials.

(For some ideas on the doctrine of creation, see the Energion Publications tract God the Creator.)

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