Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Washington Post Hearts Fundamentalism

runs directly counter to most major world religions, which teach that
God created the world in some form or another.” That pithy, “Voice of
God” sentence was written yesterday by Julia Duin, late of the Washington Times, now anchor of the Washington Post‘s On Faith daily discussion of religion in the news. Come again?

Evolution does not run directly counter to Buddhism or Hinduism; indeed,
the latter tends to be sympathetic to evolutionary ways of thinking.
Nor does Islam consider itself “countered” by evolution. Much of the
Judeo-Christian world accepts evolution, and not just liberal
Protestantism. Mainstream Orthodox Judaism is down with evolution, “properly understood.” So is the Vatican. Mormonism has no official position on the subject.


Sure, you can find adherents of all of the above religious traditions
who oppose evolution. But the only tradition that believes itself to be
directly countered by evolution is fundamentalist Christianity, which
emerged in the early 20th century in part to combat Darwinian theory and
what it considered its baleful effects on Christian orthodoxy. To that
end, the early fundamentalists invented the idea of biblical “inerrancy”
and made it a pillar of their faith.

Duin advances the notion that what sets the world’s religions against
evolution is the widely shared (“in some form or other”) teaching that
God created the world. But such a view only makes sense if your
understanding of creation is the classic inerrantist one: creation
according to the Genesis account of the Six Days, complete with all the
living creatures in their present form. It’s fair to say, however, that
the preponderance of magisterial religious teaching these days is that
evolution is consistent with divine creation.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

“now anchor of the Washington Post’s On Faith daily discussion of religion in the news”
Except, of course, that creationism isn’t part of any “daily discussion of religion”, nor is it “in the news” except when right-wing, fundamentalist, religionist pundits put it there in order to continue to wage a culture war.
Are there no thinking creationists who can understand that maybe, just maybe the “Six Days” theory might have been an, um, ANALOGY? I mean, when I went to Sunday School, we were taught that a thousand years is “like the blink of an eye” to God. How many ‘blinks of an eye’ could happen in six days??? Do the math, as the kids used to say.

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posted February 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

While evolution certainly clashes with biblical literalism, all is not well even when you take an allegorical view. In particular, the theory of evolution is a rats nest for Christian theology with regards to the problem of evil.
The lion never laid down with the lamb, as suffering and conflict is built into the system. Indeed, the nastier bits of human nature can be seen as an outgrowth of genetic self interest at work on our psychology.
In such a universe it becomes hard to accept that evil is the result of rebellion against God’s will, and not something God wanted in the first place. That does conflict with the omni-benevolent claims about God.

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posted February 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Oh Dear!
I would have thought that by now the whole Genesis thing would be a mere footnote. The Epic of Gilgamesh predates Genesis by about one thousand years. Yet, there are 12 points of perfect convergence in
the separate stories. Hence, nothing original in the Genesis account save one fact. Gilgamesh results in a Panoply of Gods: Genesis results in One God.
Time to move on. I find that String Theory provides more hope for
possibilities telative to salvation and heaven and resurrection. Why?
It provides for at least ten dimensions. I also find comfort in
reading about particle physics because the practitioners use faith
language in their assessments. Example:- It must be true since the
findings are so beautiful. Science and religion are getting together. True there are notable exceptions like Dawkins. But just
think Jesus may well have been the first man to consciously Beam Up.
The Genesis/Evolution stuff is just so tired!
In Deo Jubilo!

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NY Barrister

posted February 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Have Ms. Quinn and Mr. Meacham abandoned the religion beat at the WP? Frankly, Ms.Quinn came across as spectacularly under qualified for that position, as a person lacking profound knowledge of the dogmas and positions of various faiths. If she had such information, she hid it under the proverbial bushel basket.
Now Ms. Duin follows in the same tradition. The least attractive features of cable news (no complexity, nuance or depth) have migrated to the print media. Is any reader surprised? Dumb it down as a philosophy of communication has become as American as apple pie.

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posted February 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Mark Silk is right to criticize Julia Duin’s broad and inaccurate statement. But I was taken aback to read that the Vatican is “down with evolution.” Instead of using Wikipedia as his source, Silk should consider using Vatican sources, such as John Paul II’s address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996), where he speaks of “evolution as more than an hypothesis,” and says that “truth cannot contradict the truth.” (Actually the Wikipedia article to which you link quotes this address and is far more nuanced than is indicated.)

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