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.