posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 05:38 AM
I guess I should state up front I'm not particularly Christian or even religious for that matter. On the other hand, I'm not really anti-religious
I think, especially in the U.S., people can get the impression of religion being shoved down their throat. I grew up in the Bible belt and I never
could accept the easy belief that came to so many of my family and neighbors. It's not enough for me to merely believe in some superior being, I
have to understand why I should hold those beliefs.
In the context of the evolution debate, I think many Christians sort of set themselves up for failure. I've always viewed evolution as a theory of
development, whereas Christiantity speaks to ultimate origins. I won't call Christianity a "theory" since it doesn't really operate at the level
of a scientifc perspective, nor does it have to. It's not clear from the Christian scriptures, for example, that Genesis should be read as even a
mythological account of the world's creation. It most certainly can be read that way, but I think at the time that Genesis was compiled, (around
600-500 BC, during the Babylonian captivity) that these stories were meant to express the pride and uniqueness that the hebrews had in their god, that
stood above all other gods.
So, I think a hebrew at that time would have shrugged their sholders about having learned the mechanism of evolution, since they weren't writing
Genesis as a pre-scientific description of the world's origin. I know that intelligent design theory is supposed to be more nuanced attempt than the
straight, creation based theory noted above, but ultimately their force of persuasion for religious minded people spring from the ultimate, creative
capacity they attribute to God.
I don't think very many scientists, if they thought carefully about the matter, would hold that science can provide foundations for the sorts of
questions that poets, theologians, ethicists, artists, and a variety of other human ways of knowing and grappling with out existence put forward. On
the other hand, I'm not sure religion has a particular monopoly on these questions either.