Evolution v. Creationism v. ID

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by wil, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

    Not another thread. Say it isn't so.

    It isn't.

    This isn't to debate what is what or what we think or believe.

    But Thomas mentioned in another thread that this was an American argument.

    And it is a prevelant argument here. I wouldn't know where folks lie exactly but a significant number believe in Creation as depicted in the bible.

    But what I am wondering, from what you know about the discussions in your respective countries or elsewhere where you see this argument continuing.

    ie Italy or Greece, homes of orthodox Christianity?

    Israel?

    The Islamic world?

    Again not a debate as to what is right, but what still has a strong following in your neck of the woods or other countries/areas you know of.

    What foothold does Creationism have, and/or what form of ID is espoused?
     
  2. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    evolution can stand on its own with or without a Creator. "intelligent design" is a trojan horse for young-earth creationists and is, as far as i am aware, not a scientifically respectable field.

    as much as i detest richard dawkins' views on religion, he makes the case for evolution extremely well. if only he was as assiduous in checking his facts and methodology outside his chosen field.

    i recommend dan dennett's book "darwin's dangerous idea" for a clear discussion of this issue. although he is an atheist and sees no need for the Divine, or a Creator, or religion, he is far more robust and even-handed in addressing the field than dawkins is, probably because he's a philosopher.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Wil —

    I found this on a UK Russian Orthodox site. I've highlighted a point here and there that's germain to the discussion.

    First of all, let us be clear. With the interpretation of the first chapters of the Book of Genesis, we are not talking about dogmas. If there are Christians who are happy to interpret those first chapters literally, then so be it. However, I think that they are a tiny minority among all Christians.

    After all, the conflict between Darwin's theory of evolution and the literal interpretation of Genesis affected and affects above all Protestant societies, as in nineteenth century Britain or in the present-day United States. This is because Protestants lack a Patristic understanding of the Scriptures. That is, they do not understand the Scriptures spiritually, ascetically, allegorically, poetically, but only literally. We call such an understanding 'fundamentalist'. This explains why Darwin's theories have posed far fewer problems in both Roman Catholic and Orthodox societies than in Protestant societies.

    Protestant culture is overwhelmingly literary and verbal, it is weak in terms of symbols and allegories, just as it is weak in its development of art, painting and music. It must be said, therefore, that many of the Protestant struggles to interpret the Scriptures are irrelevant outside Protestant societies and their cultural and mental conditioning. Just as Protestants struggle with the issue of 'women-priests', they also struggle with the issue of interpreting the Book of Genesis. Other Christians often feel totally unconcerned by either question, because they have other values. Indeed, the Protestant questions seem to us to be false problems. Below we go through a list of classic misunderstandings, which arise from a literalist understanding of the first chapters of the Book of Genesis."

    I think this perhaps locates the issue, not that Americans are American, but that they are Protestant, and have inherited a Protestant perspective, which I believe has made its mark even in Catholic circles.

    Thomas
     
  4. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    What Protestants only understand the Text literally? I think you are talking about Protestant churches (ie. their leadership) not Protestants in general. I also think the proper term should be "fundamentalist Protestants," not just "Protestants."

    People learn by example. These "examples" when passed on from member to member and generation to generation produce habits and patterns of behaviour in people belonging to a particular church or denomination.

    A lot of the problems in Protestant churches have been caused by these habits. Protestant churches may vary in dogma and doctrine, but the way many of them formulate dogma and doctrine is very similar. That's because when one church splits in two, the two child churches inherit the way of formulating doctrine and way of interpreting the Text that was employed in the original. My personal view on this is that the two child churches ultimately don't solve the problem because the real problem is the way of approaching Christianity, not what you specifically believe about Christianity. It's method, not doctrine. Many Protestant churches, particularly the fundamentalist ones, employ flawed methods and approaches to their Christian spirituality. (I am not a Catholic or Orthodox, I don't agree entirely with their methods, but I agree that their methods are often better than those employed in Protestant churches.)

    These problems come from the fact that many of the leaders of Protestant churches lack proper education. Many of them are grass-roots leaders, who have not studied science, politics, different cultures and history. Many of them believe their own ignorance is a virtue. They like to think they are wise without education and knowledge. It seems to a lot of them that education and knowledge compromises faith. I just don't agree with that, even though I am "one of their kind."

    People's beliefs depend on their personal life experiences. The fundamentalist bases his/her beliefs on his/her limited knowledge and experience of life and of the world, but mistakenly assumes that that knowledge and experience is sufficient to form an objective view of the world. The mistake is not forming beliefs on our limited experience, but in assuming that our limited experience can lead to an objective view of the world. The person who is not fundamentalist knows that his/her limited experience is unlikely (perhaps never) going to lead to an objective view of the world and thus either remains quiet about his/her beliefs or just says, "this is just my view at this present moment in time."

    Fundamentalism is rampant in Protestant churches not because they are poorly educated in the traditions of Christianity, nor because of their leaders' poor education in the faith, but because the culture of fundamentalism is so strong in many of its churches.

    Nobody really teaches people to "interpret Scripture literally." People just do it. Even when people mention the word "literal," they don't question the validity of interpreting literally and even when they do, they lack the knowledge and life experience to not interpret what they regard as "literal."

    This is, actually what leads to the phenomenon of "literal interpretation." There is really no such thing as a consistent literal interpretation that is common to all people. That is because the Bible is a piece of literature, and all literature contains subjectivities and ambiguities. A person reading literature uses his/her personal life experiences and accumulated knowledge to extract meaning from it, contemplate its purpose, its uses, its implications, its usefulness, etc.

    Ultimately, what a person calls his own "literal interpretation" is really just his own view based on the best and sum total of his limited knowledge and life experience. It is based on a person's assessment that "hey, I've got the big picture," and that seeing the big picture means that the person was able to come up with an answer to the problems in his religion. The reason why there is still a problem is because the method he employs fails to eliminate all the problems and simply creates a new one. ie. a new denomination, school of thought, etc.

    The sola scriptura doctrine is strong in many Protestant churches, particularly the fundamentalist ones. It's an issue even among non-fundamentalist Protestant churches because Protestant churches don't recognise Catholic and Orthodox churches (ie. the belief that no wisdom can ever come from the Catholic church because it's considered authoritarian, elitist, etc. and therefore not taken into consideration) because they compare themselves to other Protestant churches. Even when they compare themselves to Catholic and Orthodox, they apply the same method of deciding between literal and non-literal, sola scriptura or non-sola-scriptura.

    People often do what they do without regard for whether they know enough to decide, once and for all, what's right. What people have to realise is that the lack of one-single-answer is inherent in politics and the Bible and Christianity is full of politics. Maybe it's the same with Judaism as well. You tell me (if you're Jewish).

    The problem is caused by the folly of assuming one's own objectivity, and of overestimating the value of one's own opinions.:eek: (and lol, how ironic, but I hope I have contributed something useful here.)
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Evolution v. Creationism v. ID?

    :rolleyes:

    Since a detailed response would derail this thread, I will give the most succinct and thorough yet simple thought that comes immediately to mind: :p
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    OK, well if the thread is gonna cool off anyway, I suppose a little sidetrack won't hurt.

    OK, so far so good.

    Could it be that is because Darwin and his theory was from the West? More to the point, that evolution is still challenged dogmatically and fundamentally outside of western cultures (Harun Yayah <sp?> as example), or co-opted and redressed (Hindu and Buddhist as examples) if not ignored outright (as in China and other Asian cultures) until comparatively recently.

    I disagree that the rich Protestant tradition has no spiritual, ascetic, allegorical or poetic understanding of scripture. Perhaps it is not as evident among some denominations when the subject considered is the Genesis Creation, but as the author pointed out at first; "I think that they are a tiny minority among all Christians."

    I am also led to wonder if the reason "both Roman Catholic and Orthodox societies" have "far fewer problems" with Darwinian Theory has more to do with the long standing backlash from the refusal of Copernican Cosmology and the house arrest of Gallileo than in any real tolerance of evolutionary science.

    This comment particularly hit me most strongly. The Darwinian argument is longstanding and the sides are known well enough. But this comment particularly shows a biased misinformation. The Protestant Reformation is overwhelmingly literary and verbal not because it is "weak in terms of symbols," but because it has dissociated itself from the icons, relics and idolatry that Catholism is awash in. One need only compare the Ten Commandments as written in the KJV side by side with the same Ten Commandments as written in any English language Catholic Bible of choice to see the difference, and that the difference is specifically to allow for gross symbolism in the form of idols and relics. These are viewed in the Protestant tradition as against G-d's direction as specified in the Ten Commandments.

    It would be interesting to insert the Jewish POV here regarding the use of idols, relics, icons and other religious statuary because it has long been my understanding that the use of such is distinctly forbidden, per the Ten Commandments, and I see no use of such in traditional Jewish worship expressions.

    IOW, from my POV, the insistant use of idols, icons and relics seems to me another intrinsic connection to the Paganism of Rome, specifically, as Christianity was co-opted and morphed into the modern institution begun around Nicea. Thou shalt have before you graven images is a distinctly Pagan POV, not a Jewish POV from which Christianity came.

    Protestism has its art, chiefly music and philosophy; but is decidedly and *purposefully* lacking in graven images.

    OOOOH, boy! What then are we to say of Catholic societies? Surely Catholic conditioning is irrelevent outside of them? What is more, there is a seeming social schizophrenia run amok within some of those societies, no? Oh sure, one can point to the gleaming examples of Italy, Spain, or perhaps Poland as models of exemplary Catholic societies. But what of Mexico, and the Virgin of Gualalupe, who seems in every respect to mimic the Virgin Mary herself! Or what of Haiti, 90% Catholic and 100% Voodun! Do not let these scant examples seem as exceptions, any good history and methodology of the expansion of the Catholic Church will demonstrate far more examples that show these are normative. The Catholic Church excels in playing the chameleon, morphing with local religious structures and co-opting them to its own ends, and calling the amalgamation "Christian." In the name of Catholism we have cultural examples known well to anthroplogists of behaviors any self-respecting Protestant would cringe and cower from being enmeshed with Catholic trappings and being called Christian.

    Shortly after I started hanging out at IF, I came across an article I shared here about a tribe in Turkey who to their own way of thinking were devout Catholics, who also slaughtered live sacrifice to appease local "deities." This is distinctly un-Biblical in Protestant eyes, but apparently quite typical among the Catholic conquests.

    American or not, Protestant or not, I think there is much left unspoken by Catholics unless specifically called to account. This article is a case in point, laying whatever it can at the feet of Protestants in the hope that sheer ignorance on the part of said Protestants and people in general will carry the day for their side.

    Some Protestants are not so ignorant, nor easily swayed.

    As always the caveat that sustains me is that I have known many, many good and decent people in my life who happened to be Catholic. My gripe is not with them, by and large they are every bit as ignorant of the past history of their institution as any given Protestant. The Catholic institution however, does draw my ire from time to time with such biased and lop-sided diatribes as this. One would think a scholar should know better.
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Catholic vs. Protestant Commandments: Different Versions of the Ten Commandments

    Notice the Second Commandment not to have any graven images is conspicuously missing from the Catholic version of the Ten Commandments. The Protestant Tenth Commandment is then split in two to comprise the Ninth and Tenth Catholic Commandments, and the other Commandments are shifted accordingly.

    If anybody has any interest or want of validation for my preceeding comments.

    Sorry for the derail Wil, but Thomas brought it up and the thread was sitting idle anyway...

    I posted to the Jewish board to get that point of view...
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I was once an atheist who believed in evolution. It was the lack of hard scientific evidence filled in by atheistic dogma regarding the theory of evolution that lead me to question my atheism.

    I don't think you can chalk up my questioning my atheism and my questioning abiogenesis and macro evolution to a lack of education. Rather, I would say that not questioning abiogenesis and macro evolution is an act of faith, due to a lack of proper examination. :rolleyes:
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Oh sure Seattlegal...you just *had* to go and put this thread back on track, didn't you?... :D

    I *t r i e d* to exchange one convoluted contortion of a conundrum for another...but nooooooooooooo.

    Luv ya anyway... ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  10. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Want some popcorn?
    [​IMG]
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Guess we really don't have enough outside the US to say whether the argument exists elsewhere...
     
  12. Selaphiel

    Selaphiel Active Member

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    I'm from Norway (protestant church) and I can say that the discussion is pretty much non-existent here. The issues that are discussed here are issues like gay marriage, gay priests, religion in schools and abortion (not as much as the rest, but it is there).
    I have no problem with evolution or science in general. Science is a question of how something happened, while religion is more about why it happens in my opinion. I believe God is transcendent (beyond empiricism) and fundamental (ultimate cause). How he created everything is not very relevant as far I'm concerned.

    I think reading Genesis literally is a major mistake, even before we knew about any other "theories". Our understanding of the ancient Hebrew texts like texts have been a bit tainted by our poor understanding of the culture they originate from.
     
  13. Snoopy

    Snoopy zennish

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  14. JosephM

    JosephM Well-Known Member

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    Greetings All,

    I'm from nowhere and it seems to me evolution and creationism are two sides of the same coin.
     
  15. WizardDevil

    WizardDevil Member

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    I'm from New Jersey. Of course, in the United States, and it is actually pretty prevelent here. I have many friends who are creationists, from non-denominational Christians to Evangelicals to Jehovah's Witnesses, all supporting the idea of Creationism from different viewpoints. I also have many friends who are Evolutionists, although not necessarily very knowledgeable on the subject. I wouldn't say that many of them are followers of Darwin, however many of the people here believe in the idea that people follow religions because they need something to believe in (Which I agree with) and that they are ignorant of the facts of Evolution and that such (Which I don't necessarily agree with).

    Many questions arise in my mind when it comes to Genesis and whether or not to take it literal. Why, exactly, did God need any amount of time to do things, let alone day? Why would a day mean more if God really didn't need the time? What was he doing?

    I comfort myself with a scripture from Luke - Luke 10:22. Perhaps I don't understand what exactly was going on, because I cannot understand these two individuals entirely.

    Now, scripture actually supports the idea that God DID use 24 hour day cycles when He used the word day in the Bible

    Genesis 1:5 - And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (KJV)

    A day in God's terms is refered to as an evening and a morning combined. Perhaps, however, there is something I have missed, which I don't believe, but please point out to me if I am. Based on that, what does Jewish culture have to do with it? From my understanding, day's were broken up into subdivisions, yes, but they still comprised of an evening and a morning, spanning from sunset to sunset. Now, no, Genesis shouldn't be taken literally, because in today's terms, we have an afternoon and a late night, so, if God's days are an evening and a morning, afternoon and late night don't really fit. But I don't think the term day was used ambiguously in Genesis as some believe. It had a definite time span, and this span was roughly 24 hours. Again, though, if I've missed something point it out. And I don't believe Genesis was poetic or symbolic in any fashion. I believe it was just an account of the beginning of history.

    Evolution and creation just don't mix based on that. You can't fit millions of years into the Bible - It just doesn't work.

    As to its prevelence in other places than America, I would have no idea, honestly.
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    oh, it works all right. it just doesn't work like evangelists and the ID/creationist lobby think it does, let alone in english translation. which is why there is nothing wrong with evolution at all from a traditional religious jewish standpoint.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Hi, WizardDevil, and welcome to IO.

    Regarding your question regarding a 'day' being the division of the light from the dark, in conjunction with the scripture from Luke 10, you might want to check out John chapter 1. :)
     
  18. JosephM

    JosephM Well-Known Member

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    WizardDevil,

    If Genesis is not symbolic, please show me what a tree of knowlege of 'good' and 'evil' looks like. And while you are at it, how about a serpent who talks and numerous other statements that make no sense when viewed literally.
     
  19. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    For us it could only be conceived of as an upside down tree in three dimensions. However, in reality, it is six dimensional
     
  20. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Before trying to understand day and night, what do you think is meant by the "light?" It exists before the creation of suns so what is this light. Day and night refer to how it is continually created and how it eventually becomes light as we perceive it.

     

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