Evolution Sunday/Darwin Day

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The Rev. Richard E. Edwards will not mince words in his sermon today about God and Charles Darwin, the 19th century naturalist whose theory of evolution rocked the world.

“I want to reaffirm the compatibility of Biblical tradition and modern science,” said Edwards, pastor of Stony Brook Community Church, a small, Methodist congregation that draws members from the nearby university and medical center. “This is a community where science counts, and where folks really need to hear that.”

Source Compromise between Darwin and God

See also Google Related Stories for more newspaper articles and links on Evolution Sunday

Evolution Sunday is part of a broader campaign begun a year ago called the Clergy Letter Project. Through e-mail and word-of-mouth, 10,266 clergy have now signed an online letter backing evolution as “a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.”

Evolution Sunday

On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

The list is huge, no wonder the DI seems to be running scared.

60 Comments

Well, that’s quite a laundry list, PvM. Honestly, thanks for offering it. I say that because there’s not that much going on in my hometown about Evolution Sunday. Only one church in my hometown was mentioned in a Saturday newspaper article as officially taking part, a really small Unity Church of Christianity group.

So naturally, I am curious about how ole St. Darwin was/is panning out in other cities and other churches. So again, thanks for the laundry list. I’ll take a look at some.

You know, PvM, I was kinda hopin’ that some Evolution-Sunday or Clergy-Letter-Project clergy would visit your thread here today to personally talk about what they did or said today. (Any Evolution-Sunday clergy folks in the house?)

******

Well, in the meantime, I can tell you how things proceeded at the local church I attend. Our church, http://www.faithtempletopeka.com , really isn’t into devoting entire Sunday services or entire sermons to evolution (nor any other controversies of the day).

We seek Christ-centered worship and praise, and Bible-centered preaching and teaching, and all of it Spirit-filled. That’s our goal and our focus, in general. So an entire Sunday morning devoted to Darwin (or ID, or abortion, or other such topics) would not be on our plate (though we may naturally touch on assorted news-of-the-day topics briefly while speaking to the congregation.)

However, since this was my Sunday to emcee the proceedings, I did decide to offer 4 or 5 minutes in honor of Evolution Sunday, so I did inform the congregation of the occasion and of the Saturday newspaper article. Desiring to “do my part for the cause”, as I informed them.

I then proceeded to inform them that Douglas Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology 3d edition declared that the process responsible for ~their~ origins, human origins, the process of evolution, was “A completely mindless process”, with “No conscious forethought” attached to their origination as humans, “No Purpose”, and “No Goal” to their origination as humans.

Since evolution says there was/is no conscious forethought, no purpose, no goal, attached to their origination as humans, I then mentioned a plausibly logical conclusion concerning them:

“You are an accident. Your being here is an accident. And as for your future, let’s not bother discussing your future.”

I then mentioned Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

.…and asked them to “Imagine that.”

Imagine that Somebody did do some conscious forethought about each one of them before they were even born.

Imagine that their existence actually came about with Somebody actually having a purpose and a goal for their particular lives even before they existed at all. Imagine real plans and purposes, really existing, specifically created for each person’s life, plans and purposes not to trash you, but to prosper you, plans and purposes to actually give you hope AND a future too (imagine that!).

I closed with a small reminder of Mayr:

“Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations”

followed by a small reminder of God:

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jer. 32:27

…and a small reminder that according to Gen. 2:7 and Gen. 2:21,22, humans don’t have any ancestors at all.

And that’s how Evolution Sunday went at my church. I’m interested in hearing how things went at your church. So, how did things go at your church(s), readers?

FL

How sad to hear that you had to represent science in a light not really supported by any logic. Quote mining indeed…

I’ll keep you and your congregation in my prayers my dear friend.

Thank God tens of thousands of pastors seem to take their task more seriously. Evolution Sunday, the Clergy Letter all are spreading the ‘good news’. Eventually people will find out.

Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton Wrote:

>”As intelligent Christians, we need to be good stewards of our intellect and explore the deeper, complex and compelling mysteries that are at the intersection of faith and science,”.

While scripture is the “inspired word of God” and is “given to all people as a revelation for the salvation, or transformation of our lives,” it is not a “textbook for scientific truth.”

Amen

Zimmerman hopes Evolution Sunday, which will be observed in every state except Arkansas, will help publicize the success of The Clergy Letter Project, and already there are signs of a growing desire among some Christian communities to publicly affirm evolutionary principles. The Roman Catholic Church recently moved to reaffirm and clarify its acceptance of evolution as valid science. Last month, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, published an article in which Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, argued that presenting ID as scientific theory creates confusion between the realms of science and religion. And two weeks later, the Reverend George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory in Arizona, affirmed the validity of evolution as a scientific theory in an address at Palm Beach Atlantic University, an interdenominational Christian university with about 3,100 students. Because the Bible is not a source of scientific knowledge, he said, it complicates matters to interpret evolution in biblical terms

Source

Let the good news spread I say… All states but Arkansas, over 400 churches, over 10,000 clergy people.

And that’s how Evolution Sunday went at my church. I’m interested in hearing how things went at your church. So, how did things go at your church(s), readers?

I’m more interested in how ID went in court, FL.

So, how did ID go in your court?

Evolution Sunday was a bit of a bust at my church because of the record blizzard. I got stuck trying to get home afterward.

The Pope weighs in on Darwin Day: Pope Says Science and Religion are Compatible

February 12, 2006 12:00 p.m. EST

Denise Royal - All Headline News Staff Writer

Vatican City, Rome (AHN) — Pope Benedict says science and religion are not opposed to each other and Christians should not be afraid to try to understand how they compliment each other in explaining the mystery of life on Earth, according to the Vatican’s doctrinal department.

The Pope made his comments at a time of heated debate about intelligent design arguments challenging evolution. A Pennsylvania court ruled in December that intelligent design could not be taught as science in school.

Intelligent design supporters have been trying to get it taught as science in biology classes alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution, which some Christian conservatives oppose. Its opponents rejected this as having no scientific basis at all.

The dialogue between religion and science would actually help the faithful see “the logic of faith in God,” said the Pope, speaking to members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Scientific discoveries sometimes came so rapidly “that it becomes very complicated to recognize how they are compatible with the truth revealed by God about man and the world,” says the German-born Pontiff.

For an opposing point of view, we turn to Pope Benedict XVI on Dec 25, 2005: Pope issues ‘wake-up’ call

POPE Benedict XVI issued a spiritual wake-up call today, telling pilgrims in his traditional Christmas Day message they risked “spiritual barrenness” if they become too involved in modern-day intellectual and technical achievements.

The pope told tens of thousands of pilgrims in a rain-soaked St Peter’s Square that “men and women in our technological age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart.” …

ivy, I’m not sure the Pope is saying contradictory things: his point appears to be that science is a viable and acceptable technique for investigating the ‘miracle’ that the church claims the world is. But that abandoning the spiritual side is a danger.

I’d be the first to admit that we need all the prayers we can get on our little corner, PvM.

But rest assured I took my four or five minutes very seriously (albeit with a smile and a few lively gestures) and gave my best shot to the congregation.

******

I would have loved to have had the Sunday morning time to repeat all the quotations and explanations I’ve offered in your other thread. I’d have loved to have the time to explain to them what the scientific method says and doesn’t say; and especially discuss the difference between data and interpretation regarding claims made in the name of evolution.

–But since the time wasn’t available, I simply picked out Weisberg’s “prevailing scientific view” that is so very clearly expressed by Futuyma’s textbook negatives;

–pointed to one (just one) of that view’s negative implications for Christians (indeed, for all humans);

–and then pointed to “God’s prevailing view” from the Scriptures, so that the people would be reminded and inspired by the knowledge of who they are, Whose they are, and resultantly that their lives are full of meaningful purpose and goal-directedness, full of wonderful (dare we say supernatural?) plans and purposes.

–And that by reaching out to God, they could indeed receive His help and great power in exploring and living out those wonderful teleological plans and purposes for which they were created.

What could possibly be wrong, even on a scientific basis, with pointing out these few little things?

******

Sorry to hear about the blizzard thing, Ruidh. Stuck in snow is no fun, I agree.

But, prior to that, what did your minister or priest offer to you and your fellow congregants regarding Evolution Sunday?

And PvM, what about you? How did things go in your church?

Speaking of clergy, Rev. Lenny (hi Lenny!) comes up with a somewhat interesting twist:

“I’m more interested in how ID went in court, FL.

So, how did ID go in your court?

That’s actually interesting because it’s clear already to the evolutionists that Kansas is no Dover. (No required reading of any disclaimers for example, in fact no required mention of ID nor even a requirement that teachers actually DO or TEACH any of the science standards period.)

So the evolutionists, for all their talk, are actually kinda holding back on court action (which they could in fact initiate right now if they wanted to), instead trying to say (in the media) something like you-voters-better-do-our-work-for-us-now-no-questions-asked-if-you-don’t-want-no-potential-possible-maybe-yes-maybe-no-court-bizness-later.

In the meantime, they seem to be trying to hunt down and scrounge up as many arguments as possible to “make Dover applicable to Kansas”, since the Dover ruling only applied to Judge Jones’ quite limited jurisdiction.

But that’s now problematic too, because a battery of criticisms of the Dover ruling is now in place already–with more to come.

Anyway, that’s how it’s going, stay tuned.

FL

FL Wrote:

But that’s now problematic too, because a battery of criticisms of the Dover ruling is now in place already—with more to come.

Interesting. Aside from the content-free whining of the DI, are you aware of any legitimate criticisms of the Dover ruling? I’ve yet to see any.

Where are the existentialists when you need them

||| french intellectuals deployed in Afghanistan ||| Michael Kelly ———————————————————————— Associated Press : For Immediate Release: March, 2002 ———————————————————————— French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan to Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of God. Kabul—The clean-up portion of the ground war in Afghanistan heated up yesterday when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack French existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale of the remaining Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of God. Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade, or ‘Black Berets’, will be parachuted into the combat zones to spread doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy. Hardened by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation of Paris’s Left Bank, their first action will be to establish a number of sidewalk cafes at strategic points near the front lines. There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly about the absurd nature of life and man’s lonely isolation in the universe. They will be accompanied by a number of heartbreakingly beautiful girlfriends who will propagate fear, uncertainty and doubt by looking remote and unattainable. Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke yesterday of his confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne graduate Belmondo, a very intense and unshaven young man in a black pullover, gesticulated wildly and said, “The Taliban are caught in a logical fallacy of the most ridiculous proportions. There is no God and I can prove it.” Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on man’s inescapable lack of freedom of action, with special reference to the work of Foucault and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the operation as inhumane, pointing out that the effects of passive smoke from the Frenchmens’ endless Gauloises and Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on civilians in the area

Forgetgetabout Afghanistan send them to Kansastan.

are you aware of any legitimate criticisms of the Dover ruling? I’ve yet to see any.

I have seen two basic criticisms of the Dover decision: 1) Jones erred in considering whether ID is science, because he could have ruled against ID without doing so; and 2) Jones applied the existing law when he should have defied it and tried to change it because it’s a bad law.

The first criticism (and similar) are procedural complaints, basically holding that Jones was “activist” for actively considering EVERY legal test and principle, rather than deciding on the narrowest and most meaningless possible grounds.

The second criticism (and similar) are legal complaints, basically holding that Jones was not activist enough in allowing existing law to stand when he should rather have re-interpreted the law in light of God’s Wisdom.

I’m reminded of a poll taken after the first OJ decision, which found that 97% of blacks approved of the decision, and 92% of whites did not. I imagine the Dover decision would be at least this effective a filter – tell me whether someone approves or disapproves, and I can tell you their religion.

FL -

I find it outrageous that you used a pulpit to spread nonsense, in a most unethical way.

Out-of-context quotes to trick the innocent into mistaking the theory of evolution, which is a neutral scientific theory, for a straw man version of Hobbesian philosophy. Disgraceful and throroughly unethical.

Yes, I know, you’ll squeal that the fragments of text you chose to exaggerate “really are” in some outdated textbook or popular book written by an atheist or some such thing.

To say that you give your own ego and authoritarian political goals top priority would be something of an understatement.

FL -

My language is excessively harsh in my prior post; my apologies for that, but I stand by the major point. Out of context quotes and distortions have no place in ethical discourse.

FL

You may have avoided lying in your speech from the pulpit but you weren’t really being honest, were you? Surely that is contrary to Christian tenets?

Richard:

I think the subtlety may have escaped you here. It is entirely, consistently Christian to tell the truth at all times. What you’re missing is, the truth is whatever the Christian FEELS like it SHOULD be at the time he speaks it. You are misapplying the inappropriate standard of *integrity* to FL’s claims.

Flint,

I find your stance arrogant and incorrect. Just because there are idiots out there giving REAL Christians black eyes, don’t lump them all together.

Also, I heartily agree with Judge Jones’ decision in Dover. What religion am I?

I suspect FL’s ‘ethics’ are purely relative. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall just to see who was the object of those .…ah scraps of dog food. I’m surprised he got a whole 4 minutes, he must bore the living daylights out of people.

Kate in defense of Flint he is probably tired. He IS talking about the fanatics. And he is far more gentle and polite than I am :)

Flint wrote:

…the truth is whatever the Christian FEELS like it SHOULD be at the time he speaks it. You are misapplying the inappropriate standard of *integrity* to FL’s claims.

It often seems that way. But part of the problem is that there really is no “Christianity,” just people who call themselves Christian but who actually have so many varied, different and contradictory beliefs no lable can tell you anything about what they actually believe.

Norman I think a simple test would be to see how familiar they are with The Sermon on the Mount and, more importantly, what it means to them in their daily lives. I’ll bet most fundies give it much less importance than the gnashing and the gwhailing in some of the more ‘poetic’ texts.

Ah, I see FL is indulging us in his psychosis. Must be terrible to go through life with just one map to find your way. Especially when, deep inside, you know that map is flawed and the only way you can function is to, literally, re-map reality to an unreality.

I then proceeded to inform them that Douglas Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology 3d edition declared that the process responsible for ~their~ origins, human origins, the process of evolution, was “A completely mindless process”, with “No conscious forethought” attached to their origination as humans, “No Purpose”, and “No Goal” to their origination as humans.

I’ve always found it fascinating that, when evolutionary biologists talk about actual evolutionary science– the topic they’re experts in– creationists don’t accept their authority at all.

But the moment an evolutionary biologist steps outside of science and makes theological statements– something he has no expertise in– creationists grant that person the authority to dictate exactly what evolution must mean for all of us.

IIRC, I taught a course from Futuyma’s book once. Out of the entire text, there was only one brief tidbit that could be interpreted as saying that evolution is a completely mindless process.

Kate:

I heartily agree with Judge Jones’ decision in Dover. What religion am I?

Seems clear to me you are of a tolerant religion, that does NOT believe the road to salvation lies in cramming your beliefs down the minds of others. I think k.e. understands: from my outsider’s perspective, there are those who proselytize and those who do not, which covers everyone as far as I’m concerned. So long as you aren’t trying to indoctrinate me or my children, your religion is as irrelevant to me as mine is to you, which is as it should be.

So maybe I can ask you: What religion is FL?

k.e. wrote:

… a simple test … see how familiar they are with The Sermon on the Mount … bet most fundies give it much less importance than the gnashing and the gwhailing in some of the more ‘poetic’ texts.

I think you’ve made a valid point. I suspect that if I asked Judge Roy Moore “how about a monument with the sermon on the mount on it rather than the ten commands?” he’d think it wasn’t Christian enough.

However, I don’t think it solves the problem of defining what a “Christian” believes – what sets them apart – because sermon on the mount style philosophy is part of many ethics systems and in Jesus wording is less clear than many others and many interpretations possible.

FL’s position is too much like: reject science because you’ll feel better.

I then mentioned Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

.…and asked them to “Imagine that.”

If you go beyond quote mining, Jeremiah isn’t totally reassuring. But to get back to the present: of course natural selection is as natural a process as acceleration. How could it not be? Does that mean there is no God, as FL fears? Of course not.

But what IDologists might fear more is a god that is not quite to their taste, like the Designer. Why did the Designer make the bacterial flagellum so much more complicated than needed just for motility? Why must it also contribute to diseases from plague to diarrhea? Why must millions suffer from back pain? In IDology, these things aren’t accidents of nature. The Designer is doing it to you on purpose. Plans indeed.

Hey, no hard feelings Harold. I would never post something like what I posted and then expect a chorus of happy little ‘Amens’ from this forum. I expected serious disagreement amongst the PT congregation with my POV, and lo ‘n’ behold, there it ‘tis.

Actually, all the responses were relatively tempered. No cussing-outs, no deleted-posts, hey, it’s all good. Don’t agree with some opinions expressed, but at least we get to read each other’s POVs on the matter.

One problem, though: folks still aren’t divulging what their clergy said or did at ~~their own~~ Evolution Sunday services.

Surely the faithful followers of the First Church of Darwin didn’t all s-l-e-e-p i-n on their patron saint’s holy day, did they? O the scandal, the scandal thereof!

Well, anyway, what responses yall’s offered, I have read ‘em, and thanks for offering at least that much. But surely somebody somewhere has a live report to offer, no?

FL

FL, looking for the true grit:

Surely the faithful followers of the First Church of Darwin didn’t all s-l-e-e-p i-n on their patron saint’s holy day, did they? O the scandal, the scandal thereof!

Nope, I got up early (6:30 a.m.), fixed a breakfast for three people (not healthy, perhaps, but hearty–bacon, scrambled eggs, french fried toast, hot chocolate, OJ–and we fully intended to “work it off”), and went skiing with family (my girlfriend, two of my three sons, and my daughter-in-law) and friends. We had gorgeous weather and snow conditions, so *God* seems to have not been too displeased with us. We got home in time to watch most of the Olympics and cheer patriotically for the U.S.A., and all the other hard-working starry-eyed athlete-entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, we haven’t heard from the UK contingent, but they were reportedly planning to hoist a few on the actual day.

And, per his computer auto-response, Lenny’s Pizza Guy is was energetically kayaking across the Atlantic to join them…

What wholesome, non-scandalous activities were you up to, FL? Certainly you can come up with something?

American RadioWorks presents some helpful resources for religious people seeking to reconcile their faith with science

The Harmony between Science and Religion interview by Mary Beth Kirchner, edited by Ellen Guettler (see also their ‘homepage’)

And the Resources link with sermons and other relevant information

The reports are starting to trickle in:

The NY Times has chimed in as well At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution

Still, those who did attend sermons welcomed what they heard. After the service at St. Dunstan’s, Brett Lowe, a 41-year-old computer engineer, sat in a pew as his son Ian, 2, and daughter, Paige, 6, played at his side. “Sermons like this are exactly the reason we came to this church,” Mr. Lowe said.

“Observation, hypothesis and testing — that’s what science is,” he said. “It’s not religion. Evolution is a fact. It’s not a theory. An example is antibiotics. If we don’t use antibiotics appropriately, bacteria become resistant. That’s evolution, and evolution is a fact. To not acknowledge that is to not acknowledge the world around you.”

Jeanne Taylor, 65, a recently retired registered nurse attending services at St. Dunstan’s, said the Bible was based on oral tradition and today “science is a part of our lives.”

At the Evanston Mennonite Church, Susan Fisher Miller, 48, an editor and English professor, said, “I completely accept and affirm the view of God as creator, but I accommodate evolution within that.”

To Ms. Fisher Miller, alternatives to evolutionary theory proposed by its critics, such as intelligent design, seem an artificial way to use science to explain the holy. “It’s arrogant to say that either religion or science can answer all our questions,” she said. “I don’t see the need either to banish one or the other or to artificially unite them.”

FL, I attended a church on Evolution Sunday. I do not think the pastor was aware of its importance, unfortunately. It was a “First Assembly of God”, and he spoke on the basic theology of Christianity, using Romans 1.

The majority of the time spent was a courtroom skit, very nicely done, which lasted about 15 minutes, in which Christian theology was explained. A substitute person [jeebus] pled “no contest” for the sins of the sinner [u and me], of course.

No explanation was given as to how these preserved god’s justice, of course, although that was the major premise of the argument. No explanation was given as to how justice on god’s part = eternal separation from god for all sinners who don’t repent. No explanation was given as to how people who reject the assertions of people like him (and you, by proxy), and the claimed authority of Scripture, are tantamount to rejecting god (rather than the claims of revealed religion through god’s self-appointed ambassadors). If we don’t take your word for being god’s spokesman, and simply don’t believe you, that isn’t rejecting god, it’s rejecting you. I have never met the Deity, never had an offer or question posed from It that I said “no” to, never once have I or do I plan to “reject god” so much as I reject you and reject your authority and reject your claims to have met the SkyDad. I never rejected the Deity,although I spent about 20 years trying to via Xianity. Too bad people like yourself can’t see that.

The pastor then followed up with an emotional 15 minute plea for those in attendance to please please please give their hearts and minds to Jeebus. Quite a few brave (snark) souls did. Unfortunately for Jeebus, I decided to keep my own. In fact, I also decided to keep my own mind and heart when Darwin asked for them…oh wait, nevermind, Darwin gave us an idea, he didn’t ask for anything in return.

As an atheist, I just attend every 2-3 weeks with my Xian wife. I mostly do it because I love my wife and want to spend time with her, but also out of boredom, and to critically evaluate the “best preachin” there is to offer these days. Each Sunday, I enjoy smiling arrogantly at the logical fallacies the pastor pours out. Want to hear the details of this Sunday’s? Just email me. (thinkingfreely at gmail)

That’s actually interesting because it’s clear already to the evolutionists that Kansas is no Dover. (No required reading of any disclaimers for example, in fact no required mention of ID nor even a requirement that teachers actually DO or TEACH any of the science standards period.)

Hmmm. Would you mind explaining to me, please why (1) all of the various “scientific criticisms of evolution” listed in Kansas are absolutely identical in every way with the same old crap that YEC’s and IDers have been feeding us for 40 years now, (2) why none of these “scientific criticisms of eovlution” have ever appeared in any peer-reviewed science journal or been accepted by any appreciable segment of the scientific community, and (3) all of these “scientific criticisms of evolution” are found in ID/creationsit tracts, and ONLY in ID/creationist tracts?

Is it your opinion that it’s simply not ID if, uh, you don’t call it “ID” …?

Oh, and I’d be awfully interested to hear you explain to us what this “Christian nation” and “Bible” is that the Kansas board members keep talking about in reference to their “science” standards.

You are right — Kansas will be no Dover.

It will be even worse.

And, per his computer auto-response, Lenny’s Pizza Guy is was energetically kayaking across the Atlantic to join them…

Gee, I hope that, uh, minor leak didn’t cause too many problems for him . …

Hey FL, since you seem so determined to preach at everyone here, I have a simple question for you:

*ahem*

What exactly is the source of your religious authority. What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night. It seems to me that no one alive would or could know any more about God than anyone else alive does, since there doesn’t seem to be any potential source of such knowledge that isn’t equally available to everyone else. You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor. So what is it, exactly, that makes your religious opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s. Are you more holy than anyone else? Do you walk more closely with God than anyone else? Does God love you best? Are you the best Biblical scholar in human history? What exactly makes your opinions better than anyone else’s? Other than your say-so?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerrant and infallible? Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I SHOULD think you are? Other than your say-so?

It seems to me that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Can you show me anything to indicate otherwise? Other than your say-so?

Thanks in advance for not answering my question.

harold:

“I find it outrageous that you used a pulpit to spread nonsense, in a most unethical way.”

Do you actually expect ethical behavior from fundies?!? Next, you’ll be expecting them to live up to the Christian values that Jesus actually preached! Sheeesh!

Lenny, regarding the wanderings of his Pizza Guy, last heard of trying to cross the stormy North Atlantic in winter in Lenny’s second-best kayak:

Gee, I hope that, uh, minor leak didn’t cause too many problems for him .…

Did Lenny’s Pizza Guy show up safely for PT’s London branch’s Darwin Day festivities? Will Lenny need to break in a new, ever-undertipped pizza kid? Will Lenny need to replace his second-best kayak? Stay tuned…!

Who says science is a dry and unexciting field?

Well, FL acted like a real discussion was in order for the first person who attended church on Evolution Sunday. I was the first to claim it on this thread. No discussion has taken place. Surprise, surprise…maybe the fellow thought it would be easier to assume no PT reader would dare step foot in the church door, for fear of hellfire and damnation.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 26, column 45, byte 1809 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

So, thanks to Steviepinhead and Thinking Freely for at least doing some live reports on their Evolution Sunday gigs.

Nice description of early morning breakfast and sunny skiing on Stevie’s part. And Thinking Freely’s in-church report is really informative and fascinating, the kind of Polaroid snapshot I was hoping to see in this thread.

Also an ~excellent~ discussion of your own honest thoughts and reflections on the gospel presentation that was made, and even your thoughts concerning the family life that forms the backdrop for your attending church as an atheist. On the latter point, ditto for Stevie’s discussion of his Evolution Sunday which was also framed in terms of family life.

(See, there’s always something folks can agree on–in SOME areas–if they look hard enough. In this case, at least, the importance of family.)

******

So, my request for “live reports”, I consider satisfied, and sincere thanks. Plus real thanks for all the responses, even the most critical too, since they all contribute to the Polaroid snapshot of Evolution Sunday.

But you know something, TF? Although I did not and do not “assume no PT reader would dare step foot in the church door, for fear of hellfire and damnation”, the fact IS that most of the PT regulars around here (including thread-started PvM?) apparently really DID NOT show up for church on Evolution Sunday.

Not even all those wonderful evolution-friendly churches and preachers listed by Rev. Zimm, PvM, and all those links. Y’all didn’t go to ‘em. Y’all didn’t even, collectively, give the Unitarians much of any business, and they’ve been in your back pocket for DECADES, for cryin’ out loud!

And that’s consistent with what I read in the hometown Saturday newspaper article. There’s plenty of evolutionists in my hometown, oh yes indeedy. But the overall interest level was, for all practical purposes, absolutely NO HIGHER than on any other Sunday.

So what’s my point? Simply this: Rev. Zimm and Company are bending WAY over for you evolutionists (and yes, any Christian who signs off on Gould’s NOMA is wavin’ a crisp clean delicately starched white flag), but you evolutionists are NOT bending over for Zimm’s Christianity in return. Zimm’s puttin’ out, but y’all aint. Yet y’all ARE taking full media advantage of him.

In short.…Rev. Zimm and Company, are being EXPLOITED, being played like a pawn shop violin by evolutionists, for maximum PR moxie mileage. And folks, that ain’t how Christians and Christian clergy are supposed to do the do. Nope, mamacita!

******

But on a brighter note, I’m again glad to at least read and note the responses that were indeed given. Thanks all.

******

And now, let’s respond for a moment to the erstwhile Rev. Lenny before I take my leave.…

FL

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FL Wrote:

I then mentioned Jeremiah 29:11…and asked them to “Imagine that.”

So you appealed to people’s emotions rather than present evidence, in a context that emphasizes belief without evidence (faith). You could have saved a lot of space by just saying “I preached in church”.

There’s plenty of evolutionists in my hometown, oh yes indeedy. But the overall interest level was, for all practical purposes, absolutely NO HIGHER than on any other Sunday.

But - but - Darwinism/Evolutionism is a religion! I guess we’re just not very good at it.

And as for the religious side of the fence…

Hey FL, since you seem so determined to preach at everyone here, I have a simple question for you:

Oh, I don’t know; the first person in this thread who started preachin’ around here was a Rev. Richard Edwards who, according to the quoted report, wasn’t gonna “mince any words in his sermon.”

In fact, aside from the quotes and links, everybody’s preachin’ a little around here on this one; so there’s no reason for me to be all shy, eh?

******

What exactly is the source of your religious authority.

What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s.

Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night.

Well, for me,

1. The Lord Jesus Christ, who saved me and whom I serve. That’s my Source whom I trust, whom I necessarily depend on, even before I became a minister.

Short version: He called me to serve people, and in my mid twenties, He definitely confirmed to me, He definitely spoke to my heart, that my service was to include being as a minister as well. I still remember the specific events that led to His confirmation, but I promised I’d keep this answer short.

2. and 3. The answer is (again, short version): How well my words, your words, anyone’s religious opinions (and accompanying deeds) match up with the Bible and what it says. That’s the gold standard.

If my words and deeds AREN’T matching up with what the Bible says, and the pizza boy’s words and deeds ARE matching up with what the Bible says, then at all costs stick with the pizza boy’s religious opinions, quite frankly.

Which is why 2 Tim. 2:15 simply says to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Another aspect to consider would be 1 Cor. 2:4,5—“And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

******

But anyway,

(1) honest and complete trust and dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for one’s salvation,life and destiny, (2) honest study and complete trust/dependence on Scripture, the word of God; (3) and honest praying and complete trust/dependence on the power of the Spirit of God instead of one’s own opinions, one’s own intellect, one’s own self-efforts.

That’s where spiritual authority comes from, Rev. Lenny. That’s the answer to your inquiry. It’s not a self-manufactured, nor a self-appointed, sort of thing. God has to help a person on these matters, and a person must want God’s help all the way and not just half-steppin’. These commitments are non-negotiable for clergy (or any other Christian either), biblically speaking.

Now, let’s relate this discussion to evolution and Evolution Sunday: The heavy negative philosophical baggage that is permanently attached to evolution has the capability of seriously, corrosively damaging a Christian’s commitment to the above non-negotiables, especially if a person is already beset with doubts and “issues” concerning God and the Bible.

I have read sincere, solid, (and very sobering) testimonies from evolutionists that showed how evolution provided their little intellectual “push” towards unbelief and apostacy in combination with other life circumstances. This have even happened to clergy! I read one’s testimony not long ago. No small tragedy when you have to prefix the term Christian with “f.o.r.m.e.r”.

So once again if I mess up on those three commitments, and your pizza boy gets ‘em right, please stick 100% with your pizza boy instead. It’s just that important.

FL

The fact is, Lenny, the scientific problem areas mentioned in the Kansas Science Standards are items that honestly, have been and continue to be longstanding and intractable problem areas for evolutionists.

Says who.

What exactly is the source of your religious authority.

What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s.

Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night.

Well, for me,

1. The Lord Jesus Christ, who saved me and whom I serve.

So you, uh, speak on behalf of Jesus . … . . ?

(blinks)

(blinks again)

Dude, you need to start taking your meds again.

The answer is (again, short version): How well my words, your words, anyone’s religious opinions (and accompanying deeds) match up with the Bible and what it says. That’s the gold standard.

So … you claim authority to infallibly interpret the Bible and what it says?

With all due respect (none), I simply don’t believe that you have the ability to infallibly interpret the Bible and what it says.

Mind explaining to me why I *should* believe that?

(sigh) No WONDER everyone thinks fundies are arrogant prideful self-righteous pricks who think, quite literally, that they are holier than everyone else.

In fact, aside from the quotes and links, everybody’s preachin’ a little around here on this one; so there’s no reason for me to be all shy, eh?

Please by all means, go ahead and speak right up. I rather like it that you do such a wonderful job of equating ID with fundamentalist religion.

I hope you’ll be so kind as to repeat all of this in court in Kansas when the time comes.

Fickle Lenny:

or the guy who delivered my pizza last night.

The last we heard, your “official” Pizza Guy was still paddling away somewhere in the North Atlantic in the leaking kayak he borrowed from you, and now you’re telling us that you’ve already broken in a brand new soon-to-be-downtrodden-and-undertipped pizza delivery person?

Does loyalty count for nothing in this modern commercialistic world? Is nothing sacred?

How dreadful!

The last we heard, your “official” Pizza Guy was still paddling away somewhere in the North Atlantic in the leaking kayak he borrowed from you, and now you’re telling us that you’ve already broken in a brand new soon-to-be-downtrodden-and-undertipped pizza delivery person?

Just a Plan B, ya know. “Be prepared”. :)

Anyway, I sure hope the Pizza Guy makes it. I’d hate to lose my kayak.

Irrepressible Lenny:

I’d hate to lose my kayak.

Uh-huh, leak or no leak, those second-best kayaks are a whole lot harder to replace than, say, pizza delivery specialists…

It’s good to know that your heart’s in the right place on Valentine’s Day!

It’s good to know that your heart’s in the right place on Valentine’s Day!

Bahhhh. J Geils was right.

;)

FL Wrote:

The answer is (again, short version): How well my words, your words, anyone’s religious opinions (and accompanying deeds) match up with the Bible and what it says. That’s the gold standard.

If my words and deeds AREN’T matching up with what the Bible says, and the pizza boy’s words and deeds ARE matching up with what the Bible says, then at all costs stick with the pizza boy’s religious opinions, quite frankly.

Hey FL. Which version of the Bible are you using? Does your statement ‘and accompanying deeds’ apply to both the New and Old Testaments?

(And where’s Carol Clouser when you need her? ;) )

FL Wrote:

But you know something, TF? Although I did not and do not “assume no PT reader would dare step foot in the church door, for fear of hellfire and damnation”, the fact IS that most of the PT regulars around here (including thread-started PvM?) apparently really DID NOT show up for church on Evolution Sunday.

Actually, I think RBH was at Congregation Tifereth Israel that day, as I was, where they were talking on the science/religion interface. And I know some of the local Students for Freethought folk weren’t with us because they were off at one of the Evolution Sunday-listed services, a Methodist church I believe.

So what’s my point? Simply this: Rev. Zimm and Company are bending WAY over for you evolutionists (and yes, any Christian who signs off on Gould’s NOMA is wavin’ a crisp clean delicately starched white flag), but you evolutionists are NOT bending over for Zimm’s Christianity in return.

Surely you don’t think the churches that participated in Evolution Sunday did it in order to increase their attendance from Panda’s Thumb regulars? They did it for their parishioners, not in the hopes that Richard Dawkins would come sing hymns with them.

hmmm, It’s thurday and still no word from Lenny’s pizza guy.

lost at sea?

FL wrote : I have read sincere, solid, (and very sobering) testimonies from evolutionists that showed how evolution provided their little intellectual “push” towards unbelief and apostasy in combination with other life circumstances. This have even happened to clergy! I read one’s testimony not long ago. No small tragedy when you have to prefix the term Christian with “f.o.r.m.e.r”.

You can prefix me with FORMER thank you, and I am proud of it. Evolution did open my eyes, but not from the fact that evolution happens, but from the FACT that the bloody church had been lying and deceiving me. That’s the reason. The people I trusted turned out to be dishonest snakes. So stop whining about loosing people to Evolution, because it is not true. You are loosing people because of your own dishonesty and dishonorable tactics. If you can lie about evolution, you can lie about many other things, and you can steal too. Did you see how the Christian school board people lied in Dover? Lying for God is not a crime for these people, is it?

As for the churches that are pro-evolution, good for them. It seems honest Christians do exist and I can at least respect them, unlike the creationist/ID crowd. I see their lies every single day in this blog.

The heavy negative philosophical baggage that is permanently attached to evolution has the capability of seriously, corrosively damaging a Christian’s commitment to the above non-negotiables, especially if a person is already beset with doubts and “issues” concerning God and the Bible.

No, it is when dishonesty is revealed, then you will find you “corrosion”. As for the doubts and issues concerning God and the Bible, it is hardly Evolutions fault that there are contradictions, violence, irrational statements and fairy tales in the bible. Stop blaming evolution for your woes and start blaming Biblical Literalists and Creationists. You reap what you sow.

The heavy negative philosophical baggage that is permanently attached to evolution has the capability of seriously, corrosively damaging a Christian’s commitment to the above non-negotiables, especially if a person is already beset with doubts and “issues” concerning God and the Bible.

That’s religion’s problem, not science’s. Science didn’t attach “heavy philosophical baggage” to evolutionary theory, the religious did. If someone’s spiritual existence is predicated on a set of facts which is at odds with observable reality, tough sh*t for them. The only solutions I see are either science telling you what you want to hear (which is a blunt negation of science and the multitudinous benefits thereof), or you and yours accepting reality and finding a set of beliefs that can coexist with that reality. Why should science protect people who are “beset with doubts and ‘issues’ concerning god and the bible” from reality?

There’s “heavy philosophical baggage” associated with horrible facts like 1) you and everyone you know will die 2) millions of people are being starved, tortured, and abused all over the world as you read this 3) etc. Should science help you construct a reality where the religious can hold on to their beliefs more firmly by enabling a fairytale worldview wherein these thing don’t happen?

Well said Ben. To FL: Science is not the problem here, but religious views.If the religious are having problems due to reality, then I suggest they alter their views and face facts, instead of attacking science. Many Christians thinks evolution is true. So what, did God’s voice boom out of the clouds and told you they are all stupid?

It’s like a wounded animal, attacking everything in it’s path. It won’t make the wounds better. Deal with your own insecurities instead of blaming science for them. You can be smug and self-righteous with a house on the river De-Nile, but please, leave the rest of us at peace. And yes, there is peace outside of your narrow minded dishonest illusion. And stop trying to cram your dishonest illusion down the throats of innocent children. You don’t have to indoctrinate them at school and mess up their science education in the process. Do it to your own kids if you want, but keep your hands off mine! Just because YOU think you are right and everyone else is WRONG still does not MAKE you right. Do you get that, or should I draw you a picture?

hmmm, It’s thurday and still no word from Lenny’s pizza guy.

lost at sea?

I told him to take a bailer with him . …

If the religious are having problems due to reality

I think you mean “religious fundamentalists”.

“Fundamentalist” does not translate to “all religion”, although the fundies would very much like to make that claim.

I think you mean “religious fundamentalists”.

Yes… just got a bit worked up with FL’s attitude… and the smug way he was telling us how he preached his lies to his congregation.

I think you mean “religious fundamentalists”.

Yes…

“And yes, there is peace outside of your narrow minded dishonest illusion.”

-why is it always people like FL that are called narrow minded while everyone else on this forum I’m sure would consider themselves open minded, yet those same people don’t give the same kind of consideration to FL(and the like) that they expect themselves?

“Just because YOU think you are right and everyone else is WRONG still does not MAKE you right. Do you get that, or should I draw you a picture?”

-Amen, I say practice what you preach…

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 12, 2006 5:13 PM.

Confessions of a Darwinist was the previous entry in this blog.

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