Episcopal Church: Resolution A129 Affirm Creation and Evolution

| 83 Comments

On Wednesday, June 14, 2006, the Episcopal News Services reported that the bishops had approved Resolution A129 Affirm Creation and Evolution. The Resolution reads as follows:

Resolved, the House of_____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention affirm that God is Creator, in accordance with the witness of Scripture and the ancient Creeds of the Church; and be it further,

Resolved, That the theory of evolution provides a fruitful and unifying scientific explanation for the emergence of life on earth, and that an acceptance of evolution in no way diminishes the centrality of Scripture in telling the stories of the love of God for the Creation and is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians strongly encourage state legislatures and state and local boards of education to establish standards for science education based on the best available scientific knowledge as accepted by a consensus of the scientific community; and be it further Resolved, That Episcopal dioceses and congregation seek the assistance of scientists and science educators in understanding what constitutes reliable scientific knowledge.

The resolution also explains the rationale namely that evolution is broadly accepted and that it is the best explanation of how life evolved.

I am happy to see that there are still some churches left that support good science and are willing to take a stance against the argument from ignorance promoted by the Intelligent Design movement. While undoubtably, the Episcopal Church will be ridiculed by some, it seems to me that when it comes to Christian behavior, others have much to learn from this Church.

EXPLANATION

The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by the overwhelming majority in the scientific community as the most adequate explanation for the emergence of life on earth, and the ongoing adaptation of life to changes in environments. For example, knowledge of how evolution functions is essential in understanding the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, the resistance of insects to insecticides, and the appearance of viruses such as HIV and influenza.

The teaching of evolution is a crucial contribution to the development of scientific literacy among the nation’s youth, yet state legislators and state and local school boards continue to challenge, limit, or seek to supplant the teaching of evolution. Limiting the teaching of evolution in our schools has the potential to compromise students’ ability to understand constantly changing living systems, and may undermine, for instance, the understanding and treatment of diseases of the future.

Since the sixteenth century, Anglicans have described their faith in terms of the “three-legged stool” of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. The quest to understand the origins of life on earth, and the forces that drive the ongoing changes in living organisms involves Reason and is in no way incompatible with the central truths of Scripture and Christian Tradition. Episcopalians generally accept that it is appropriate to seek to understand, through scientific probing, the origins both of the cosmos and life on earth, and that evolution is a valid explanation of the development of all living things, including humanity. Several leading Anglican theologians, past and present, among them priest-scientists William G. Pollard, Arthur Peacocke, and Sir John Polkinghorne, have shown how an evolutionary world view can be integrated with a theology of creation. The 67th General Convention affirmed a belief “in the glorious ability of God to create in any manner”, and its “support of scientists, educators, and theologians in the search for truth” (GC Resolution 1982-D090).

83 Comments

Looks like someone decided to reinforce that third leg. Bravo. And very well written statements too.

What’s new Pussy Cat?

We Anglicans having been speaking like this since 1858, before Charlie got into print. (HB Tristram) In the next year a good number of Anglicans accepted evolution eg F Temple, Hort, B Powell, and the others like Samuel Wilberforce Sedgwick etc all accepted an old earth.

And so it has continued and until,recently -1975 or so the Anglican church throughout the world has accepted evolution with few dissenters.

Sadly it is now changing and in England some 10% of Anglican clergy are now YEC, so a statement is needed from us.

I am trying to get one made in my diocese but at least one thinks we need to be careful for political reasons.

I am trying to get one made in my diocese but at least one thinks we need to be careful for political reasons.

indeed. your mention of “political” and “1975” do seem to ring a few bells.

If you never have, it’s quite informative to run down how politics and the rise of the religious right have been related to each other since right around that time.

right around the time the neocons started to propose that religious fundies would make a great grassroots power base.

Good old Anglicans!

Faith AND common sense…

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I ‘believe’ that it was opposition by Anglican clerics that ended Darwin’s knighthood effort. Will the 75th Genetral Convention advocate such knighthood to it’s British brethren?

I am happy to see that there are still some churches left that support good science

I will point out once again that the vast majority of Christian denomoinations, worldwide, reject creationism, ID, and fundamentalism, and have no gripe whatsoever with evolution or any other area of science – and have said so out loud even before the 1981 Arkansas case.

It is a cornerstone of the fundie strategy to piously wrap themselves in the mantle of holiness and declare themselves to be the only “True Spokesmen for Christianity(c)™”.

I see no need to play into their hand. Most Christians, worldwide, have always thought that the fundies are just as nutty as everyone here thinks they are.

Relatively old news. http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/19021[…]nupage=58392 has been published for several years now.

Of course, it has the same authority even among church members, or even less, as a “statement from a vatican official”. Really this was putting a rubber stamp on an agreement long established.

Certainly the athiests among the PT contributors and readers would consider the faith portions of the text and statement unnecessary, and I wouldn’t blame them in the slightest, but there you go. ;-)

Hi, As a Presby, I will add our denomination as supporting Evolution and science in general. As far as I know Presbys(USA)have always thought in this liberal manner. Go to Voices for Evolution at www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/voices/permit for statements from all of the mainline denominations in support of evolution. Whit

and have no gripe whatsoever with evolution or any other area of science

Oh yeah, no gripe with any part of science whatsoever – except its method, which they reject.

Only problem is that’s the only really important part of science. Everything else can change.

Lenny Wrote:

I will point out once again that the vast majority of Christian denominations, worldwide, reject creationism, ID, and fundamentalism, and have no gripe whatsoever with evolution or any other area of science — and have said so out loud even before the 1981 Arkansas case.

Are there any pro-science, evolution-accepting Christian organizations out there? I’m curious. It struck me that there probably are, I just don’t know it.

Anyone have input on that?

It’s interesting that one of the most proactive ID advocates in Ohio - state school board member Michael Cochran - is a priest and rector of a parish of the breakaway Episcopal Missionary Church in Columbus, Ohio.

Cochran and the EMC felt that the (mainstream) Episcopal Church was getting too modern when they started ordaining women, and updated the Book of Common Prayer to post-Elizabethan English. I guess it’s not surprising that accepting 19th century science in the 21st century strikes this crowd as moving way too fast.

It’s good news, but does anyone else think that

Resolved, That the theory of evolution provides a fruitful and unifying scientific explanation for the emergence of life on earth

would be better if “emergence” were changed to “diversity”?

RE: DragonScholar

I was thinking about the American Scientific Affiliation, an overarching Christian club for sciency types, but it seems that rather than have a single statement endorsing evolution, chemical abiogenesis, and/or deep time, they have instead resigned themselves to let the various factions speak for themselves within the group. Each one gets its own statement, from YEC to ID (which isn’t a doctrine of Creation, of course) to Theistic Evolution. They do have a page where it’s asserted that creation doesn’t necesarily mean “fiat creation,” and that evolution and creation aren’t supposed to be antithetical, which is good. It also, however, restates the old “evolutionary philosophy/religion” canard, which is bad. I was a bit disappointed with that. The NCSE has a nice Links page where various religious+scientific organizations can be looked up.

Three legged stools are better than 2 legged stools. That’s for sure. Oh crap, I just realized I have a one legged stool. ***aaaaaaaaaauuuuughhhhh thump****

So often I’m so proud to consider myself Episcopalian. Yay us!

In answer to 1975 , there has been little religious right in the UK.

Also remember that the Conferates were supported by Southern Presbyterians like Dabney et al who used a literal Genesis to support slavery. In 1846 or so the Southern Baptists was formed becuase the Northern Baptists said slavery was wrong.

The foremost defender of Evolution up north was that Christian botanist Asa Gray, who taught a negro sunday school

Michael

This is a necessary statement for any church as the church would go out of business if it accepted anything that contradicted its purpose, and of course its self-proclaimed sacred texts, now wouldn’t it?

For Dragon Scholar, Read my post # 107598!! Whit

For Dragon Scholar, Read my post # 107598!! Whit

Moses-

not only does Carol have a special Judah Landa edition OT, but she has a very interesting view on how animals are “cruel” to one another as well.

Did you catch that one?

funny as hell.

check out the Darwin/Hitler thread.

Why is Sean Hannity rich and on TV, not to mention Rush Limpballs?

At least Fox makes an attempt to balance Hannity with Alan Colmes. As for Rush, whether you agree with him or not, most people in radio give him credit for essentially re-invigorating AM radio.

How did Ann Coulter’s “Godless” hit number one at Amazon the week it came out?

Probably the same way that Hillary Clinton’s “Living History” managed to do so. I also recall that Dan Brown’s “DaVinci Code” also did very well. It’s called sales - find your target market and give them a product that they want to buy. I’ve seen books from all ends of the political spectrum, which would suggest that no particular views are being suppressed. Some do well, others not so.

Tony Wrote:

At least Fox makes an attempt to balance Hannity with Alan Colmes.

That’s a joke, right?

See, personally I’d say something like “at least Rush Limbaugh isn’t as bad as Hannity and Colmes, because they don’t pretend to ‘balance’ the Rush Limbaugh show with Alan Colmes’ little stage act”.

That’s a joke, right?

I never claimed that Colmes was the perfect co-host to balance Hannity. Frankly, Hannity’s gotten so over the top that I stopped watching that show a long time ago.

Oh yeah, no gripe with any part of science whatsoever — except its method, which they reject.

Huh?

would be better if “emergence” were changed to “diversity”?

100%

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That’s just nonsense. Are you trying to make some sense?

lol. I wish i could make sense out of this statement!

That’s just nonsense. Are you trying to make some sense?

lol. I wish i could make sense out of this statement!

A-a-A-a-A! Righti-o! I think I can twice!

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Jim Wrote:

would be better if “emergence” were changed to “diversity”?

Although emergence seems to be an acceptable term, it may give rise to unnecessary confusion.

Of course Chiefly, I’m all for religious tolerance, of any sort.

I’m totally intolerant of intolerance.

I encourage the Pope to consider ordinating atheists, heck I’d be first in line.

I was saying that when an ‘ology starts considering everything and anything in any permutation, it ends up saying nothing about anything.

Religion as practice, no matter what it claims, is a purely cultural phenomenon, and as long as there are priests/pastors etc and political masters they will work hand in glove to promote their hegemony of the brain cells.

We are programmed to accept the most ridiculous ideas (e.g. Santa), as a survival mechanism, plus a big brain with spare capacity …oh and a fear of death.

History is full of forgotten god’s and religions which is a nagging nuisance for their modern brethren, but very useful for Anthropological comparison, and guess what? The same old ideas surface, including the idea that they all know “The one true word of ***” *** Osiris, Baal, Jehovah, Allah, Apollo etc,etc

Theology in *my opinion* achieves nothing more than expressing untestable personal opinions and is more a means of social engineering, and its success can be measured only by *sales*.

Conceded, our scientific conceptual models are limited by our current understanding, nothing in theology/religion/mysticism etc is NEW and continues to be just the same old software version X.X running on 100,000 year old hardware, which in my opinion will be better understood by the emergence of neuroscience for those curious enough to find out e.g. the mechanisms in the brain responsible for mimicking and trust(and possibly torture :)

Although some lucky people with a basic knowledge of the human condition and folk psychology have known that basic premise for thousands of years. Just ask any Televangelist, Politician or Car salesman.

Or read Freud. Remember him? Almost totally forgotten, since the history washers expunged him. People today say ‘Oh him? He was totally debunked’ without having any knowledge of his dangerous idea’s.

Anyway I don’t think we diverge too much, just call me a radical (irreligious) moderate.

The third and final RESOLVED in the heading gives the final authority to the biggest noise. Pontius Pilate might be wondering for the last 2,000 yrs whether that was the best policy. As for scientific advance, RESOLVED 3 would possibly have stopped us before we got the wheel up and running, and certainly would never have advanced beyond a flat earth. With these policies towards truth and freedom of expression, the Episcopals might try for more disciples at TalkOrigins?

Pontius Pilate might be wondering for the last 2,000 yrs whether that was the best policy

maybe you could ask him?

*snort*

It is important to point out that Disco’s deep pockets, Howard Ahmanson, in addition to being a Christian Reconstructionist, is also an extremely conservative Episcopalian, who had also been bankrolling efforts to create a split among the American branch of the Anglican Communion years before the consecration of a gay bishop in 2003.

First, they elect a woman to be presiding bishop (horror!), who had been an evolutionary biologist in an earlier career (double horror!). Then, they refuse to defrock the aforementioned gay bishop (apostasy!). Finally, they pass a resolution supporting mainstream science (heresy!). Hyper-conservative American Episcopalians are recoiling in disgust!

Accident? I doubt it. Ahmanson and his paid shills have been a thorn in the side of the denomination for at least the past decade, if not longer. I believe the upshot of all these procedings has been to invite the separatists to get on with the process of separation, already.

But gee, since ID has nothing to do with religion (coughcoughcough) one wonders why a religious kook like Ahmanson would care about ID at all . …?

Bill? Sal? Donald? Anyone want to explain that to me?

Nay, Nay, Nay, I can’t raise Pontius nor his horse. (Sorry about the dreadful humor)

Hey Heywood, you’re, uh, blithering again.

Keith Douglas wrote:

And yet some philosophers (myself included) have repeatedly argued that to isolate science from philosophy is to both gut the science and make the philosophy worthless at best.

While I criticised that statement (in particular referring to the first part), I would have to strongly agree that modern philosophy should take into account the findings of modern science, if that is part of what you meant.

Caledonian responded about philosophy and science:

They’re the same thing! (At least, competent philosophy is the same as science. There’s loads of incompetent philosophy.)

This, on the other hand, is an extremist statement.

Philosophy:

http://www.answers.com/philosophy

This, on the other hand, is an extremist statement.

Oh no! Not an extremist statement! After all, everyone knows that all forms of extremism are bad, and all extreme positions are wrong.

I really can’t think of any working definition of science being the ‘same thing’ as philosophy.

care to elaborate, Cale?

From my point of view, while philosophy can make good use of scientific argument and evidence when needed, it shouldn’t be limited in doing so either.

philosophy can and does go beyond the physically testable to make points.

the first thing that comes to mind is the old “tree falls in the forest” conundrum.

but i digress.

Cale, maybe you can clarify what you meant then?

Ah yes, the old Cartesian duality ..falling trees and such.

Descartes walks into a bar and the barman asks if he wants a drink, he answers “I don’t think so” and disappears.

The beauty is that science can say “god may be dead” but can’t prove one way or the other, if ever it/they were alive, let alone dead.

Philosophy however, can say it categorically.

God is dead. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 108

I take it your a big fan of Nietzsche, KE?

Hey even Pope Benny XVI quoted him, god of erotic love and all that.

That’s the last time I’ll use two of his quotes in a row :>

The nice thing about Philosophers, Theologians and broken clocks is they are sometimes right, on the other hand most of the time no one gives a …whatever.

Just asking; thought maybe there was a reason you were favoring quotes from Nietzsche recently.

I take it your a big fan of Nietzsche, KE?

Nietzche walks into a bar and the bar walks back.

HEY, I’ve been to a bar like that in TEXAS.

AND SURVIVED.

LOL!!!!!!!

Best come back yet!!!

ahhh the good old days.

No place is too good to have been thrown out of in my books.

philosophy can and does go beyond the physically testable to make points.

No. No one ever leaves the physically testable. ‘Abstractions’ are just convenient labels for physical things that aren’t readily tangible to humans in a state of nature.

aren’t readily tangible to humans in a state of nature.

sorry, but.. huh?

if that’s your attempt at an explanation, I’m missing it.

are you really trying to say philosophy is unable to argue the metaphysical?

hmm.

No, I’m saying that its arguments are physical - its calculations are physical - and that the concept of ‘metaphysical’ as it is traditionally used is incoherent.

and that the concept of ‘metaphysical’ as it is traditionally used is incoherent.

I’ll bite, how so?

It requires preconceptions about what constitutes the physical world, preconceptions that cannot be rationally justified.

That is precisely why scientific thought does not include the concept of ‘supernatural’. ‘Metaphysical’ has the same problems.

Put simply, there are no metaphysical things. They do not exist. Nor can they be coherently reasoned about other than to observe that they are impossibilities.

What can we conclude about the properties of a four-sided triangle?

Hey, I’m no philosophy major, but as far as I recal the naturalists are only one school of philosophical thought. You might consider the no-naturalists useless, but I don’t think I would go so far as to call them irrational.

… Pardons, but I’m not going to be able to pursue this again for a few days.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on June 22, 2006 11:56 PM.

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