Sunday, August 24, 2008

what percentage are we?

It does not ask if both are possible in their own realities, but this Gallup poll shows that both things are believable.

Yet, stand in the midst of evolutionary biologists and speak of the joy of living in God's unfolding creation and see who agrees, some will.

Stand in the midst of many American Christians, and speak of the wonders of DNA and the evolution of life from bacteria and then mention primates and humans and see who agrees, some will.

There are times I sit in church and my science education knocks on some neurons and I think, "How can I believe in this hocus pocus nonsense?" There are times I try to understand the wonders of life and how exactly evolution works and my overwhelmed brain says, "It is too complicated."

The first doubt leads to atheism, the second leads to Intelligent Design theory.

Most of the time I am comfortable with both (not atheism and ID)... standing in the middle believing in the fact of evolution and the truth of Christianity. Fact and truth. This is how Joe Paprocki explains it in his book, A Well Built Faith. This I found in a book for teaching the basics of the faith to young and old Catholics. What a better world we would have if we weren't told to choose one. It is a good thing to believe. Both sides of this battle claims the other is unbelievable. Just because one is true does that make the other one impossible.

So do I believe in two unbelievable thoughts, or in two believable thoughts.

Things evolve, and not just biological. I am rather certain that the Catholic church has not always had their presses (Loyola Press in this case) putting out books saying it is OK to believe in both. Problems come when we stop believing that things have changed or try to stop the changes.... when we dig in our heels in the midst of a better reality and refuse to ride that wave of a unfolding creation. Who would I be if I had not studied evolution? Who would I be if I was not accepting of my spiritual life?

What is God's exact role in the process? Who knows? But those who are righteously certain stand on both sides of me screaming at each other as I stand in a bookstore trying to find a book on evolution. At school I am comfortable being in the realms of science and what studies about life have proven to be true. I am also comfortable walking with a God that looks down at creation and says, "It is Good." This spiritual truth does not get taught in my classroom, except if a student struggles with both, then I will say that there are those who see it both ways. I don't preach, but I refuse to say one is wrong. I tell them that there is no living human who knows exactly how life started, and be grateful that there are mysteries, then I teach them biology through the vision of one who believes in evolution.

I am not alone here in the midst of the anger and hatred that has emerged in this debate, though I imagine our demographic group would be a small percentage. Maybe next time the folk at Gallup will have another possible answer when they ask their questions.


  1. A discussion that often runs through my mind as well. Perhaps the difference is that some of us believe in God and others believe in dogma ( I speak here not only of Catholics). I'm still searching for and yearning for something beyond my comprehension.

  2. Beryl--- Maybe that is why I am attracted to both, I enjoy immersing myself into things I can't comprehend.

  3. I've been stuck with the issue of belief vs faith for a couple of weeks now. Believe what you want, as far as I'm concerned, but aim for faith, God-given faith in what you believe. It's worked thus far for me...

  4. I'm definitely more of a both/and person or maybe pieces-of-this/pieces-of-that person. I believe that it's possible that when "God said let there be light", the result was the Big Bang.

    Interesting post which made me think about the anger, the middle, and science teaching.

  5. Jim--- I like that... faith in what you believe...

    Kathryn-- thanks for the visit. A fews years back a minister and I had some fun imagining what Genesis would be like if they knew then what science has told us now... your comment made me think of that experience.

  6. You sound like a cool teacher, and I appreciate that. I know God is beyond my comprehension, and that is wonderful to me. I figure God is capable of taking all things and turning them for good - may take a while, but then, God has all the time in the world.

    My Mom used to say that I had three favorite sayings: I'll tell you what, On the other hand, and Let's do it. I think they fit together very well with mystery, creation, God and lots of other things.

  7. sharecropper--- thanks for the visit... the line about all things being potentially good reminds me of the Jesuits. Money for example, yes it can lead to much evil, but it can also lead to good...


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