Archive for August, 2008

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution

Posted on August 28, 2008. Filed under: Philosophical Crap, Theological Crap |

Theodosius Dobzhansky was a briliant biologist, geneticist and a Christian.  He was one of the heavy hitters in the development of the Theory of Evolution in the earlier through middle parts of the twentieth century, best known for his modern evolutionary synthesis.  I ran across what could argueably be the greatest article that he’d ever written “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution“.  I wanted to post it here because I think it’s a great article and a great primer for those who may have grown weary of the creationist/intelligent design discussions that have been wending their way through Christian circles in one form of another for a very long time. 

One of the greatest quotes from the article summarizes Dobzhansky’s thoughts on science and faith:

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.”

Although it is somewhat dated (having been published in 1973) it is still relevant to the issues that arise in discussions of science and faith, especially those tending towards evolution.  For those who find Dobzhansky’s article interesting and might want to see a bit more of his thought in action I would recommend reading Genetics and the Origin of Species (Classics of Modern Evolution Series)

The idea of evolution and faith may not be your cup of tea or you may think that a person who holds to one or another is sacrificing either spiritual or intellectual integrity but with honesty and patience a dialogue could form where an understanding may be formed for both sides.

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N. T. Wright from this Year’s Lambeth Conference

Posted on August 5, 2008. Filed under: Theological Crap |

Below is a link to a speech written by N. T. Wright for the Lambeth Conference entitled The Bible and Tomorrow’s World. Based off of his book The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture he talks about how and where the bible gets its authority. As he says in his speech, “When the risen Jesus commissions his followers for their worldwide mission, he does not say ‘all authority in heaven and earth is given to – the books you people are going to go and write.’”

We must then ask ourselves what the bible is for. Wright says, “Basically, I believe that scripture is the book through which the church is enabled to be the church, to be the people of God anticipating his sovereign rule on earth as in heaven, and that this fleshes out what our formularies say in a three-dimensional and energetic fashion.” He then goes on to say that the bible must be looked at as a story, but not in the sense that we usually attribute to it. We can see that the bible has a narrative but then how can a narrative be authoratative?

The answer is to look at it like a 5 Act play (of course Wright goes into more detail than I can here but it is fascinating), “I commend the five-act model to you as a creative and fresh way of understanding and using the Bible for all it’s worth. But it is of course particularly designed to explain how the great story of the Bible is designed to point us to our mission and to equip us precisely for that mission.” According to Wright, the play is not over. Christians are living through the 5th Act of the play. Ending the first section of his speech Wright asks the question, “How can scripture form us for mission in tomorrow’s world?”

I’m not going to ruin the second part. It’s worth reading and I do hope that you’ll check it out.

Here is the outline as it stands in his speech:
Scripture and the Authority of God
Scripture as the vehicle of God’s Authority
God’s authority and God’s Kingdom
Scripture and the Story of God’s Mission
Scripture and the Task of the Church
Foundation: Bible and Culture
The Bible and Gnosticism
The Bible and Empire

For the entire speech: The Bible and Tomorrow’s World

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Michael Dowd Speaks about Evolution and Faith

Posted on August 3, 2008. Filed under: Spiritual Musings, Theological Crap |

From “Ten Minutes With…” an interview conducted by Michael Dowd

“The Rev. Michael Dowd’s Dodge Sprinter van bears an image of kissing fish. The fish, labeled “Darwin” and “Jesus,” reflect his belief that evolution is sacred and that science and religion go hand in hand.

“I’m not into reconciling science and religion,” said Dowd, 49, a former believer in creationism. “If evolution doesn’t wholly jazz someone religiously, they should continue to reject evolution.”

Dowd, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, is the author of the new book, “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your World.”

Since 2002, he and his wife, Connie Barlow, an atheist and a science writer, have lived on the road, sharing their perspective that an understanding of evolution strengthens, rather than undermines, faith….”

Interview continued at RNS

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Black American Bishops Disagree with African Bishops over Inclusion of Gays

Posted on August 3, 2008. Filed under: Spiritual Musings, Theological Crap |

The Lambeth Conference is polarizing black American bishops and African bishops over the inclusion of gays in the clergy.  Allusions to the fight for civil rights in the U.S. and the inclusion of gays are being made and the oppression of blacks is likened to the homosexual oppression in the church.  African bishops claim they know what real oppression is as well and the difference between race and sexual orientation in the faith is a different matter all together citing biblical grounds for the exclusion of homosexuals in the clergy. 

Read the Religious News Service article here.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Calls for Ban on Gay Bishops

Posted on August 3, 2008. Filed under: Spiritual Musings, Theological Crap |

The Archbishop of Canterbury today called for a ban on consecrating any more gay bishops in the Anglican Communion.  He made his plea at the Lambeth conference in front of about 650 bishops.  The bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robison, notable for being the first openly gay Anglican bishop to be elected a few years ago, was barred from taking part in this discussion.  Read the article here.

Allowing openly gay clergy and women clergy has polarized much of organized, main-line Christian denominations against the Anglican communion.  Within the past few years there has also been talk about a major split in the Anglican church as well.  It’s been widely publicized that the African bishops and the quite a few Asian bishops have begun to look at the United States and Europe as mission territories with the understanding that the churches in these areas are straying farther and farther from the will of God.  Facing frustration after frustration, these bishops (and a few conservative bishops in the larger church) have sent out some grumblings about leaving a now “apostatized” church, if they are not able to save it.

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Monk Teaching the Glory and Joy of Sex

Posted on August 3, 2008. Filed under: Spiritual Musings, Theological Crap |

It’s not often that we hear any “good” news from the religious establishment about sex. 

Polish Capuchin Brother Ksawery Knotz

Polish Capuchin Brother Ksawery Knotz

More often than not we are told how bad it is.  Every once in a while someone will speak up and comment on the goodness of sex or even the holiness of sex.  But the stars and planets truly need to be in alignment for someone to combine the two and say that sex is both good AND holy.  Fra. Ksawery Knotz, a Polish monk, has taken it upon his good ol’ celibate self and said that sex can be holy and good at the same time in the same space and son-of-a-gun, the universe won’t implode. 

Fra. Knotz even holds seminars and retreats to help married couples fully enjoy their sexual union and even gives tips on his website.  One of the great things about his marital tips is that he discusses the oft held stereo-types and misunderstandings that Catholic couples may have about what may be considered “sinful” or not.  These days, those types of reassurances (at least in America) aren’t for those who are worried if what they are doing behind closed doors is bad, but for those detractors who believe that the church concerns itself too much with what goes on in the bedroom.  Mostly people only get upset when the church says you shouldn’t do something, but they don’t seem to mind when it says, “Nah, go ahead and have fun with it, it’s not up to us.”

On top of all of this, Fra. Knotz isn’t some kind of renegade monk trying to do his own thing w/o church approval.  He’s gotten the nod from his superiors for his seminars and retreats.  Mary Sibierski with Agence France-Presse just published an article on Fra. Knotz where he was able to briefly talk about what he’s doing and what is going on and mentions the fact that he has approval from Catholic leaders.

Please take the time to check out the article and to scan through Fra. Knotz’s website, I think you’ll be pleased and perhaps even surprised.

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