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Will the US Churches Change Their View On Evolution?

ATLANTA – After a lifetime in the church, the Rev. William L. Rhines Jr. lately has started to question one of the Bible's fundamental teachings, that God created man. It's an especially touchy topic in his Wilmington, Del., congregation, where generations of black worshippers have leaned on faith to endure the indignities of racism.

But as the world marks the 200th birthday of evolution theorist Charles Darwin on Thursday, Rhines figures its time for even the most conservative congregations to come to terms with science.

"We're becoming more middle class, upper middle class, so we have more free time ... to ponder these eternal issues," said Rhines, who will encourage a discussion at Ezion-Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church.

Hundreds of churches this week will revisit the question of whether man evolved from lower order species or was created whole by a higher being as part of Evolution Weekend.

Participation through sermons, Sunday school lessons and even evolution dances has expanded into 974 congregations across the country, more than doubling since the weekend began in 2006, said founder Michael Zimmerman, dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Organizers said the churches include a growing number of conservative groups, among them black and Muslim groups typically linked to more traditional views.

Participants say they're not abandoning the Bible's story of Adam and Eve. Rather, they want to blend theories in a way that helps today's faithful reconcile their modern world with Biblical teachings.

"We have to give God a lot more credit than we give him now — we need to give him the benefit of the doubt that his word includes evolution," said Mike Ghouse, president of the World Muslim Congress, a Dallas-based union of 3,000 Muslims that hosted its first ever Evolution Weekend discussion Friday.

The evolution vs. creation debate has simmered for at least the last 150 years since Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." That volume first suggested populations evolve over generations through a process of natural selection.

Zimmerman argues the faithful can accept parts of creationism — the notion that a higher being created man whole — and evolution.

"Faith is related to one's belief system ... science, on the other hand, is in a different domain," said the Rev. Gerald Kersey, who planned a Sunday school lesson and discussion of Darwin's theories at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.

He blamed religious intolerance for causing many faithful to feel they must choose between science and the Bible.

"I'm presenting the idea that science or evolution is compatible with faith," he said.

Still, many Americans believe that God created man. A 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life found 63 percent of Americans believed humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being.

That percentage is especially high among the nation's black churchgoers, who have been taught for generations to cope with everything from slavery to Jim Crow by using the Bible's teachings, Rhines said.

"We don't want to tamper with what grandma taught us — we've come this far by faith," Rhines said.

At one of the nation's oldest black churches, the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., the Rev. Thurmond Tillman doesn't oppose evolution.

But he argued black Americans have other social issues to address, and the faithful should focus on uniting mankind — not dividing his origins.

"What we're judged on his how we first relate with Him," Tillman said. "And the test of how we relate with Him is how we relate with one another."

___

On the Net:

Evolution Weekend, http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/Evolution_Weekend/2008_evol_weekend.htm

by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 9:21 PM
Replies (31-39):
..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on Sep. 7, 2015 at 12:17 AM
1 mom liked this
And...um...fallible man's theories? You mean, kind of like...interpretations of translations of the Bible? Huh...interesting.

Quoting WaterorWine:

It is the Churche's job to uphold the bible, the word of God who is eternal. People (congregants) can choose to see the creation account as literal or symbolic, but it is not the church's place to add in fallible man's theories which are subject to change at any point.

RaverLady
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2015 at 12:53 AM

Ambulocetus.



Della529
by on Sep. 7, 2015 at 3:06 AM
I wondered the same.

Quoting ..MoonShine..: And...um...fallible man's theories? You mean, kind of like...interpretations of translations of the Bible? Huh...interesting.

Quoting WaterorWine:

It is the Churche's job to uphold the bible, the word of God who is eternal. People (congregants) can choose to see the creation account as literal or symbolic, but it is not the church's place to add in fallible man's theories which are subject to change at any point.

squeekers
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2015 at 3:10 AM
To each their own business but IMO the two will never truly see eye to eye. It isn't in their best interests.
redheadstar
by on Sep. 7, 2015 at 5:04 AM
1 mom liked this

I like when people bump old posts in our Christian group, it can make for some good conversations



Quoting WaterorWine: Oh jeez. The admins bumped it because it was in the group's feed! I didn't search for it and didn't even realize it was an old Post.

Even so, who cares? Not everyone has been around since 2009 and there is no rule against reading old posts. They've been boring lately anyway. Lots of crickets with the same old drivel. Guess the admins thought so too!


Quoting Pema_Jampa:

That's weird..not surprised who bumped it.

Quoting ..MoonShine..: Um...hello, random post from 2009. Funny seeing you here. �

redheadstar
by on Sep. 7, 2015 at 5:07 AM
I like going to Church to hear about the word of God, if I wanted to hear about evolution I can easily put on Nat Geo or the Science channel.
GirlWithANikon
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2015 at 5:10 AM

I think eventually. But soon? No. Religion adapts to the time and culture or it won't survive. There will be further adaptations and maybe another revision of many holy texts in the future. But not next week.

clsquirt
by New Member on Sep. 7, 2015 at 11:50 AM

Unfortunatly I think you may be right.

 

Quoting Piskie: I'm English. .... this truly is bizarre. It's a purely American issue.

 

D-Town
by Platinum Member on Sep. 7, 2015 at 1:35 PM
You do know that science started with the church right?

Quoting jennmarie77:

Um, all I can say is if I sit down on Sunday at church and they start discussing evolution and it could be possible, I will standing right back up and walking out and finding another church. 

I firmly believe we came from God and no scientist will change my mind.

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