I’m an occasional contributor at Sustainablog, an excellent environmental blog. My posts are usually about religion as it intersects with ecology. Today, I offered my thoughts on Evolution Weekend, which has been covered quite a bit in the news this week. I especially enjoyed NPR’s Fresh Air (listen to it here).
Hey, you know that old conflict between religion and science? Remember the Scopes monkey trial in 1925 or the 1960 film about the case? How about the legislative battles of the last few years in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Kansas over the mandatory inclusion of intelligent design alongside evolution in public schools?
Waiting for worldviews to change to accommodate new science is like watching the emergence of multicellularity. Keep in mind that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is only 150 years old. Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres was published in 1543. That book wasn’t completely dropped from the Vatican’s list of banned books for another 300 years. (I wonder if foundation-shattering books would fly under heresy radars if the titles didn’t start with “On the…”)
Chuck, on the other hand, just got fast-tracked! On Darwin’s 200th birthday, the Vatican is officially on board with evolution! Also, more than 800 pastors and rabbis are celebrating “Evolution Weekend.”
NPR reported that even in The Bible Belt there is a quiet shift away from biblical literalism. Henry Green, a Southern Baptist minister in Maryland is one of the pastors now preaching about evolution in the pulpit.
“Well, guess what, I believe God created,” says Green, “but I also believe that the scientists have it right in understanding that creation.”
This shift that’s taking place integrates contemporary science with spiritual insights in religious texts. As a minister myself, I think this piece is a necessity when it comes to getting our flocks on board with healing the Earth as an integral part of faith.
When we can no longer remember when religion and science were at odds with one another – when as one species we recognize that we have only been here for a blink of an eye in the history of life on Earth – we’ll be unified in seeing the seriousness of the violence against Creation/Earth that we’ve done in our short lifespan. Maybe then we’ll have the common will needed to restructure our institutions and businesses in life-giving rather than destructive ways. Maybe we’re ready to pick up the shovels now.
Evolution Weekend gives me hope for that kind of future.
You can find all of my Sustainablog posts here. As we get closer to Lent, check out my Green Lent series from last year.