Monday, December 19, 2011

Christianity in Evolution

The Independent has an article on a new book out by Jack Mahoney, called Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration, in which the Jesuit priest addresses the concept of evolution and how it can be incorporated into the theology of Christ. Peter Stanford writes:
Mainstream Christianity long ago dropped overt hostility to Darwin, and even manages to speak of him fondly on occasion, but it has held back from the next logical step, bringing theology and evolution into meaningful dialogue.
Oh? That is not my understanding of the modern mainstream evangelical's take on evolution. Ken Ham and John Morris oversee legions of followers who are told to have nothing whatever to do with Mr. Darwin and anything he stands for. Onward:
This time round, Christianity in Evolution risks causing similar ripples when it argues that embedding evolution in theology would necessitate a wholesale reappraisal of such time-honoured Christian concepts as Original Sin, the Incarnation and the Fall. So Mahoney presents the life of Jesus, the divine made human, not so much in terms of a sacrifice made to atone for our sins, as countless generations of Christians have been told, but as part of an evolutionary cycle. "God [in the person of Jesus] became a member of the human species in order to provide the human race with a human expression in Christ...of the divine altruism that would counter any innate evolutionary tendency to aggressive self- or tribal interest."
This is not so different from what George Murphy has written (if I have interpreted him correctly) and I have a sneaking suspicion that your average Christian will view this perspective rather dimly, as they did his. The concept of original sin is very well-grounded in modern Christianity, and, recent discussions of the genetics of modern humans notwithstanding, is viewed in more of a spiritual, emotional way than a scientific one. I will have to put this on my to-read list.

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