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Entry 852, on 2008-09-16 at 20:16:23 (Rating 3, Religion)
I guess the world is gradually progressing. Even conservative institutions like the Catholic Church, and now the Church of England, seem to realise they have made a mistake in the past when they rejected the reality of evolution. I say this because yesterday I read that the Church of England will concede that it was "over-defensive" and over-emotional when it dismissed Darwin's ideas and it will label anti-evolutionary fervour an indictment on the Church.
The apology reads: "Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends."
The Church of England is already in the midst of a lot of controversy and disagreement over other issues such as gay clergy. This is likely to increase that internal conflict and who knows where it might lead. There are already tens of thousands of different denominations and sects of Christianity. In the future there will probably be more, although I did see another headline today where the Catholics want more dialog to discuss their differences with other sections of the faith which could theoretically lead to merging different groups.
So two of the biggest Christian denominations officially support evolution. I guess that means the fundamentalist nutters will see this as further proof that they are the only branch of Christianity that really understands the truth, and will further bury themselves in the false belief of creationism.
As far as I know most Christians accept the Sun is at the center of the Solar System, but I know some people don't even accept this because I am debating with one now. The defense of geocentrism seems to get back to some notion of relativism: all beliefs are personal and one is just as good as any other. That must be the greatest cop out of all time. Its effectively saying "I refuse to discuss whether what I believe is true or not because everything could be true". Philosophically this might be valid because its impossible to absolutely prove anything, but its not a practical or useful philosophy to pursue.
I mention geocentrism because that was a previous mistake the Church realised it had made. They see the rejection of evolution in similar terms to the rejection of Galileo's astronomical discoveries in the 17th century. I wonder where this will end. Will embryonic stem cell research, abortion, and other issues suddenly become acceptable to different branches of Christianity in the near future or will it take 200 years of denial (like it did with Darwin) before they see the light?
The metaphorical use of words involving light and darkness is common in Christian dogma so its especially ironic that believers are amongst the least enlightened people anywhere. But, to be fair, with this small step they are gradually edging towards real facts. They will deny it, but this does weaken Christianity. But denying what's obvious to anyone who bothers to think about it makes Christianity weaker still because that just makes it look stupid.
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