IF the Church were to call evolution of any sort heretical, would you [theistic evolutionists] abandon ship?


#1

Yes, I already understand the Church already defined itself on evolution – and in a rather accommodating way I might add:rolleyes:, so before anyone cries “false dilemma”, the real context of this hypothetical question here is about loyalty.

I’m simply…

Does your ultimate loyalty stand first behind the magisterium or behind scientific evidence and consensus?

In the context of evolution, it’s of course possible to have it both ways without any obvious inconsistency, but what if the Church forced you to choose?

Quite frankly I’m glad the Church has ruled the way it has here (for the sake of the advance of science), but for many of us outside “the ship”, we feel there already is a conflict of interest and we’ve made up our minds accordingly, but…

For those of you who are comfortable with both the Church and Evolution right now, how would you react if the Church* did* rule against something so seemingly black and white?

Not to bait or stir up passions or anything, I simply want to investigate where people stand…:slight_smile:


#2

Nope, won’t happen. I agree with Christoph Cardinal Schönborn. get his book Chance or Purpose?


#3

I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here…

Are you saying you’re a creationist or that you’d stick by the Church even if it declared evolution and the science behind it heretical? OR…Are you saying simply that the Church would never change its position on this anyway (because I pretty much addressed that issue in my intro) ?

So, care to elaborate? :o


#4

I think these types of questions are silly. It reminds me of those people who somehow think that the Church is going to suddenly allow abortion or homosexual marriage or something.

This is not going to happen, so what’s the point of debating it?

If you wanted to ask about loyalty, than ask directly. Just ask, “If the Church incorporated something you don’t believe into doctrine, what would you do?” Much simpler, and more reasonable I think. Obvious examples would be something like the Assumption or the Immaculate Conception. Plenty of historical controversy. Personally, I don’t really much understand the Assumption. But I realize that I don’t exactly study this stuff for a living, so I figure the Church knows more than I do. Seems reasonable.

And besides, there are very few Church related things (that would fall into the same level of severity as evolution) that Catholics are required to believe.


#5

I have to admit that that’s EXACTLY the sort of perception I was afraid people would have of my question. :frowning: Thanks for pointing it out Mr. silly-pants. :rolleyes:

It reminds me of those people who somehow think that the Church is going to suddenly allow abortion or homosexual marriage or something.

Of course the Church is NEVER EVER EVER going to reverse its stances on gay-marriage or abortion! Would it be reasonable? *From my perspective and my perspective only: *Sure! :slight_smile: BUT…Would it be pragmatic? NO…Since it would be saying to the world:

“sorry guys but we sort of got it wrong all this time…you still believe we’re infallible…right?:o” – which, as implied, would shoot themselves in the foot eternally!

This is not going to happen, so what’s the point of debating it?

That’s sort of WHY I’m debating it! You see there Cap’n, I could ask a similar question like “What if the Church declared gayness/‘SSA’ completely fine and dandy? Would you jump ship then?” but that would be a completely stupid question to ask since no Catholic here would sympathize with that ruling and would probably leave the Church immediately, just like a bunch of Episcopalians did after *their *Church made that ruling.

However, once we get into evolution, we get into a bit of a grey area for Catholics. Neither side of the evolution debate is 100% convincing if you come with your biases. Thus in this case, the informed Catholic man would have a hard choice to make unlike in the “gayness/SSA” example above: he’d either have to trust in the theology of the Church or the science of the scientific community. And so, although EXTREMELY EXTREMELY UNLIKELY EVER TO HAPPEN EVER, this hypothetical question cuts more to the core than any pathetic abortion or homosexuality question! :wink:

(oh yeah…and the “Good Shepard Episcopal Church” whose members “jumped ship” a couple years ago is only three blocks away from my house! :cool:)


#6

If God told me I could have Him or have the truth, I’d still go with Him. But He’s not the kind of a God Who would ask me to make such a choice.

And neither is His Church.


#7

The Church isn’t in the business of declaring scientific truths or denouncing scientific theories; this wouldn’t happen.


#8

Wow! I sure love the enthusiasm here. :sleep: :yawn: :sleep:

But from the first FIVE participants (which DEFINITELY sums up the opinion of the whole Catholic community :rolleyes:) only 40% of Catholics would be willing to cross swords with the Church if it was bold enough to heretical-ize science!

If nothing else happens, that’s the impression I’m gonna to be stuck with. :frowning:


#9

Everything points to the contrary.

The very idea of the existence of a Being outside of nature as an explanation FOR nature is (with all due respect) a statement ABOUT nature, and so is most definitely a scientific statement.! Of course, such a statement is more or less unfalsifiable, so what do I or the rest of the agnostic community care? Nothing. It really doesn’t matter to us.

But more specific issues like the origin and nature of species and the purpose and use of our human bodies DOES matter and DOES concern every one of us.


#10

[size=1]The very idea of the existence of a Being outside of nature as an explanation FOR nature is (with all due respect) a statement ABOUT nature, and so is most definitely a scientific statement.!## God is in no sense a natural phenomenon - though I think I see what you mean. To confuse God with nature in any way is a very serious error :frowning: [/size]

Of course, such a statement is more or less unfalsifiable, so what do I or the rest of the agnostic community care? Nothing. It really doesn’t matter to us.

But more specific issues like the origin and nature of species and the purpose and use of our human bodies DOES matter and DOES concern every one of us.

No dogma is endangered by belief in evolution, so belief in evolution cannnot be judged heretical. Unless either

[LIST]
*]the type of evolution believed in is objectionable on other grounds, as some are;
*]or, the Church were to return to the Fundamentalist ideas it used to accept. [/LIST]But evolution as such is compatible with Catholic dogma.


#11

so it is pretty much outside the realm of scientific statements.


#12

Scientific investigation gives light to the working of God - nothing more. The Church has nothing to fear from science, and no reason to get involved in it.


#13

Yes, I already understand the Church already defined itself on evolution – and in a rather accommodating way I might add:rolleyes:

-Laurence

I agree :rolleyes:

I agree. I take it you don’t think that the Church should interfere with embryonic stem cell research or cloning, or any other such promising fields of science?

I think the Church dogmatically believes in some kind of intelligent design, even if through evolution, which goes directly against the method and findings of science.

Also, zian, declaring “truths” on the nature of the universe and its origin by divine revelation is anti-science precisely because they are unfalsifiable.


#14

lol. Try reading Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine.

And to be clear, the Church has expressed favor with all non-life-threatening forms of science. So I mean, chemical abortions are certainly science but since they are life threatening they are illegitimate forms of science.


#15

Yes of course it is outside the realm of science, just like my imaginary friend made of watermelon mold. The only difference is I don’t attribute attribute anything in the tangible universe to the actions or will of said watermelon mold. :wink:


#16

if the church declared the scientific theory of evolution heretical that would only happen if science herself had proven beyond the shadow of doubt the theory is false, so I, like the church, would accept the verdict of science. Since science has not yet proven either the truth or falsity of the theory, I, like the Church, keep my options open.


#17

This “scenario” or hypothetical experiment or whatever you call it has been tried. When the Church said heliocentrism was “heretical” based on an interpretation of Scripture, the Church eventually caved in to the scientific evidence.

No scientific theory can be declared heretical, since scientific theories are based on data, evidence, observations, etc, which are themselves neutral to God and religion. When science says evolution is wrong and needs to be abandoned, the Church will then follow suit with what the science says.

There is no need to be unsure what the Church’s official position is toward evolution, see Schonborn’s 2007 book (not his 2005 NY Times editorial which is not re-printed in the book, but the book itself) Chance or Purpose (Ignatius Press, 2007), based on his 2005-2006 Catechetical Lectures (originally in German, some were hastily translated into English, the book presents a fresh translation into English). If Schonborn doesn’t know what the Catholic Church teaches about creation and evolution, no one does. :thumbsup:

There is another book I would recommend, which I just got through used bookseller www.AbeBooks.com

Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought by Livingstone (Eerdmans, 1987). Once again, evangelicals and fundamentalists who support creationism don’t know their own history. Also Perspectives on an Evolving Creation (Eerdmans, 2003) by evangelical scientists.

Phil P


#18

Well I hope you do. :smiley:

No dogma is endangered by belief in evolution, so belief in evolution cannnot be judged heretical…But evolution as such is compatible with Catholic dogma.

But what if the Church made up its mind differently and ruled that basically “God did what he wanted to do in the most efficient time frame possible and thus created the world like BAM!!!” ???

Who’d you side with in such a dilemma? Or in other words: I’m curious as to the level of accountability Catholics hold for their Church.

Do you or any other Catholics even set a bar? This is what I’m curious of here.


#19

No individual Catholic “sets the bar”. The Chuch is not a democracy. God “sets the bar”. His prime minister, the pope, all along with his helpers, tell us where the bar is set and how to reach it. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will guide His Church in all truth. So, I think I will go with whatever the Church come up with.


#20

I don’t see how you helped your case here. :ehh:

No scientific theory can be declared heretical, since scientific theories are based on data, evidence, observations, etc, which are themselves neutral to God and religion. When science says evolution is wrong and needs to be abandoned, the Church will then follow suit with what the science says.

Not to intrude with another debate, but the Church states again and again and again that homosexuality is unnatural (definitely a statement about nature), yet every debate I’ve read here on CAF ends with the oppossite conclusion being presented from scientific sources and then VOILA!!!..The thread sort of just dies off :(.

Now I really don’t want to sidetrack into this since I *know *we disagree here and I really have no homosexual-science credentials to speak of, but the point is the Church does make rulings – scientific rulings – about the nature of the universe. That was just one example.

However, on the issue of evolution, the Church could’ve dove screaming and hollering onto the creationism side, but instead made the wise & pragmatic decision to sit on the cushioned fence of mutual appeasement.

But what if it didn’t? And as I stated above, for better or worse, the Church *does *make scientific statements!

There is no need to be unsure what the Church’s official position is toward evolution, see Schonborn’s 2007 book (not his 2005 NY Times editorial which is not re-printed in the book, but the book itself) Chance or Purpose (Ignatius Press, 2007), based on his 2005-2006 Catechetical Lectures (originally in German, some were hastily translated into English, the book presents a fresh translation into English). If Schonborn doesn’t know what the Catholic Church teaches about creation and evolution, no one does. :thumbsup:

I’m well aware of the Church’s pragmatism.


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