Is it a sin to deny evolutionary theory, the Big Bang, geophysics?


#1

It’s a serious question.

It seems to me very much that people who deny evolutionary theory and the Big Bang do so out of a motivation to preserve their religious beliefs, which are often based on assumptions that the Bible (or Quran or other holy book) describes literal truth.

It seems to me that science is now at the point where no serious and objective look at biology, physics, cosmology, and geology can come to any conclusion other than that the development of our universe began with a Big Bang (which modern physics still cannot explain), and that human beings are the evolutionary descendants of single-called organisms.

I am a practicing Roman Catholic who believes in our divine origins, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the ultimate resurrection of those who love him on the Last Day. I do not contest any part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in addressing these questions.

I’m not posting this to debate the science. As far as I’m concerned, there is no objective way to contest these conclusions. As such, I would like to ask whether a Catholic may deny evolutionary theory, Big Bang theory, and the geological history of planet earth without committing a sin.

In particular, I see two sins which are possible in denying scientific theories that the overwhelming majority of scientists in the respective fields accept as the best possible explanations of observations available to us. First, I think that it is possible that denying these theories after examining all available information may be dishonest. Second, I think that constructing a set of religious beliefs that rely on denying scientific theories may be a form of idolatry, in that it sets up a faith contingent on human desires, not divine instruction.

In raising these questions, I am not saying that science “has it all figured out.” Far from it. String theory is a lost morass. Cognitive neuroscience lacks a mechanistic explanation of human consciousness. We cannot explain why the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has so far found no confirmation of intelligent life outside of earth. However, each of these questions is amenable to further scientific inquiry. As such, I am comfortable with uncertainty in scientific understanding of the world.


#2

Earthly science, unlike technology, is a scam. Of course it’s not sinful.


#3

Evolution is a banned topic.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=408684

Peace,
Ed


#4

No doubt you are eliminating Catholicism since the Catholic Church is specific as to which evolution theory or evolution model is being discussed in this decade.


#5

Those who are familiar with the domain of the Catholic Church would answer no. Those who are familiar with actual 21st century science research in the area of human origin would also answer no.


#6

Simple answer: no.

You can be a literal six-day Creationist and be in good standing with the Church.

You can believe in intelligent design, old-earth Creationism, or even theistic evolution and still remain safe.

However, you cannot affirm creation as having begun from pre-existing elements (creation is ex nihilo), or atheistic evolution. These have been condemned by official Church teaching. :slight_smile:


#7

No matter if you think it’s right or wrong, simply be honest and love God and humanity, and you will be free from sin.


#8

It’s an interesting question. I would say it depends on a person’s background (how educated one is). To be willfully ignorant could be considered morally wrong - by this I mean rejecting these theories for emotional reasons (I don’t mean everyone is obliged to learn about them). I mean, it’s wrong to delude oneself.

It’s more clearly wrong to teach other people to reject these ideas, or to set oneself up as an authority if one is not.

Someone might not clearly know what the Big Bang theory is, and it’s not a moral obligation to find out, but such a person should not deny it.

Notice I’m not a Catholic, and I don’t know how a person trained in Catholic ethics would express this or whether they would accept this argument.


#9

According to this catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution and Humani Generis, nope.

Since evolution/big bang are scientific topics, not theological ones, **we are not required to believe either way, as long as we believe that the human soul was made through an act of special creation, that Adam and Eve were the first true humans (with souls and fully evolved), and that the fall happened (though we need not believe it literally involved eating a fruit). **
Since pursuing the truth can only lead on closer to the ultimate truth of God, the church has nothing to fear from scientific investigation. That said, since evolution isn’t 100% PROVED and is not a religious topic anyways, Catholics can believe in a literal six day creation without sinning, so long as they do not purport that the Church teaches that evolution is wrong.
The last bit is very important because, as St Thomas Aquinas said, “The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”

But, if you don’t present it as dogma, it’s okay to believe in six day creation.


#10

Well… the Bible is literally true – that is, it’s true on its face – but Catholics aren’t required to hold that it’s literalistically true (that is, that a sort of fundamentalist Catholicism is a required stance).

It seems to me that science is now at the point where no serious and objective look at biology, physics, cosmology, and geology can come to any conclusion other than that … human beings are the evolutionary descendants of single-called organisms.

Yep. The question remains, though: at what point were we infused with an immortal soul? That is, although we can hold to the dogmatic truth of the creation account, we can also do so in the context of a scientific account that holds to evolutionary tenets…!

I would like to ask whether a Catholic may deny evolutionary theory, Big Bang theory, and the geological history of planet earth without committing a sin.

Framed up the way that I’ve (briefly) sketched it, above, it would seem that there’s no conflict… don’t you think?


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