My name is Chris and I am a 33 year old married Catholic living in Pennsylvania.
I received my MA in Theology from a conservative Catholic university, which was overall a wonderful experience. It’s tough to say what people there thought of origins, although I know a few professors were involved in the Intelligent Design movement.
The odd thing about being a Catholic who accepts the scientific consensus on evolution, climate change, etc. is that while the Vatican has declared that these are acceptable views (ie. “within the bounds of the Magisterium”, as we would say), there are many traditionalist Catholics (who are quite vocal on the Internet these days) who would say I am “infected by modernism” and am a bad Catholic. I really couldn’t care less, but it is rather irritating to feel isolated in this way.
Anyways, I hope I have found a forum where Christians and honest seekers are committed to charitable dialogue. I will mostly be reading as I likely don’t possess the depth of knowledge about the issues as most people here.
It depends. Chris: Are you a “Shroudie”? If not, do you at least affirm the crucifixion, death, entombment, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth?
P.S. I’m an eclectic Christian, firm believer in all of the above, former Catholic Charismatic, and a convert to Catholicism. And I’'m surrounded by a moat and draw-bridges that can be raised or lowered from either end.
Welcome, @EdenValley! I’ve recently returned to BioLogos and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Please don’t sell yourself short. You must have a deep and abiding interest in matters of faith and religion, or you wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of getting an MA in Theology. We all have insights to contribute and that’s why we’re here – to learn from each other!
As you might already be seeing - our open forum here has quite the collection of eclectic personalities and approaches - not all of them necessarily welcoming of views that may differ from their own. But we’re pretty free-ranging around here in terms of who can contribute, even of thoughts that are quite contrary to the Biologos mission. So long as people don’t reduce the conversation to name-calling and just being jerks toward others who have differing views - they’re fine and we let it all carry on.
A couple technical pointers you may find handy if you haven’t already figured it out … You can select some portion of anybody’s post that you want to respond to, and when you do, you’ll see a little “Quote…” drop down pop up. If you click that it will open a new post of your own if you haven’t started one already, and it inserts the selected text as a “Quote” so people can see what you’re responding to. That really helps the conversation flow. You can also use the pencil icon underneath any of your own past posts to edit them as you may wish.
Like @Realspiritik said above - don’t sell yourself short! People from all walks of life are welcome here, and we’re happy to learn from you and your life experiences.
I am Anglican but have tended to read quite a lot of stuff from those I would call Catholic Evolutionists, initially Teilhard de Chardin but I later years people like Ilia Delio (who tries to combine traditional Franciscan thinking with Teilhard de Chardin and others).
So welcome friend.
I ordered two of the books from the latter author. They seem interesting.
Welcome. My father (family is lifelong Catholic) asked me some time not so long ago if I really believe we came from monkeys. At the end of the day, in all Christian fields there is often a disconnect between what theologians believe and what pew warmers believe. The Church everywhere is completely out of touch with the most rudimentary aspects of Biblical criticism. How many people in the congregation understand what the synoptic problem is or why Mark being copied is the best solution to it?
Maybe this is a communication problem in some cases, but I think in a lot the Church isn’t interested in science and many people just don’t care about theology that much to fuss over details like some of us do. They just want their Biblical message and have neither the time nor the studies to worry about such arguments and debates.
On a Sunday to Sunday basis the church is about transforming lives, moving us to preach the gospel, urging us to live charitably and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Science just doesn’t come up in the Catholic church service in my experience. It really shouldn’t unless it is needed. Jesus did not see fit to teach his followers about cosmology or evolution. He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God is at hand. He then just before the ascension commissions them to preach all that he taught them to all nations. We cannot fault the Church for doing what Jesus told it to do. At the end of the day I don’t think God’s as overly concerned with intellectually correct beliefs as some of us are.
Where science does come up a lot would be in denominations that consider themselves at war with it. The fact that Catholic service kind of ignores science is probably a great step in the right direction. They aren’t actively vilifying scientists and causing youth to stumble because they anti-science. I am sure some Catholics do that. My grandmother is 89 and has been a Catholic her whole life and I challenge anyone to imagine anyone more set in their ways. She is priceless but absolutely old school and completely set in her ways and beliefs. There is no convincing her the Genesis flood was not a global worldwide event and what would even be the point in trying? To show how smart and more educated we are? She just accepts the Biblical stories at face value. A lot of people do that and just ignore science because aside from reaping its benefits in terms of healthcare and technology, belief or no belief in evolution really plays little role in their day to day interactions. Ignorance is bliss in a sense.
But there are some of us who are stuck in the mud. Who grew up in a realm of literalism and have come to realize science is correct and the Bible is not what we thought it was. We are the ones undergoing a major paradigm shift and I have no need to drag others into the mud with me (despite misery loving company) unless they ask or bring it up. Especially when they just have private beliefs and are not trying to have 6,000 year old creation taught in science class.
I don’t know. This is advice for me as well. If we were all to imagine every YEC on the planet as our grandmother, maybe dialogue would go a bit smoother.
Also, my grandmother is not going on the internet to argue with people. I have to be honest, I am a member of several big Christian apologetic groups and I find reading the comments makes me hate Christianity. I think there are two reasons for this:
online communication is very impersonal. Just words and ideas to be agreed with or refuted.
the type of people drawn to online theology debate is a small subset of the Christian population and (hopefully) not a major representative sample of the Christian population as a whole.
I think part of trouble you are experiencing maybe stems from you just frequenting certain niches on the internet.
Welcome to the Forum, Chris. There are some other Catholics who participate here. I think the historic longest-running thread we have ever hosted was Catholic philosopher @AntoineSuarez on original sin.
And don’t worry about having to know stuff before you jump into a conversation, it’s fine. We all know stuff about some things and are still learning stuff about other things. It’s totally acceptable to process your non-expert thoughts here with others.
There is possibly another problem with the Catholic Church in that I doubt many priests or bishops have background in science and does nor allow lay people to preach. In the Anglican Church (at least in the Church of England) we have Lay Ministers (Readers) who have a science background ( I am one) and can include aspects of science and my science based work where appropriate in my preaching.The Church of England now has a project “Scientists in Congregations” that actively encourages this. So I hope that in due time the Catholic Church will overcome its clergy dominance in preaching and leading worship and let skilled lay people participate more on the teaching and preaching life of the Church.
I’m sure you know more than enough. Almost no one here is a theologian. For a fact, as far as I know, Christy is the one trained the most in theology through her work of translating the Bible into different languages. There are several scientists here but that’s irrelevant to most theology discussions outside of providing more evidence to support Christian beliefs that are open to accepting scientific realities.
Christians in general tend to know the Bible a bit more than non Christians and Christians who are in forums like this or any forum is more likely to be a Christian that reads the Bible more than just the person you come across on the street. Then when Christians are in forums like this one, they usually tend to have a good grasp at a wide range of theological positions since most of us here read books, listen to podcasts and spend time everyday thinking about something theological.
Good descriptions of great numbers of ‘non-noisy YECs’ (my late parents and faithful aunts and uncles and many, many if not most missionaries)!
It would be nice if we could and they were all like that, but the aforementioned noisy and pharisaical ones are much too in-your-face and ungracious for smooth dialogue. (I’m reminded of the in-my-face NG tube some of you may recall that I got to experience Easter morning last spring – at least it was well-lubricated for relatively smooth insertion. ) Maybe they are best left to themselves.
Then there’s me who came to science after already learning Hebrew and ancient near eastern literature and is struggling to see how anyone could possibly think that the opening Creation story in Genesis could be read literally. My response to evolution is different because I never saw any reason biblically that it should be rejected, and admiring it as an elegant system.
Made me think of my Swiss grandmother; on hearing such an argument she would likely respond, “That’s nice” and keep knitting.
[She was always knitting, even during movies and card games . . . so of course all her grandchildren had to learn to knit as well, and woe to us if we didn’t get blue ribbons at county and state fairs!]
Oh dear. The Catholic Church removed Chardin from his teaching position, generally disapproved of his writings and all but excommunicated him. I wouldn’t recommend that space cadet to anyone. You can’t expect much from a modern Jesuit.