so what is a christian evolutionist?

Hilary Bates hbates at amgen.com
Thu Aug 29 15:11:25 EST 1996


Sarah Boomer <sarai at u.washington.edu> wrote:
>Yet another fascinating topic...

Absolutely!

First of all, I'd like to say thanks to those who have already expressed
support for the views I've expressed so far, both privately and on the
newsgroup. It's great to be part of a newsgroup that is so positive and
supportive (not to mention flame-free!).

>Several women have remarked that they are christians and evolutionists.
>Having myself been partially reared in Lutheranism but always firmly
>believed and studied evoltion in my science training, I guess I am in that
>league.  But, man - my partner is a hard-core objective-thinking
>evolutionary biologist who denies all faith on scientific grounds (can't
>prove it)

But we can't disprove it either, and I find that sufficient, even though
I know (as we all do) how difficult it is to prove a negative, especially
in biology.

As far as Creation goes, I believe that Genesis gives us a general outline,
and trust those theological scholars who say that the original Hebrew
could have been translated in more than one way (e.g. day vs. longer less 
well defined time period, Adam vs. mankind etc.). Darwin gives us a more
analytical perspective on the process, filling in many, though not all, of
the gaps. I see no contradiction with a God who created by means of an
evolutionary process.

 and we just have a large gap in our perspective on the world.  I
>consider myself fundamentally "subjective" because I do think there are
>things I take on faith or attribute to higher, spiritual things (not
>christian per se - I don't practice any organized religion).

I also take many things on faith, and don't believe in coincidence. Yes,
my perspective is Christian, and also Bible-centred, but that doesn't
make me a fundamentalist - I look for God at work in what I observe in my
life and in my work, but I also see God as rational and logical, and the
ultimate Creator of the scientific universe. I see the Bible as a 
description with some details missing - more of a why-it-happened, than a
what-happened - but not to be taken literally. Unless one understands all
the original languages in which it was written, one can't possibly
understand it fully, and as the original languages were not English, we
are immediately at the mercy of fallible translators.

>Where do your lines overlap?  Where does faith come in?  How do you deal
>with it (or have you ever had to) with family, friends, colleagues,
>partners?

I've never dealt with any outright hostility, though I've met several
genuine enquirers who hold their own beliefs strongly and want to know how
I can justify mine. I've had many very interesting conversations with such
people, and although it hasn't usually changed my viewpoint, it's certainly
made me think about my faith, and strengthen its framework.

>Seeking enlightenment,  Sarah

I'd be glad to elaborate on the points I've made briefly above if people
are interested, but that does start to get into the realm of highly
personal, highly subjective beliefs, and the only honest way I can handle
those is to say "This is what I believe". No-one else has to believe the
same way!

Hilary
hbates at amgen.com
<><


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