Church of England Declares Evolution, Faith Are Compatible

The Church of England's governing body on Friday approved a motion that emphasizes the compatibility of belief in both God and science.

Dr. Peter Capon, a former computer science lecturer, introduced the motion arguing that "rejecting much mainstream science does nothing to support those Christians who are scientists ... or strengthen the Christian voice in the scientific area."

He urged Christians to take scientific evidence seriously and avoid prejudging science for theological reasons.

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The vote comes as more than 850 congregations throughout the globe are celebrating Evolution Weekend with the aim of demonstrating that evolution poses no problems for their faith.

Religion and science are not adversaries, they say. Rather, the two fields should be seen as complementary, they maintain.

Evolution Weekend, which kicked off Friday, is supported by those of various faith traditions including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Unitarian Universalists.

"Religious leaders around the world are coming together to elevate the quality of the discussion about this important topic. They are demonstrating to their congregations that people can accept all that modern science has learned while retaining their faith," said Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Weekend and professor of Biology at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Since 2004 more than 12,400 Christian clergypersons from various denominations in the United States have signed "The Clergy Letter," expressing their belief "that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist."

In the letter, Christian clergy contend, "Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

"We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth."

Zimmerman, who is leading "The Clergy Letter Project," says those who promote "narrow religious views" and reject the compatibility of science and faith do not speak for all of the world's religious communities.

"Evolution Weekend shows that the disagreement is actually not between religious leaders and scientists, but rather between those who believe that their particular religious views should be incorporated into the science curriculum and clergy who recognize and respect the diversity of different faith traditions," he noted.

The compatibility, or lack thereof, of evolution and faith remains a hot debate among Christians. Prominent evangelical theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. has said he finds it impossible to reconcile the two. While he does not deny that changes do take place in the animal kingdom and that there is even a process of natural selection, he firmly rejects theistic evolution and the argument that the process is entirely natural and in no case supernatural.

"God was not merely fashioning the creation of what was already pre-existent, nor was He merely working with a process in order to guide it in some generalized way, nor was He waiting to see how it would turn out," Mohler has said.

Evolution Weekend is scheduled to be celebrated in conjunction with Charles Darwin's birthday and the anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species.

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