The BioLogos Foundation
arguably has the best web site explaining the compatibility of
evolution and theism.
Evolutionary explanations for species’ origins that incorporate Darwinian mechanisms of random variation and natural selection are deemed incompatible with creation teachings by some religious believers who oppose evolution, and also by some atheists who oppose religion. However, survey and case study data suggest that most scientists and science teachers view evolution as compatible with religious faith, as do many of the major religions' governing bodies in the United States.
Evolution Weekend 2012 will mark the seventh consecutive year in which Darwin's birthday has been observed by congregations to recognize that religion and science, two fields of critical importance to humans, should be seen as complementary rather than confrontational. Evolution Weekend is sponsored by the The Clergy Letter Project. In 2004 an Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science was drafted by Christian clergy in Wisconsin working with Dr. Michael Zimmerman, then Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Jewish rabbis recently drafted a similar letter. The Clergy Letter Project sponsored the first Evolution Sunday in 2006; Evolution Sunday was expanded to Evolution Weekend in 2008 to accommodate events on multiple days.
68% of Americans surveyed in 1999 considered evolution compatible
with belief in a divine creator, and 66% did not want creationism
taught as science (Evolution
of Public Opinion). Similar views are even more prevalent
among scientists. 84% of Ohio college science professors
surveyed in 2002 considered the theory of evolution consistent
with belief in God (Ohio
Scientists' Intelligent Design Poll).
Roman Catholic theologian John F. Haught writes: "Any
judgment that evolution is an inherently materialistic or
atheistic notion is not itself a strictly scientific claim, but
instead a belief." (Responses to 101 Questions on God
and Evolution, Paulist Press, 2001, p. 108).
C. S. Lewis was sympathetic to some anti-evolution arguments
because he recognized that extra-scientific atheistic philosophy
was (and still is) promoted as if it were a necessary part of
evolutionary science. However, Lewis refused invitations to
reject evolution outright. The following quotation comes
S. Lewis on Creation and Evolution: The Acworth Letters,
1944-1960 by Gary B. Ferngren and Ronald L. Numbers (Perspectives
on Science and Christian Faith, Volume 48, Number 1, March
Design by Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett provides a
lighthearted but insightful argument for viewing evolution as part
of God's creation.
Anglican priest John
Polkinghorne is one of many scientist-theologians believing
in both a Creator and modern evolutionary science, while
rejecting both atheistic materialism and religiously-motivated
attempts to find scientific "alternatives" to evolution.
Please click here for
two quotations from Polkinghorne's recent publications.
Even many conservative Christian theologians teach that the
creation stories in the Bible should not be read as historical or
scientific accounts; for example, see Making
Sense of Genesis 1 by R. E. Watts.
“We seem to be engaged in contentious, destructive, and wholly unnecessary debate about evolution and creation. From my perspective as a scientist working on the genome, the evidence in favor of evolution is overwhelming . . . Outside of a time machine, Darwin could hardly have imagined a more powerful data set than comparative genomics to confirm his theory.”Dr. Collins eloquently concluded his lecture with the following words:
“I think scientist-believers are the most fortunate. We have the opportunity to explore the natural world at a time in history where mysteries are being revealed almost on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to perceive the unraveling of those mysteries in a special perspective that is an uncovering of God’s grandeur. This is a particularly wonderful form of worship.”Those of us who view theism and evolution as compatible realize that some people (both atheists and theists) will not agree with us. Some vocal atheists defend their belief as if it were a necessary correlate of evolutionary science. Some anti-evolutionists similarly echo the claim that evolution necessarily leads to atheism. All we ask is that different views be articulated as clearly as possible, without "spin" and without antagonism or hostility. For example, we can respect the approach taken by Dr. Todd Wood of Bryan College, who acknowledges that evolution is good science and that it's his personal faith choice to reject it. Dr. Wood shows that misrepresenting or denying scientific evidence is not the only approach available to those who cannot accept evolution for religious reasons.