Thursday, September 07, 2006

RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM

Following the Pope's latest symposium on creation and evolution, catholicnews.com reports that:
"The minutes will show how Catholic theologians see no contradiction between their belief in divine creation and the scientific theory of evolution, participants told reporters at the end of the meeting.1
How no contradiction can be seen between these two opposing views of the cosmos is baffling. I have to write this statement down as another example of religious syncretism which gotquestions.org describes in the following way:
Religious syncretism often takes place when foreign beliefs are introduced to an indigenous belief system and the teachings are blended. The new, heterogeneous religion then takes a shape of its own. This has been seen most clearly in Roman Catholic missionary history.2
If you are a member of the Catholic church, I mean you no disrespect, but I can come to no other conclusion but that they are accepting and teaching error.


Copyright © 2001 Dan Lietha. www.DanLtoons.com

The Bible says that God created the world in six literal days. But those who see no contradiction between the two systems say this is myth or legend. I disagree. The Genesis account is not legend any more than the Noahic flood or resurrection of Christ are legends. We are talking about people who don't believe in God when we talk about those who believe in evolution theory. Evolution is a naturalistic explanation for the living world and this theory stands in stark contrast and is opposed to what the Bible says about the creation. And the syncretism which the Jesuits have no problem accepting, which is also known as Theistic Evolution, is I believe an unnecessary and unwise position to hold.

1. "No Shift in Church's Position in Evolution, Jesuit Says", Accessed at: http://www.cathnews.com/news/609/36.php
2. "What is religious syncretism?" Access at: http://www.gotquestions.org/syncretism-religious.html

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Why do fundamentalists always go after evolutionary biology as contradicting the Bible? In fact virtually all the sciences are somewhat at odds with a literal interpertation of the Bible. Yes even the science (electronics, molecular and quantum physics) that make your very Blog possible. For example, Astronomy (not astrology which is not a science)
    Geology, Quantum physics, Chemistry, Oceanography, and Antropology all have as a core assumtion that the universe is billions of years old. The conservation of matter and energy is critical to understanding the everyday physics that have enabled the construction of your car, television, ipod, computer...
    The Biblical Flood violates this concept; there is not enough water to flood the entire earth- so where did the extra water come from? "From God" is what I imagine you might say, but theological answers aren't useful in science. Therefore I feel it is your duty to come out against ALL the sciences and renounce those things that are the products of that heretical discipline (maybe like the Ahmish do) or you risk being seen as a hypocrite by God.

    Mark

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  2. Greetings Mark,

    I guess in your words I "go after" evolutionary biology because virtually all of the sciences are at odds with the theory of evolution.

    One problem of evolutionary biology is the sudden appearance of major fossil groups. You could have forty billions years for the theory to work and it still could not explain why abundant and complex life is all that is witnessed in the fossil record.

    Another problem for evolutionary biologists is explaining exactly how natural selection works on the molecular level. These tiny functioning little machines didn't come into being gradually, but instantly with all of their different parts. A critic of creationism explained the cell in this way:

    "The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of . . . large protein machines. . . . Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function machines? Precisely because, like the machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts."1

    I believe the Bible describes many miracles that don't comply with the normal laws of nature. The living cell is beyond explanation. The complex parts that make the whole had to all come into being at the same time, not gradually over aeons of times.

    If I have come across as too judgmental I apologize, but maybe you could be a little kinder not to suggest I'm being a hypocrite because I believe God made man on the sixth day, a 24 hour period of time.

    Now I can't tell if you even believe in God, but if you do, and if you are a Theistic Evolutionist, then you are only arguing with me about the matter of time: did God create the world in six days or did God do it in six billion years? But I wish it were only that simple.

    Because evolution is especially designed to explain the universe without God. Adapting the clear Bible text which gives credit to God for the special act of creation is not something evolution permits.

    Oh, and by the way, here are some more works of God that DO NOT conform to the evolution framework of time, all of which I believe:

    1. God exist. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. He has no beginning or end. And the God I believe in could make the world and everything in it in a single day, if he so desired to.

    2. Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God and He was born of a virgin, a woman who had not yet been with a man.

    3. Jesus Christ died on a cross and his death on a cross was accomplished in order that my sins my be forgiven.

    4. Heaven and Hell are real places where each soul, the real person within the body which cannot be explained by evolution, will reside in one or the other after this life

    5. The Bible is God's Word as it has come from Him through the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Have a good day.

    ___
    1. Alberts, B., "The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines," Cell, vol. 92, February 6, 1998. as cited at: http://www.icr.org/article/2594/

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  3. Anonymous12:09 PM

    I apologize for suggesting that you are a hypocrite. I stumbled onto your blog site while accessing my sister's site. I am an agnostic but I believe in the wisdom of the teachings of Christ as they apply to our behavior toward one another, but not in his divinity. I am a cellular biologist and I could argue for days about your assertion that we can't understand the total workings of the Cell. We are not quite there yet but we have a pretty good overview and are making progress every day. Judging from your list of beliefs I don't think either of us could convince the other to see things the our own way. If you feel that strongly about your faith then the more power to you. I think that perhaps my last posting was a little intrusive but I just get frustrated some times that a lot of people don't really understand science well enough to make informed statements about certain subjects, and sometimes I get the feeling that people in my profession are considered somehow "evil" which is far from the truth. We investigate the world around us (ideally) without any preconceptions and what we find sometimes disturbs people with strongly held beliefs. I wish this were not the case. Having said that I again apologize for sticking my nose where it probably dosn't belong.

    Mark

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  4. Dear Mark,
    I don't think you are evil. You are most likely a really decent guy. I can understand your frustration because you must constantly feel you are under attack by people such as me. But I'm really not attacking the science at all. I love science and find the descriptions of cellular biology very interesting. I think our paths only diverge when we begin to talk about how it was assembled. I look at it all and think God did it.

    Admittedly, my expertise is not science, but I read from many people whose is and who believe what I believe about creationism. While they have similar credentials as you, it is their scholarship that is under attack for believing what they do.

    I really don't mind that you posted and gave your opinion on my beliefs. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    - Dan

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