Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Evolving Out of the Closet

I like the diversity of the Christian faith. It's challenging and exciting at the same time, and I've been lucky enough to attend a few different denominations and experienced the differences. If you're a believer and never switched denominations you're missing out on a great experience.

Something that doesn't appear in church doctrine but does appear in church culture is an attitude to the theory of evolution. It's never taught from the pulpit, and rarely mentioned in passing. Sometimes it appears as preachers remark about the divine involvement in the physical world. Sometimes it appears in the midst of an apologetic sermon on intelligent design. And separate to the pulpit? Well, that's the interesting part.

From what I've seen, one's opinion on the theory of evolution seems to stay firmly hidden. It is the thought that dare not speak its name. It's almost as if it's left alone for the sake of peaceful coexistence. Almost. There are some quite vocal people who adamantly express their opinions, to the point of stifling alternative views. This sort of thing happens in all kinds of groups, and in the church it certainly happens with evolution. I expect there are probably Christians who hint at it in hushed tones in order to ascertain what the person next to them really believes.

In the end, however, what one believes about it only appears in a coming-out experience. I wonder if we need to mark it in the calendar as the day each of us came out of the heretical closet and firmly said what we believe about evolution.

The notion of a doctrinal unity in the church is not as rigid as its opponents might suggest. If in formal doctrine there are too many differences, this diversity explodes when it comes to informal or folk doctrines. Don't bother to try and count them.

Nevertheless, I know I've come out of the evolutionary closet already. Maybe I should have had a parade.
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