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← Conversion on Mount Improbable: How Evolution Challenges Christian Dogma

Mark Jones's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Mark Jones

It's nice to see that scientific arguments do have the power to affect religious beliefs; for some people, anyway.

Darwin's theory doesn't disprove god, but it provides a whole stack of evidence against the Christian god; so much so, that a reasonable person who understands it should reject Christianity, imo. As well as the 'original couple' problem outlined in the piece, which is surely fatal to the Christian salvation narrative, the facts of natural selection add to the mountain of unnecessary suffering evident in the world, exacerbating the evidential problem of evil for a Christian, benevolent, god. Also, as Dennett points out, it debunks the Christian 'mind-first' view of the world. The facts of evolution show that minds are complex; that we complex things arise from less complex things; and that ultimately we came from much simpler things. This inversion is toxic to traditional Christian views of the ordering of the universe.

The project of religion has been sin eradication, and that approach now appears to be a fundamental denial of human nature.

This is an interesting comment, but I would like to see it expanded; I'm not sure many Christians I've spoken to would agree with it, as stated. Many point out that we are sinful, maybe inherently so, and that sin cannot be eradicated, and that is why we need salvation. So, in a sense, they are accepting the truth of our natures as revealed by natural selection. So the religious project is a reconciliation of the tensions we feel, and we can atone for our sins. It's a way to dispel the uncomfortable feelings generated by our evolved traits. (Of course, as a naturalist I say atonement is unnecessary and, in fact, can cause more harm than good; there are better ways to address the issue, in line with the facts.)

However, in another sense, the statement is correct, because the Christian vision is of a sinless destination for all who receive atonement. This contradicts many theodicies, of course, and is difficult (I would say impossible) in practice, and maybe even in principle.

Mon, 07 May 2012 13:01:33 UTC | #940293