Introduction to Origins section (continued)
... Until the advent of Darwin's "Origin of the Species," which was the main impetus behind the rise of Evolutionary ideas to respectability, the "atheistic" rejection of the idea of God was confined to a relatively small number of intellectuals and "freethinkers."
But Darwin changed all that and his approach made the promotion of a godless philosophical view of the origin of mankind and the universe possible. The century and a half since then has borne witness to the deadly effects of evolutionary thinking, which is widely proclaimed as the only scientifically plausible explanation for life, despite the fact that there is no hard evidence to support the idea of one species evolving from another, to say nothing of the complete lack of any satisfactory evolutionary theory of the actual origin of life.
There is also the factor of the incredibly evil influence of evolutionary ideas, an influence which has caused untold suffering to millions, particularly through Communism and Nazism, both of which have based themselves on Evolution. The godless ideology which afflicts the modern world, with its promotion of all form of immorality and selfishness, is also a product of evolutionary thinking.
The real reason for the success of the theory of Evolution is that it seems to do away with the need for God and thus Christian morality. That is its most important characteristic as far as its most ardent supporters are concerned, and this opinion is maintained in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Thus belief in Evolution is just that, a belief, a faith in an unproven theory, one which is being increasingly assailed by true science.
The catastrophic decline in religious belief in recent years is a sign of the power of evolutionary propaganda and a graphic illustration of the hold it has over the modern mind.
Unfortunately, Christianity has not been immune to all this, and we have reached the situation where perhaps the majority of those who would describe themselves as Christians, including many Catholics, hold to some form of evolutionary theory.
However, some of the more evangelically minded Christians seem to have resisted the inroads of Evolution, and this is due to the tenacity with which they have held onto belief in the literal truth of Genesis. This belief seems to have been lost to a large extent within the Catholic Church in a practical sense.
But it is important to recognise that this does not mean that the Church has fallen into error on this important point.
As far as the teachings of the Magisterium are concerned, and the documents of Vatican II, the emphasis on the Bible as the inspired Word of God is still there. What has happened is that evolutionary ideas have undermined the general faith of the Church, and so this Biblical emphasis has been overshadowed.
We can trace back this process to the Reformation, when a certain suspicion of the Bible entered into Catholic circles because of the way men such as Luther and Calvin interpreted it. The cleavage between Catholics and Protestants developed into a huge chasm as the centuries passed and was still a major factor at the time of Darwin.
Christendom had become a house divided in which, broadly speaking, Catholics base their faith on the teaching of the Church rather than the Bible. From a Catholic perspective this was not a question of seeing "the Church" or "the Bible" as opposing authorities, but of regarding the twin principles of Scripture and Tradition as normative in the life of the Church.
But one result of this emphasis was that some Catholics were inclined to accept the idea of Evolution. Like the thin end of the proverbial wedge, this acceptance of the principle of Evolution has gradually entered into the practical life of the Church, and to speak frankly, "corrupted" it.
Again it should be emphasised that this does not mean that the official Magisterium of the Church has been corrupted, but that in a practical sense an evolutionary mentality has entered into the Church's attitude towards the world.
In recent years Biblically oriented Christians have developed a very powerful approach to the Scriptural account of the origin of mankind and the world, one which is being increasingly vindicated by genuine scientific discoveries, as opposed to unproven theories.
The ideas used on this section of the site have largely come from these "Creationist" writers, whose main virtue is a strong belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, a belief maintained in the face of all sorts of attacks and indeed outright ridicule.
Happily, Catholic writers such as Gerard Keane are now applying themselves to the questions of Origins, but it also the case that there have always been a significant minority of Catholics who have refused to accept Evolution.
However, the fact of belief in Evolution amongst a majority of at least western Catholics has to be accepted, and must lie in part with the cleavage which occurred at the Reformation. This division has allowed the terrible situation to arise in which, especially in recent years, the literal truth of the first chapters of Genesis has been disregarded by many in the Church.
Thus in a truly ecumenical spirit it seems good and proper to use ideas and material from Protestant writers on this site, although this does not imply an acceptance of Protestant theology. Rather it is an acknowledgement that, in a practical sense, this Biblical approach points us towards the truth. In many respects this a "denominationally neutral" issue, and so should be a sign of ecumenical hope for the future.
Ultimately, Catholics and Protestants should be working towards Christian unity, as this is the express wish of Christ. As the world becomes increasingly hostile to Christianity this unity will become an absolute necessity. In order to achieve this it will necessary for Catholics to accept the Bible in its entirety and reject Evolution as an untrue and indeed evil philosophy.
But for their part it will be necessary for Bible-believing Protestants to recognise the teaching authority of the Church and the position of the Pope. Only in this way will the rift in Christendom be healed and the Universal Church truly be able to change the world for the better. Both sides have much to gain, and only out-dated ideas to discard, in working towards a new understanding of what membership of the Church really means.
Theotokos Catholic Books - Creation/Evolution Section - www.theotokos.org.uk