Why Not?

​          Recently in class, we spoke about religion and evolution. Philosophers before, during and after the 19th century are continually debating, internally and externally, about their religious beliefs and science, as if they did not go hand in hand. People were being persecuted left and right, wary that death was knocking on their door for their heretical ideas. The whole time I was wondering, why can’t people believe in religion and science? Why must one always be labeled an atheist for believing in evolution? Even Pope Francis stated, “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life, Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” I kept asking myself, why do we always label and confine everything God could have done. We cannot comprehend God’s power, nor can we confine him with humanistic restraints. Then why again, can’t science and religion coexist?
          For a class assignment, we were instructed to read
Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott. The entire book was filled with past philosophers, many of whom readers spend hours studying and debating about, who searched for answers about nature’s law and the earth. The one thing they feared was the Church and their administration, especially the inquisition. There was one person who stood out to me, one person who believed that God and science can and do co-exist, Robert Chambers. He believed that evolution was only possible because of God. As Stott states, “Most important of all, the author of Vestiges (a scientific article he published) helped his readers at every turn to reconcile these new ideas with their belief in a Christian God. Vestiges was not an atheist book. Rather, the narrator insisted that all this extraordinary change and transformation was God’s work. God had created nature to do his work for him, to work through the laws the he had made” (252). Chambers published his work anonymously in fear of retribution. However, even though he attempted to reconcile his ideas with God, his ideas did not pass well with the church. Many of them threated to squash him if he was ever revealed. I did not understand, here was an opportunity for the church to accept science and their believers, an opportunity to forgive and accept those long excommunicated by the church. The only answer I could devise for this dilemma was the administrations itself, the fear that they would lose power and the fortune that is granted with the position. Was the drive to stop science and therefore education an attempt for greedy clergyman to stay in power?
          Did they forever ruin the possibility of people working together? Even the clergy have made long strides in science for discovering new scientific facts, such as
Gregor Mendel. Many more exist and will continue to surface. For my conclusion, I leave you with a couple of question to ponder over. Can we bottle up God to a specific set of facts? For example, is the earth a couple thousand years old, what is a human day to God? If so, why? How can we begin to comprehend something we do not know about? Finally, can religion and evolution co-exist? Break free of the bonds that hold you and you will be… enlightened.  

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