Skip to comments.The Church of England: On the Origin of Darwin
Posted on 09/15/2008 8:53:59 AM PDT by Matchett-PI
Produced by Mission and Public Affairs in association with the Communications Office
Statue outside Shrewsbury Library, formerly Shrewsbury School - © Shropshire County Council
As the world of science prepares to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the seminal 'On the Origin of Species', an opportunity arises to look back on the relationship between Darwin, his supporters and the Christian Church.
What is extraordinary is that Darwin was surrounded by the influence of the Church his entire life. Having attended one of the best Church of England boarding schools in the country in Shrewsbury, he trained to be a clergyman in Cambridge; was inspired to follow his calling into science by another clergyman who lived and breathed botany; and married into a staunch Anglican family (see the section Darwin and the Church).
Despite this exposure to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Darwin showed his human side by slowly losing his personal Christian faith, the erosion made complete by a need for evidence and no doubt the sad death of a beloved daughter (see Darwin and faith which collects Darwins thoughts on faith in his own words, initially penned for his family members, and reproduced with the kind permission of William H Darwin).
It is this need for humans to think, and love, that forms the centrepiece of a new retrospective by the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England, called 'Good Religion Needs Good Science'. After warning of the social misapplication of Darwins discoveries, where natural selection justifies racism and other forms of discrimination - perhaps predicted in the "misguided" over-reaction of the Church in the 1860s - Brown writes: Christians will want to stress, instead, the human capacity for love, for altruism, and for self-sacrifice. He separates the biological and emotional further by pointing out the naivety of assuming a wholesale evolution of the human race: Despite our vastly expanding technical knowledge, even a fairly cursory review of human history undermines any idea of constant moral progress.
To give this essay an accurate historical backdrop, our Brief History of Darwin compiles easy-to-digest bulletpoints, bringing to life Darwins rise to prominence and vast scientific advancements.
This is complemented by Further reading, which points to Darwins major written works; their location online; and a listing of how various bodies are celebrating Darwins bicentenary over the coming months in Events.
Through the absorption of this material comes the conclusion that a healthy balance between the mystery of faith and the wonders of scientific discovery is essential - as Revd Dr Malcolm Brown writes: There is no reason to doubt that Christ still draws people towards truth through the work of scientists as well as others, and many scientists are motivated in their work by a perception of the deep beauty of the created world.
“Darwin showed his human side by slowly losing his personal Christian faith, the erosion made complete by a need for evidence and no doubt the sad death of a beloved daughter”
The root cause of pelagianism, semi-pelagianism and liberalism in the church is the desire to rationalize God and scripture rather than accept the sovreignty of God. Thus, the slow death of the reformation began.
However, this is the polar opposite of the Church of England's pathetic groveling to the anti-Christian worldview of Charles Darwin. Given the CofE's total theological collapse and their tailspin in attendance, you'd think they'd eventually get a clue.