In the Times of London this week, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, explores how Christianity is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution. The scientist’s 200th birthday is today.
“If we see the two [science and faith] as fundamentally opposed - science endangering and undermining faith, or faith obstructing knowledge - then distortions are produced on both sides.” The Cardinal notes that Catholicism does not treat the Genesis account of creation as scientific truth, like some Evangelicals do, and he goes on to argue that Darwin’s theory can be misused as well, leading to a survival-of-the-fittest mentality being applied to human beings. He concludes that, “Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. They are partners on the journey of a mystery that unfolds, a truth that is everywhere present in the very creativity and variety of life itself."
It is important for voices like Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s to be heard in the debate surrounding science and religion, if only to highlight that intelligent design and creationism are not the only Christian responses to evolution. The Cardinal’s assertion that faith and science can work together with intellectual rigor and mutual respect is refreshing.
For more on Christian views on evolution, see “Teaching Evolution” from the September 15 America.