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Posts tagged ‘faith’

Native American Code of Ethics – from the Hippie’s files

I don’t really have anything to say this morning,

At least not yet.

And tho it is unseasonably cold here, I find myself feeling grateful, and content.

I am sure as I listen to the news, something is going to push a button, and I might finf the need to “go off on a rant”.

For now tho, I am reaching back into my files, to share this with you:

A Native American Code of Ethics

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray and live that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth – whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them . Allow each person the right to personal _expression.

8. Never speak of others in a harming way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Negative thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not for us, it is a part of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self, all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

Unknown author

FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

===================


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“Illegible Records”

Nameless Heroes – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Nameless Heroes –

Acts 23: 12-17 (NIV)
The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty men were involved in this plot. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, ‘We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. . . .’ But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” So he took him to the commander.

Reflection by Kenneth L. Samuel

The Apostle Paul played a leading role in the spreading of the gospel and in the establishment of the first-century church. Indeed most of the narrative of the book of Acts is a vivid chronicle of the life, witness and ministry of Paul. But behind every major character, there is always a host of supporting characters.

These are the foot soldiers who work inconspicuously and almost invisibly in the background. They are seldom noted, easily overlooked and almost never remembered. Their names are often forgotten or never mentioned. They are like the nameless young man of Acts 23. Barely noticed. Quite indistinct. Practically obscure. Yet this non-distinct, nameless young man is the agent God used to intercept a plot to murder Paul and to stifle the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles.

To how many nameless heroes and heroines do we owe our success? How many forgotten souls have sacrificed and selflessly intervened on our behalf to save us from pending doom? How many times has God used minor characters to deliver major victories for us? We could so easily forget them and believe that we have made it by our own abilities. But the truth is that without their pivotal contributions, we would not be. A full appreciation of Paul’s life and ministry must also include an appreciation for the life and ministry of the nameless one.

Prayer
Dear Lord, for the countless, nameless persons whom you have used throughout my life to save my life, I give you thanks. Amen.

My YouTube Channel
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God is still speaking
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John Mark Ministries
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“Jesus and “the Christ” Are Not Exactly the Same – Fr Richard Rohr

Jesus and “the Christ”
Are Not Exactly the Same

Fr. Richard Rohr

Jesus is the microcosm; Christ is the macrocosm. There is a movement from Jesus to the Christ that you and I have to imitate and walk, as well. A lot of us have so fallen in love with the historical Jesus that we worship him as such and stop right there. We never really follow the same full journey that he made, which is the death and resurrection journey—Jesus died and Christ rose.

Unless we make the same movement that Jesus did—from his one single life to his risen and transformed state (John 12:24)—we probably don’t really understand, experientially, what we mean by the Christ—and how we are part of that deal! This is why he said, “Follow me.” The Jesus that you and I participate in and are graced by and redeemed by is the risen Jesus who has become the Christ (Acts 2:36), which is an inclusive statement about all of us and all of creation too. Stay with this startling truth in the days ahead, and it will rearrange your mind and heart, and change the way you read the entire New Testament. Paul understood this to an amazing degree, which is why he almost always talks about “Christ” and hardly ever directly quotes “Jesus.” It is rather shocking once you realize it.

Adapted from The Cosmic Christ (CD, MP3)


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The Ultimate Sob Story – a meditation

This is yet anther “thing” pulled from my files.I honestly don’t know where I got it from, but I must say this is a time that I need to hear this message. – Ninure da Hippie

The Ultimate Sob Story
Read: Job 42:1-6

My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. –Job 42:5

My boyfriend broke up with me. I hated my job. I wrecked my car–twice. But there’s good news too. My dog still loved me.

It may sound like a sad country tune, but it all came true for me one summer. I was anxious and depressed, and I felt as if everything I loved and wanted was abruptly taken away. I didn’t see much hope for me.

That is, until I reread the story of a guy who had it even worse. (Funny how that can make you feel better sometimes.) Here’s a guy who lost his whole family, except, of course, for his kind and sympathetic wife. She’s the one who recommended he “curse God and die.” Love you too, Dear.

Job also lost his wealth, property, and livestock. Not to mention the fact that he suddenly broke out in terrible boils. To which his friends replied that Job, a man of godly character, must be receiving punishment for his sins (true-blue buddies). And since it seemed that God wasn’t listening, Job was feeling more alone than ever.

Finally, God spoke. But He didn’t speak up with reasons for Job’s suffering. Instead, God’s voice split the air as He approached Job with questions of His own: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand” (Job 38:4). “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? (v.36). “Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?” (39:27).

Ouch! Job was suddenly silenced. God’s goodness and love and power couldn’t be questioned. In an instant, Job realized that God Himself was the answer to any question he might have.

This all brings me to a choice: In my times of greatest heartache and struggle, will I turn away from my Creator? Or will I remember Job 42:5 and look to see more clearly who He is and how He wants to use my broken heart?

As God increases my faith, I pray for 20/20 vision to see Him in the middle of my suffering. –SC

REFLECTION
* Have I ever felt abandoned by God? When?
* Is God in control of my life? (Job 42:2). How do I know?
* How can suffering help me to “see God”?

When blinded by sorrow, look to Jesus.

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

“God, I need a miracle.”

“God, I need a miracle.”

Have you ever prayed that prayer? Things were so bad that a miracle from God seemed to be the only possible solution. Maybe you got it; God heard your prayer of faith and answered in a powerful way. Maybe you didn’t; God’s answer was “No” or perhaps “I’m taking care of it another way this time.”

For years I believed that seeing something truly miraculous and amazing would surely make my faith so strong that I would never again struggle to follow God. Guess what: it doesn’t work that way.

In Exodus, God’s people marched out of Egypt after the longest series of miracles in the Bible. Trapped between the Egyptians and the sea they cried out to God and he delivered: the water piled up and they walked across on dry land while their pursuers drowned. An incredible faith-building experience, right?

Wrong. Just weeks later the Israelites were so afraid of starving that they longed for the “good old days” of slavery in Egypt when food was plentiful. The entire nation grumbled against Moses for freeing them.

Or consider Elijah the prophet, who challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a showdown. God rained down fire from heaven, proving His power, validating Elijah’s ministry, and motivating the Israelites to kill the prophets of Baal. An incredible faith-building experience, right?

Wrong. Just hours later, after standing his ground against 450 evil men, Elijah was threatened by a lone woman, Jezebel. Elijah was so frightened that he ran into the desert and kept running until he wound up 200 miles away. So much for great faith.

The link between witnessing miracles and developing a dynamic faith is tenuous at best, for one simple reason: faith is not about what you see with your eyes. Faith is about what you see with your heart. If my faith today is based on an amazing performance by God, where will I base it if God chooses not to perform tomorrow? Faith must exist in spite of God’s sometimes miraculous answers, not because of them.

If you are waiting for a miracle on which to build your faith, don’t bother. Real faith, by definition, must be based on what we cannot see. In fact, without faith already in place, you may miss the miracle altogether.

Faith may bring about miracles, but miracles rarely bring
about faith.

Carole

What makes us
special is….
the signature of God
on our lives

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Hippie Rant: Acceptance, Tolerance, Intolerance, and Bigotry

I wrote this for a Blog I used to have on MtSpace.

There were a number of comments I received to things I wrote in that Blog that indicated that some people may know HOW to read, they weren’t able o COMPREHEND WHAT THEY WHERE READING.

I seem to be seeing a lot more from people who seem to have the same problem with understanding that difference between freedom of religion and freedom FROM Christianity.

If ypu know any people like that, feel free to share this with them (just give me due credit). – Ninure da Hippie

Acceptance, Tolerance, Intolerance, and Bigotry

Acceptance: There are peas on my plate. Peas are not my first choice to eat when I am humgry, but I eat them.

Tolerance: There are peas on my plate. I don’t care for peas, I am not that hungry, so I leave them alone.

Intolerance: There are peas on my plate. I HATE peas. I hurl the plate on the floor and jump and down on the peas. I try to file criminal charges against the person who cooked the peas.

Bigotry: There are peas on my plate. Not only do I hate peas, I hate the people who cook them, who grow them, and anyone who likes them. I spend a great deal of my time trying to outlaw peas, and deprive anyone who grows or likes them of their human rights. I proclaim that anyone who has anything to do with peas hates God, abuses children, and is a terrorist.

Some Random (Hippie thots) – reposted from 2006

Just sharing some random thoughts....

If the teachings of the one called Jesus Christ were “common sense” there would be far more remarkable Christians in the world.

But in reality, there is much that us non-sense in His teachings..which means that a true follower must be, in the eyes of the world, a fool.

This may be one reason why when one sees certain preachers speaking on the issues of the day, one rarely hears them quoting Jesus.

Someone told me that there are some 2,000 passages in the Bible that “talk” about the poor and needy, and only six passages that could possibly be interpreted as dealing with homosexuality.

I haven’t figured out how to confirm that 2,000 figure, but a quick search of my New International Version found 177 containing withboth the words “poor and needy”.

Christians who remember their Lord was unjustly and cruelly given the death penalty have a hard time being enthusiastic about imposing the death penalty on others.
– Glen Stassen

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

God is still speaking
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Putting Feet to Prayer – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Putting Feet to Our Faith(s)

Romans 12:2

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what [God] wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (The Message)

Reflection by Vance Taylor

“Every Christian should carry a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.” This powerful call to prayerful action has been attributed to a wide array of political theologians and theological politicians, including Abraham Kuyper, Karl Barth, Billy Graham and Chuck Colson. Fact-checkers, not to worry, since what’s said is more important than who said it.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine not only to discuss religion and politics, but also to allow religion to inform politics, especially in those societies founded on separation of church and state. Modeling ourselves after Jesus Christ, we Christians are called to be the moral compass and corrective of our culture, speaking and acting prophetically, challenging conformity, spending more time and effort engaging, rather than embracing, many of the generally-accepted thoughts and practices of the day.

And I think our opening quotation has just as much relevancy if we replace “Christian” with “Jew” or “Muslim” or “person of faith,” and “Bible” with “Torah” or “Qur’an” or “sacred text.” People of faith, regardless of their particular practice, need to view the world through the lens of their religious beliefs. Then through our words, our deeds and our votes apply those beliefs to helping transform present reality into the Kingdom of Christ, or G_d, or Allah or other deity. We need to do so with great sensitivity, practicing mutual respect and understanding in the midst of pluralism, that we may all be one in our mission of local and global betterment. Focusing on our divinity will bring out the best in our humanity.

Prayer

O God of Many Names, may I actively seek your will for me and for all humanity. And in my transformation, guide me to help leave your world a little better than the way I found it. May it be so!
Vance Taylor

About the Author
Vance Taylor is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a commercial real estate agent. Born and raised in the UCC, he resides with his family in Madison, Connecticut

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“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9

My YouTube Channel
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God is still speaking
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John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Vote for My Jesus?

From 2006, another thot to ponder as “we” prepare to vote:

Thursday, November 02, 2006
Becky Garrison: Vote for My Jesus?

As we gear up for the upcoming presidential election battles, once again Sojourners reminded me that God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat. In lieu of the plethora of partisan propaganda I often receive from both the Religious Right and the progressive left, I welcome their biblically based voting guide that outlines the Christian principles on a range of social issues.

Even though I want to cast my vote for God’s Politics, I have to ask myself, could our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ever be considered a viable candidate for public office?

The answer is, alas, a resounding, “No.”

According to conventional political wisdom, casting a vote for Christ would be akin to going green in 2000. For starters, the Sermon on the Mount speech (see Matthew 5-7) would lose the Soccer Mom, the NASCAR dad, and whatever other idealized demographic pollsters have determined must be placated in order for a candidate to procure their political prize.

Then you have the touchy subject of Jesus’ entourage, a group consisting of tax collectors, fishermen, and a host of undesirables. (Can you just picture all the Christian conspiracy books blasting the behavior of Jesus’ cabinet, as well as his scandalous encounters with unsavory women?)

Let’s not forget Jesus’ temple-turning tirade. How can a political party sponsor a candidate who can’t even be trusted to go to a fundraising event and behave in front of those all-important special-interest groups who are needed to finance the cost of mounting a political campaign? Besides, Jesus doesn’t even own the right Armani suit and tie needed to gain entrance into all the right clubs.

While today’s politicos are obsessed with advancing their own agenda, as Brian McLaren notes in A Generous Orthodoxy, Jesus didn’t overturn the tables “so that all the wrongs could be excluded.” No. Jesus turned the tables and scattered the doves and coins so that the temple could once again become a house of prayer for all nations – an inclusive place that welcomes all into the transforming mystery of prayer and worship, not only the “already right” or the “rich in spirit.”

This idea may be seen as radical to those who feel that the kingdom of God should be open only to a privileged few. But this radical rule-breaker and love-maker broke down all race and class barriers, bringing together into one body of believers such diverse individuals as tax collectors, fishermen, and prostitutes. Throughout his ministry, Jesus ignored conventional wisdom by healing on the Sabbath, treating women as equals, and celebrating “the least of these.” By following this way of life, the risen Christ and his followers transformed the world.

The challenge I present for us as Christians is to do likewise.

FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

===================


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

Why Christians should celebrate Darwin

I beleive, affirm, an d avow that “ALL Truth is God’s Truth”

I think I was in fith grade – back in the Stone-Age – when I first heard any Christians having a probkem wuth the Theory of Evolution. I may have been a tiny bit brighter than my fellow students, but even I knew that was “kinda stupid”.

Even I knew that the Bible was about God “doing things”, and Science was about “explaining how things” happen. How could there be a contradiction between the Bible and Science?

It was like saying that an appke wasn’t food because it was mashed potatoes, to me.

This article confirms what the 10 year old me thought.

(BTW” Hippie needs to point out this is yet another “post” from my files, and was orginally seen on my old MySpace blog in 2009. I hope all he URLs in the article are still “live”.)

Why Christians should celebrate Darwin
By Denis Alexander
12 Feb 2009

One of the deep mysteries of the early 21st century is why one set of Christians go round churches trying to persuade another set of Christians to reject the theory of evolution. This is in a world of incalculable need, both material and spiritual. Trying to persuade Christians to disbelieve Darwinism soaks up huge resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

The mystery deepens when one remembers three important facts. The first is that scientific theories become established or fall by the wayside as a result of publishing evidence in peer-reviewed journals, not by popular vote. So if someone has a problem with a theory, there is only one way to critique it properly, and that is to take the hard road of becoming a research scientist, and then to publish ideas supported (or not) by data in good journals.

Far from being a ‘holy cow’, evolution is no less immune to counter-evidence than any other theory, and any scientist publishing hard data significantly undermining Darwinian evolution (rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian, human foot-prints besides dinosaur foot-prints, variation in genetic codes between species, that kind of thing) would be an instant celebrity.

The second fact which highlights the mystery of the anti-Darwinian crusade is that evolutionary theory has been hugely strengthened over the past decade by the advent of genomics: the sequencing of the DNA of hundreds of living organisms, including ourselves, revealing a mass of new data that can only be explained by an evolutionary history, and establishing beyond any reasonable doubt our own common inheritance with the apes.

In other words, Christian opposition to Darwinism has increased at precisely the time when Darwin’s theory is being most powerfully supported by new discoveries. The complete DNA sequence of the wonderful platypus, published in Nature on 8 May 2008, provides further stunning information about evolutionary history.

Of course biologists still argue about the mechanisms of speciation; whether natural selection is at the level of the gene, the genome, the organism, or even the group; and about the details of different evolutionary lineages.
It is good there is still so much to sort out; otherwise many would be out of a job. But biologists are in no doubt that the evolutionary account is broadly correct, and indeed the theory provides the framework within which all current biological research is carried out.

The third fact that deepens the mystery even further, is that this anti-Darwinian crusade is a very modern phenomenon. Mainstream denominations in the 19th century were rather quick to baptise evolution into the Christian doctrine of creation.

The historian James Moore writes that “with but few exceptions the leading Christian thinkers in Britain and America came to terms quite readily with Darwinism and evolution”, and the American historian George Marsden reports that “with the exception of Harvard’s Louis Agassiz, virtually every American Protestant zoologist and botanist accepted some form of evolution by the early 1870s.”

Ironically, among the writers of the Fundamentals, that mass-produced series of twelve booklets published in the period 1910–15 which later contributed to the emergence of the term ‘fundamentalism’, we find a number of evangelical writers firmly committed to Darwinism, such as Benjamin Warfield, who called himself a “Darwinian of the purest water”, James Orr and the geologist George Wright.

Creationism is largely a late 20th century phenomenon, at least in Europe. Groups did not go round churches trying to persuade Christians to disbelieve in evolution in the 1960s. Now that’s quite common. Something has changed.

So what is it that has changed? From a sociological perspective, the phenomenon looks less mysterious. There is a very familiar process in the history of science whereby interest groups move in to utilise the prestige of scientific theories in support of their particular ideology.

Unfortunately the end result is that in the public consciousness the actual meaning of the label given to the theory itself changes, and so ‘Theory X’ becomes socially transformed into ‘Theory Y’ with all kinds of philosophical barnacles attached to it.

Evolution has suffered particularly badly from this kind of process and has been used in support of virtually every kind of ‘ism’ imaginable, including socialism, capitalism, racism, eugenics, and atheism. As George Bernard Shaw once remarked, Darwin “had the luck to please everybody who had an axe to grind”.

Ideological transformations need various kinds of energy inputs to nurture and sustain them, and in this context Richard Dawkins et al have done a great job by seeking to invest evolution with a radical atheist agenda, thereby unwittingly supplying fuel for the creationist cause.

“Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin”, claims Dawkins, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”.

The philosopher Daniel Dennett proclaims that “Evolution is not a process that was designed to produce us”. In his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Dennett pictures evolution as a “universal acid” destroying in its path any basis for ultimate meaning and purpose in life.

No wonder creationists are so active. Who wants a universal acid flowing down their street and into the front door of their homes and churches?
The first and important response to all this is to knock the philosophical barnacles off the theory of evolution in order to allow it to do its important scientific task: to explain the origins of biological diversity on this planet.

Evolution as a biological theory has no ideological implications. It simply represents the inference to the best explanation to account for a huge mass of disparate data that spans a great array of different disciplines.

Scientific theories are like maps that join up many different types of data to render them coherent. Evolution provides a brilliant historical narrative to make sense of biological life on this planet in all its remarkable variety.

The other narrative, the Christian doctrine of creation, refers not mainly to the origins of things, but why they exist. The biblical claim is that there is only one great duality, that which exists between the Creator and everything else. God is transcendent, distinct from the created order, but at the same time also immanent in its every aspect. All things exist by the creative and sustaining power of the Word of God.

So all that scientists can describe is the out-working of God’s will, mediated through secondary causes, for there is nothing else to investigate. But the narrative that they provide is complementary to the creation narrative, which addresses a different set of questions: why has God brought all things into existence? Why are we here and what is our future?

Biologists who seek to invest evolution with an atheistic agenda have simply missed the point. It is not that evolution cannot be presented in a way that appears compatible with atheism. Of course it can. But equally you can baptise evolution into virtually any world-view you like and it will fit comfortably within most.

In other words, scientific data are simply unable to adjudicate between different metaphysical world-views, which have to be assessed on different grounds.

Asking a different kind of question is more useful: “Is evolution consistent with a particular world-view?” This is the type of question that scientists often ask in the discussion sections of their papers when assessing their data in relation to rival theories.

Christian thought does rather well in answering that kind of enquiry in the evolutionary context. If there is a God with intentions and purposes for creation, then we expect order, directionality and the emergence of personhood. This is precisely what evolution delivers. Taken overall it is far from being a chance process, with design space repeatedly filling up with organisms living within the constraints of particular ecological niches.

Very similar organs, structures and biochemical pathways evolved independently many times in the remarkable phenomenon known as convergence, because these are what you need to flourish in a given niche. On a planet of light and darkness you need eyes, so eyes are what you’ll get, and indeed compound and camera eyes have evolved independently more than twenty times.

The arrow of biological time also displays a marked increase in complexity over its 3.8 billion years, leading eventually to the recent (past 2 million years) remarkable explosion in brain size, and the emergence of humankind with the most complex known entity in the universe located between the ears, equipped to pray, worship and know God. Such a historical narrative seems quite consistent with the creation narrative that the biblical narrative provides.

Likewise creationists are wrong in thinking that if you accept evolution, then somehow basic Christian doctrines will be watered down or even jettisoned. That is not my experience, nor do I observe that happening in the lives of my many Christian colleagues who are evolutionary biologists.

But Christians do need to pay serious attention to the way that the scientific and theological accounts relate to each other: we cannot take the intellectually lazy route of keeping the narratives in watertight compartments.

I take the early chapters of Genesis to represent a profound theological essay, written using figurative language, that is foundational to our understanding of the rest of the Bible. It is not scientific literature.

Indeed it cannot be scientific literature because this only began to emerge as a more specialised form of language two thousand years later with the founding of the first scientific journals, and the further specialisation of this scientific genre of literature has been continuing ever since.

Understanding of our own evolutionary lineage has been steadily improving over the past 50 years, taking something of a leap forward with the completion of the Human Genome project in 2003.

Our genomes are littered with the fossil evidence of our evolutionary history, including thousands of pseudogenes, genes that are functional in other mammals, but switched off in humans because we don’t need them; retroviral insertions in which a virus has left its leaving card in a primate ancestor millions of years ago, a stretch of DNA faithfully replicated ever since; and transposons (‘jumping genes’) that act as similar signatures of our inheritance. We are all walking fossil museums; every cell of our body contains a little history book, written in the language of DNA.

As we engage with Darwin’s double anniversary in 2009 (birth: 1809; Origin of Species, 1859) my hope is that Christians will be celebrating Darwin enthusiastically, for he has provided us with a great theory that provides the framework for all contemporary biological and biomedical research.

All truth is God’s truth. But Christians have an extra reason to celebrate: creation theology (as distinct from creationism) places the evolutionary narrative within the larger scheme of God’s purposes. Thankfully there is more to life than biology.
——————-
© Denis Alexander is director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, where he is a Fellow. His latest book is Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? (Monarch, August 2008). Dr Alexander was previously Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge.

Faraday Institute website: http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/index.php

People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
    — Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist   (1908-1998)

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

‘God does not share his love between all of his creatures; He gives *all* of his love to *each* of His creatures!’ (Hugh of St. Victor).

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