Catholic church, evolution, and lies
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09-03-2017, 11:28 AM
Catholic church, evolution, and lies
When I was still Catholic, I of course believed the Adam and Eve story. When I got to be a teenager, I wondered how evolution fit in. I found a pamplet that my father had on the subject and was pleased to find out that the Catholic church accepts evolution as true. The pamphlet explained that we can't take all details in the Bible literally and that the important thing is to know that god created us, not necessarily how he created us. There was no reason that he couldn't have created us via evolution.

Being the gullible believer that I was then, that was enough to satisfy me. And honestly, I haven't thought about it much since. I, of course, later became an atheist, dropped all my Catholic beliefs, and embraced evolution as having nothing to do with any god. However, I was out on a run recently and it finally hit me. It DOES matter how god created us according to Catholicism.

If we are to say that the Adam and Eve story shouldn't be taken literally, then the whole original sin concept vanishes. If there is no original sin, then there is no need for a savior and no excuse (albeit a pathetic one) for all the disease, suffering, natural disasters, etc. in the world. The Adam and Eve story is vital to Catholic doctrine.

So the last ditch argument might be that Adam and Eve were the first humans created through evolution. But, anyone that understands evolution knows that this is ridiculous. The whole idea of "the first two humans" is silly. Just before any humans, there would have been a stage that was something close, but not quite human. And there would have been many of those. By the time we fully evolved into humans, there would have been many of those too. Even if a single one technically got there before all others, that one would likely have mated and it would have been with a technically not-quite-human. Certainly not Adam and Eve.

So I don't see how evolution and the Adam and Eve story can possibly coexist.

So then, going one step further, there must have been a time when increasing knowledge and evidence for evolution caused much discomfort among the highest Catholic clergy. "How are we going to explain this to our parishioners?" So they came up with the above explanation. But these would have been the church's leading thinkers. They had to have been aware of the incompatibility, but probably figured it was good enough to pass the sniff test for most people who accept what the church teaches without a lot of thought. But how about in their own minds? It wouldn't have been good enough to satisfy themselves.

This is one example of why I believe the highest clergy in the church are probably atheists themselves. They must know of all the things the we discuss here. I don't know how anyone can take an honest look at the available knowledge (biblical, archeological, historical, scientific, etc.) and logical arguments and still believe there is any legitimacy to Christianity. And I don't see how they could properly lead the church without taking an honest look. So I believe they simply lie to their followers because they realize it would be useless to tell them the truth (the followers would probably conclude their telling the truth was the work of Satan anyway) and, besides, the power, money, and attention aren't too bad either.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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09-03-2017, 12:10 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
I've gone through a similar thought process and come to similar conclusions. I often wonder how many, not only of the church leaders, but the regular parish priests and the parishioners, really believe all of the standard Catholic dogma. How many of them are basically atheists, going through the motions for social reasons? Quite a few would be my guess.
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09-03-2017, 12:21 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
Yes, I agree. I think it probably even explains some of the sex abuse. I don't see how a person could believe that God is watching and then rape a child. But I also think some pedophiles become priests in the first place just to hide behind the title and have access to kids.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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09-03-2017, 12:52 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2017 01:09 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 11:28 AM)Impulse Wrote:  I don't know how anyone can take an honest look at the available knowledge (biblical, archeological, historical, scientific, etc.) and logical arguments and still believe there is any legitimacy to Christianity. And I don't see how they could properly lead the church without taking an honest look.

Never underestimate the human capacity for being intellectually lazy, rationalizing what we want to believe, compartmentalizing incompatible information, and lying to ourselves.

Angel
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09-03-2017, 01:37 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 11:28 AM)Impulse Wrote:  If we are to say that the Adam and Eve story shouldn't be taken literally, then the whole original sin concept vanishes. If there is no original sin, then there is no need for a savior and no excuse (albeit a pathetic one) for all the disease, suffering, natural disasters, etc. in the world. The Adam and Eve story is vital to Catholic doctrine...

So I don't see how evolution and the Adam and Eve story can possibly coexist.

The church in which I was heavily involved as part of the pastoral team (though not Catholic) had an entirely different take on the Adam and Eve myth.

Our pastor taught that the myth was entirely allegorical; there was no literal Adam, there was no literal Eve, there was no literal Garden of Eden or talking snake etc etc etc.

The metaphor was a bronze-age description of how humanity has two natures: one that's innocent and yearns for contact with the divine (the pre-apple Adam and Eve), and the one that's darker and more animalistic (the post-apple Adam and Eve).

The Garden was a state of being rather than a physical place.

The "fall" to "original sin" was simply a function of our humanity and our self-imposed separation from the divine. Jesus was needed as an intermediary to cleanse us of sin and make us worthy of contact with the divine, because our animal nature doesn't have the capacity to be free of sin.

Any discussion of evolution - which didn't really happen very often - revolved around the notion that evolution is an established scientific fact, not at all in conflict with the myths contained in the bible.

The pastor of my church, a decent, honourable and intelligent man, died shortly after I left the church so I never really got a chance to discuss the doctrine of original sin with him in more detail. Wish I had. He was a good man.
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09-03-2017, 01:47 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 12:52 PM)Jay Vogelsong Wrote:  Never underestimate the human capacity for being intellectually lazy, rationalizing what we want to believe, compartmentalizing incompatible information, and lying to ourselves.

Angel
Yes, I do understand that. Tongue But I find it difficult to believe that the highest officials in the church would be like that. They have to be prepared to field all criticisms, so they have to make the effort to be educated on what those criticisms are and what they are based upon. And they have to take an honest look if they are to have any chance of successfully defending against them. Otherwise, they'd just be defending against strawmen (which they do anyway sometimes, but I think they know also it and they do so because it's the best they have).

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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09-03-2017, 01:49 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 01:37 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  The church in which I was heavily involved as part of the pastoral team (though not Catholic) had an entirely different take on the Adam and Eve myth.

Our pastor taught that the myth was entirely allegorical; there was no literal Adam, there was no literal Eve, there was no literal Garden of Eden or talking snake etc etc etc.

The metaphor was a bronze-age description of how humanity has two natures: one that's innocent and yearns for contact with the divine (the pre-apple Adam and Eve), and the one that's darker and more animalistic (the post-apple Adam and Eve).

The Garden was a state of being rather than a physical place.

The "fall" to "original sin" was simply a function of our humanity and our self-imposed separation from the divine. Jesus was needed as an intermediary to cleanse us of sin and make us worthy of contact with the divine, because our animal nature doesn't have the capacity to be free of sin.

Any discussion of evolution - which didn't really happen very often - revolved around the notion that evolution is an established scientific fact, not at all in conflict with the myths contained in the bible.

The pastor of my church, a decent, honourable and intelligent man, died shortly after I left the church so I never really got a chance to discuss the doctrine of original sin with him in more detail. Wish I had. He was a good man.
That's an interesting variation and I think it at least works better than the Catholic doctrine. But I wonder on what basis they arrived at that variation.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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09-03-2017, 01:52 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 01:49 PM)Impulse Wrote:  That's an interesting variation and I think it at least works better than the Catholic doctrine. But I wonder on what basis they arrived at that variation.

I wish I knew. I had hoped to discuss it with the pastor but, sadly, he died very suddenly and prematurely (aneurysm, I think) before we got a chance to chat.
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09-03-2017, 01:54 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 01:37 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  
(09-03-2017 11:28 AM)Impulse Wrote:  If we are to say that the Adam and Eve story shouldn't be taken literally, then the whole original sin concept vanishes. If there is no original sin, then there is no need for a savior and no excuse (albeit a pathetic one) for all the disease, suffering, natural disasters, etc. in the world. The Adam and Eve story is vital to Catholic doctrine...

So I don't see how evolution and the Adam and Eve story can possibly coexist.

The church in which I was heavily involved as part of the pastoral team (though not Catholic) had an entirely different take on the Adam and Eve myth.

Our pastor taught that the myth was entirely allegorical; there was no literal Adam, there was no literal Eve, there was no literal Garden of Eden or talking snake etc etc etc.

The metaphor was a bronze-age description of how humanity has two natures: one that's innocent and yearns for contact with the divine (the pre-apple Adam and Eve), and the one that's darker and more animalistic (the post-apple Adam and Eve).

The Garden was a state of being rather than a physical place.

The "fall" to "original sin" was simply a function of our humanity and our self-imposed separation from the divine. Jesus was needed as an intermediary to cleanse us of sin and make us worthy of contact with the divine, because our animal nature doesn't have the capacity to be free of sin.

Any discussion of evolution - which didn't really happen very often - revolved around the notion that evolution is an established scientific fact, not at all in conflict with the myths contained in the bible.

The pastor of my church, a decent, honourable and intelligent man, died shortly after I left the church so I never really got a chance to discuss the doctrine of original sin with him in more detail. Wish I had. He was a good man.

If the story of Adam is a metaphor, then the story of Jesus is too. I don't think these two stories can be separated like that, but maybe that's good enough for most people. You just need a paper thin rationalization if you're not wanting to really know the truth.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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09-03-2017, 01:54 PM
RE: Catholic church, evolution, and lies
(09-03-2017 12:10 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I've gone through a similar thought process and come to similar conclusions. I often wonder how many, not only of the church leaders, but the regular parish priests and the parishioners, really believe all of the standard Catholic dogma. How many of them are basically atheists, going through the motions for social reasons? Quite a few would be my guess.

You know... I've often wondered that myself? How many that go through seminary "actually" truly believe what they are preaching and how many just treat it like a job. I would imagine the number (if they were ever released) would surprise us (or maybe not). Once you realize all the contradictions in whatever religion they subscribe too would make me think twice about standing in front of a group of people and just spout off lies because that is basically their job. Food for thought.

I get to decide what my life looks like, not the other way around.
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