Catholicism and Evolution
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06-12-2012, 05:03 PM
Catholicism and Evolution
I was discussing this at work with a coworker. He didn't know the Pope had publicly accepted evolution in the sense that it can coexist with creationism, but he agreed and said that it makes total sense that they could, and that god could have used evolution as his tool to create all life on earth instead of simply wishing it into existence.

So good so far.

Then we talked about how he always believed that Genesis was just a big bunch of parables, much like Jesus spoke in parables. This is when it got sticky, at least for me.

I asked how can we reconcile the need for salvation because of original sin, if we only accept the Fall and the story of Adam and Eve as merely parable? If no actual Adam and Eve, and if the forbidden fruit story is just a parable rather than a literal event, then where does Original Sin come from? And if no Original Sin, why do we need salvation through Jesus?

His answer was that it's OK to consider Genesis as parable and that there never was a literal Adam, Eve, Eden, or fruit. Mankind is flawed and prone to sin, and prone to use our highly evolved brain to rationalize our sin. Jesus came to save us from that, from our sinful nature, rather than from a literal bad-fruit incident.

But I had always thought that Original Sin was a central and necessary concept of Catholicism. Am I wrong in that understanding? Did I learn something today, specifically that Original Sin can be ignored by Catholics because they're being saved from a sinful nature instead? Or was my coworker taking a non-traditional view of his religion?

While I personally don't care much about this subject, other than for it's value as a debate point, I have often used the ludicrous Genesis story as proof against orthodox religions on the ground that without the forbidden fruit and the Fall, there is no need for Jesus, so we must accept Genesis or there is no reason to accept Jesus, and since Genesis is unacceptably ludicrous and Jesus is inextricably tied to that unacceptable ludicrousness, then that makes Jesus unacceptable too, or at the very least, unnecessary. I tend to score big points with that line of reasoning (I make it much more detailed in person) in debating the validity of the bible, but now maybe there is an argument, acceptable to Catholics at least, that invalidates Original Sin? That's gonna jack up my favorite debate tactic, unless my coworker is off in his own private little, unorthodox, undoctrinal, fantasy Catholicism?

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06-12-2012, 05:10 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
(06-12-2012 05:03 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  His answer was that it's OK to consider Genesis as parable and that there never was a literal Adam, Eve, Eden, or fruit. Mankind is flawed and prone to sin, and prone to use our highly evolved brain to rationalize our sin. Jesus came to save us from that, from our sinful nature, rather than from a literal bad-fruit incident.

Well that certainly worked out for them now didn't it. Humans are SO much better now that Jeebus fixed everything, aren't they. Weeping

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Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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06-12-2012, 05:14 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
Very good observation.

OS presents a huge problem to Arminian Evolutionary Creationists and Arminian Theistic Evolutionists.

OS is essential to Arminian beliefs because it says that humans chose sin; not God. This is why you'll find very few (1)true ECs and TEs that aren't Reformed.

I'm not entirely sure what the Catholic explanation for this is. I'm assuming that it's along the lines of Adam and Eve being allegorical and not literal - meaning, that there was a point in where God placed His image upon mankind or a race of men. In turn, they fell into sin and passed their sins on to their children. Something like that.

(1)I say true because most haven't studied the theology behind accepting evolution as fact (which means Genesis isn't literal) while dealing with Original Sin.

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06-12-2012, 05:22 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
KC, if I interpreted your response correctly, you're saying that Adam, Eve, and the fruit may be allegory but the concept is still that early man, way back, in the beginning, became sinful and passed on the sins of the father to later generations, such that everyone is still born sinful and in need of salvation? So it's not really just a matter of "we have a sinful nature" but "we were all born sinners because of our ancestors"?

I guess that still includes the concept of Original Sin but with Genesis being taken as a parable - the Original Sin "originates" not with some guy named Adam with poor decision making skills, but with all of our sinful ancestors committing sins and passing them down.

But that is not quite what my coworker was saying. He was essentially including the idea that Original Sin is also part of the parable and not to be taken as literal, that we're not born sinners, but rather, we're born with a sinful nature and a brain to rationalize sinful behavior as being OK, therefore we're all prone to sin and we all will sin because of this nature, thus we need a savior.

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06-12-2012, 05:34 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
(06-12-2012 05:22 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  KC, if I interpreted your response correctly, you're saying that Adam, Eve, and the fruit may be allegory but the concept is still that early man, way back, in the beginning, became sinful and passed on the sins of the father to later generations, such that everyone is still born sinful and in need of salvation? So it's not really just a matter of "we have a sinful nature" but "we were all born sinners because of our ancestors"?

I guess that still includes the concept of Original Sin but with Genesis being taken as a parable - the Original Sin "originates" not with some guy named Adam with poor decision making skills, but with all of our sinful ancestors committing sins and passing them down.

But that is not quite what my coworker was saying. He was essentially including the idea that Original Sin is also part of the parable and not to be taken as literal, that we're not born sinners, but rather, we're born with a sinful nature and a brain to rationalize sinful behavior as being OK, therefore we're all prone to sin and we all will sin because of this nature, thus we need a savior.
Yeah, that's a theological pickle.

Ask him this:

If we're not born sinners, then how can we choose sin? With a propensity to sin, that makes you a sinner.

A perfect being cannot choose to be imperfect. If so, then the being was never perfect to begin with.

Meaning: A person without sin cannot choose to do something they do not possess. If they have the potential to sin, then they possess sin.

Another example - Infinite cannot become finite. If so, then it was never infinite to begin with.

This is all the same case. Perfect cannot move into imperfect.

So, with this knowledge, he has a huge theological problem. His theological belief cannot coexist with his theology. He believes a person is born without sin but chooses to sin because they have the propensity. As shown above, this is impossible.

Now, he only has two options to choose from:

1) We are born sinners through Original Sin passed down from our ancestors.
2) We are born sinners because we were created to sin by God.

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06-12-2012, 05:38 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
(06-12-2012 05:34 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(06-12-2012 05:22 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  KC, if I interpreted your response correctly, you're saying that Adam, Eve, and the fruit may be allegory but the concept is still that early man, way back, in the beginning, became sinful and passed on the sins of the father to later generations, such that everyone is still born sinful and in need of salvation? So it's not really just a matter of "we have a sinful nature" but "we were all born sinners because of our ancestors"?

I guess that still includes the concept of Original Sin but with Genesis being taken as a parable - the Original Sin "originates" not with some guy named Adam with poor decision making skills, but with all of our sinful ancestors committing sins and passing them down.

But that is not quite what my coworker was saying. He was essentially including the idea that Original Sin is also part of the parable and not to be taken as literal, that we're not born sinners, but rather, we're born with a sinful nature and a brain to rationalize sinful behavior as being OK, therefore we're all prone to sin and we all will sin because of this nature, thus we need a savior.
Yeah, that's a theological pickle.

Ask him this:

If we're not born sinners, then how can we choose sin? With a propensity to sin, that makes you a sinner.

A perfect being cannot choose to be imperfect. If so, then the being was never perfect to begin with.

Meaning: A person without sin cannot choose to do something they do not possess. If they have the potential to sin, then they possess sin.

Another example - Infinite cannot become finite. If so, then it was never infinite to begin with.

This is all the same case. Perfect cannot move into imperfect.

So, with this knowledge, he has a huge theological problem. His theological belief cannot coexist with his theology. He believes a person is born without sin but chooses to sin because they have the propensity. As shown above, this is impossible.

Now, he only has two options to choose from:

1) We are born sinners through Original Sin passed down from our ancestors.
2) We are born sinners because we were created to sin by God.
3) We are born human, not sinners.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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06-12-2012, 10:30 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
(06-12-2012 05:34 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Yeah, that's a theological pickle.
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Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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07-12-2012, 07:43 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
(06-12-2012 05:34 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(06-12-2012 05:22 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  KC, if I interpreted your response correctly, you're saying that Adam, Eve, and the fruit may be allegory but the concept is still that early man, way back, in the beginning, became sinful and passed on the sins of the father to later generations, such that everyone is still born sinful and in need of salvation? So it's not really just a matter of "we have a sinful nature" but "we were all born sinners because of our ancestors"?

I guess that still includes the concept of Original Sin but with Genesis being taken as a parable - the Original Sin "originates" not with some guy named Adam with poor decision making skills, but with all of our sinful ancestors committing sins and passing them down.

But that is not quite what my coworker was saying. He was essentially including the idea that Original Sin is also part of the parable and not to be taken as literal, that we're not born sinners, but rather, we're born with a sinful nature and a brain to rationalize sinful behavior as being OK, therefore we're all prone to sin and we all will sin because of this nature, thus we need a savior.
Yeah, that's a theological pickle.

Ask him this:

If we're not born sinners, then how can we choose sin? With a propensity to sin, that makes you a sinner.

A perfect being cannot choose to be imperfect. If so, then the being was never perfect to begin with.

Meaning: A person without sin cannot choose to do something they do not possess. If they have the potential to sin, then they possess sin.

Another example - Infinite cannot become finite. If so, then it was never infinite to begin with.

This is all the same case. Perfect cannot move into imperfect.

So, with this knowledge, he has a huge theological problem. His theological belief cannot coexist with his theology. He believes a person is born without sin but chooses to sin because they have the propensity. As shown above, this is impossible.

Now, he only has two options to choose from:

1) We are born sinners through Original Sin passed down from our ancestors.
2) We are born sinners because we were created to sin by God.
I personally see the idea of "perfection" as a major problem. Perfect relevant to what?
If the inaugural God enjoyed perfection out of time & space why spend 14 Billion years
on his Adam/Darwin Pantomime?
It is indeed a mystery. Cool
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07-12-2012, 10:11 PM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
I attended Catholic school from 6th grade through high school graduation. While we had religion classes that were required and there were, of course, prayers and masses...also required...our science classes were science-based with no Biblical references that I can recall. The discrepancies were never explained which is another reason why I looked at the Bible stories as just that...stories. Science was fact.

And that was a long time ago. Perhaps my high school was more progressive than I gave it credit for.

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08-12-2012, 02:21 AM
RE: Catholicism and Evolution
Neat coincidence, I've just been arguing this on a Catholic forum.


Apparently the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church is this:

God created the universe
God designed the universe so that the earth could form
He then intervened and specially created the first cells
These cells proceeded to evolve into all life on earth;
Except that somehow evolutionary law was suspended to allow ONLY TWO humans to give rise to all other humans in existence
And those two humans were the first humans with souls, except that also all other humans were ensouled at the same time... I don't know.


Basically it's the Church playing Twister to try and make the bible fit what we know about science, when it just plain doesn't.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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