Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday sermon (I) ...

... Hitchens’ Hubris. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is worth noting:
The main arguments that Hitchens offers against Christianity are that evolution explains the origin of life on earth, that portions of the Bible are not literally true, and that the four Gospels are not mathematical reproductions of each other. These arguments don’t get Hitchens where he wants to go. Many eminent Christians have seen no contradiction between evolution and their belief. John Paul II stated that evolution was “more than a hypothesis,” and Cardinal Newman wrote shortly after the publication of Darwin’s work that “Mr. Darwin’s theory need not be atheistical, be it true or not; it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of Divine Prescience and skill.” Newman also echoed the Thomistic belief that reason and revelation are complementary, not antagonistic, in words all Christians should take to heart: “if anything seems to be proved by astronomer or geologist, or chronologist, or antiquarian, or ethnologist, in contradiction to the dogmas of faith, that point will eventually turn out, first, not to be proved, or secondly, not contradictory, or thirdly, not contradictory to any thing really revealed, but to something which has been confused with revelation.”

And long before Newman or John Paul, such important figures as St. Augustine and St. Jerome looked to the Old Testament not primarily for historical or scientific knowledge, but to see how it pointed the way to Christ. Indeed, Augustine speculated that different species of animals were not the result of separate miraculous acts of creation, as a literal reading of Genesis would suggest, but the result of a process in which the conditions for life created by God gradually became operative.

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