Date of Award
Evolution has always proved to be controversial to many people of faith, but it has been specifically problematic to many Christians including myself. This thesis explores the history and substance of the controversy between different expressions of Christianity and evolution by providing a relatable rendition of the theory of evolution. It breaks down the contributions of Charles Darwin and explains them in a manner than can be understood by a non-biologist. It also explores the stances of certain authors such as Richard Dawkins and Michael Ruse on the matter. This thesis is an independent study comprised of input from articles, journals, and books pertaining to the ongoing crisis. The research shows that the battle between Christianity and evolution dates further back than Charles Darwin. The controversy precedes his contributions dating back as far as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galilee Galileo. Although Darwin receives most credit for the ongoing debate, it did not originate with him. This thesis also discovers that not all Christian denominations responded the same. The Catholic response, primarily a responsibility of the Vatican, had one of the earliest responses and was relatively open to the theory of evolution. The Protestants, including Anglicans and Baptists, had more diverse responses resulting in some supporting evolution while others opposed. As far as Dawkins' and Ruse's opinions on the relationship with evolution and Christianity, both present arguments that are rather unique. Dawkins feels that the Christian belief in God is ludicrous. Ruse argues that the two are indeed quite compatible. Overall, this thesis supports that Christian faith and evolution can coexist, and the teachings of evolution can even strengthen one's faith. This project allowed for the establishment for an analogy between evolution and God's role within the process. If evolution is the vehicle that propels our planet forward, then God is the G.P.S. system within the car. Although this thesis supports the coexistence of evolution and Christian faith, it also encourages Christians to find peace with evolution and like the theory explains, continue to develop and evolve one's faith just like in our natural world.
Wilson, Logan, "Christian Faith and Evolution: One Person's Journey in Science and in Faith" (2016). Honors Theses. 591.