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« on: June 15, 2012, 01:24:32 PM »

I really like my parish and the priest, but he's insistent that evolutionary theory is completely incompatible with Orthodoxy. I am capable of compromising on a lot of topics but I don't think I can simply toss all the empirical evidence and logical reasoning for evolution out the window and maintain intellectual honesty. I know that not all Orthodox are young earth creationists; even so, I'm concerned that this issue may become a significant stumbling block to my conversion, and would appreciate any insight or advice this forum has to offer.
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 01:29:05 PM »

Why does it matter that your Priest is wrong? Not just in his notion about the inconsistency of the theory with the faith but that he actually believes such nonsense to begin with.

He probably believes in other nonsense as well.

Unless he makes your reception into the Church contingent on confessing faith in "creationism", there is no problem.

If he does, then it is a matter to be taken up with the Bishop.
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 02:22:37 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I really like my parish and the priest, but he's insistent that evolutionary theory is completely incompatible with Orthodoxy. I am capable of compromising on a lot of topics but I don't think I can simply toss all the empirical evidence and logical reasoning for evolution out the window and maintain intellectual honesty. I know that not all Orthodox are young earth creationists; even so, I'm concerned that this issue may become a significant stumbling block to my conversion, and would appreciate any insight or advice this forum has to offer.

So just let it go.  We will not always see eye to eye with our priests.  Sometimes the error is our own, and sometimes it is with our priests.  Like all relationships, love and civility go a long way Smiley

Further, Orthodox is not based on the merits of our clergy, but of the Apostolic Church itself.  If you like the parish, stick around there, clergy are just people too, but the sanctified institution is made perfect.

I stay stick around your parish and let your Father believe what he teaches, and continue to believe what your heart reveals.   There is no dogma right now in the Church about these issues, they are to say the least, theologically debatable.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 03:56:09 PM »

Creation vs. evolution is not a matter of dogma in the Orthodox Church, and we are free to believe what we wish about the matter. It's unfortunate that you and your priest disagree, but I'm sure everyone disagrees with their priest on something (I know I do). He may believe as he wishes, and you as he. It shouldn't have any effect on your conversion, because it has no effect on the Faith once delivered to the saints.
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 04:10:28 PM »

Your Priest is correct though. Evolution is entirely incompatible with Orthodoxy because it is about competition and having an advantage over the other guy; like capitalism. If you accept evolution then you have to accept that God created the world with the intention for us all to be in a competition against each other for mates, and that some of us were born with advantages that will give us an edge and cause the other guys to die out, and that some of us are born with disadvantages that will cause us and our bloodline to die out. Death is the biggest enemy in Orthodoxy. Evolution is centered around death. If you accept evolution then you have to accept the heresy that God willingly created the universe with the intention of it having death. I've never been one to deny science, but in this case, I'm afraid that I have to. There is no way to reconcile evolution with Christianity and only the liberal theologians who really understand neither would attempt to.
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 04:22:28 PM »


If you accept Evolution as the source of humanity, than you discount the story of Adam and Eve....and yet, Christ is the New Adam.

Science doesn't know everything.

Certainly evolution exists in the sense that if you breed for certain features, they will become prevalent, etc.

Dinosaurs certainly existed, because we have their bones. 

However, cavemen were not necessarily our predecessors.  Why couldn't they just have been another species that died out over time?

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 04:25:49 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

Please go.
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 04:27:27 PM »

I really like my parish and the priest, but he's insistent that evolutionary theory is completely incompatible with Orthodoxy. I am capable of compromising on a lot of topics but I don't think I can simply toss all the empirical evidence and logical reasoning for evolution out the window and maintain intellectual honesty. I know that not all Orthodox are young earth creationists; even so, I'm concerned that this issue may become a significant stumbling block to my conversion, and would appreciate any insight or advice this forum has to offer.

Much of the empirical evidence and logical reasoning behind evolution is based on faith, it's just that instead of Gospels and Apostles they have scientists and studies. Still, no one has ever seen evolution happen beyond any doubt, they simply choose to overlook their own doubts.

I have never seen anyone rise from the dead, but I believe in the resurrection, I believe that Christ, the God-man died and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and shall return. I have evidence of this which science rejects or belittles.

Why can't everyone accept that there are mysteries in the universe we cannot know for certain? We have shadows and glimpses and have to make the best of them. No amount of scientific exploration is going to answer all questions because it is human effort--imperfect, misguided, incomplete. Just as well, though God has revealed what is necessary for salvation, He has not revealed everything because we are not capable of bearing it--first, we are sinners, second we are finite.

So, if someone's disbelief in evolution causes you to turn away from Orthodoxy, that is unfortunate, and your loss. Why would you trade God's gift for the product of human reasoning? One can say a lot of evolution. Is it truth? The Lord said He was the truth. Is it fact? Facts change and can be compared to colors--the folder isn't blue, it appears blue. I'm not philosophically gifted to go further, but hopefully you get the point.
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 04:39:58 PM »


If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 


That's not how evolution works...
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 04:50:16 PM »


If you accept Evolution as the source of humanity, than you discount the story of Adam and Eve....and yet, Christ is the New Adam.

Not necessarily.  If we posit that Adam and Eve were the firs

Science doesn't know everything.

Certainly evolution exists in the sense that if you breed for certain features, they will become prevalent, etc.

Dinosaurs certainly existed, because we have their bones.  

However, cavemen were not necessarily our predecessors.  Why couldn't they just have been another species that died out over time?
"Cavemen," by definition, were homo sapiens and/or homo neandertalensis.  The former are "us" and the latter certainly were another species that died out.
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If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world?  

As noted previously, this is not how Darwinian evolution works and I'm surprised an educated person such as yourself pulled this old canard out.  Also, Darwinian evolution does not say we evolved from apes and it never has.  Again, another surprising canard.

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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 04:54:13 PM »

I think we're getting to the heart of the problem: some people think it's not a problem to believe either way, and others are more dogmatic in their rejection of evolution. Having taken several courses in high school and college on evolution, I can see no potential conflict with Orthodoxy beyond interpretation of Genesis. In fact I can see the Fall of Man reflected in the evolutionary process (as well as his distinction from the animals).

My priest wants me to read Seraphim Rose's book on evolution, which I've agreed to do. But if it's what I think it is, I'm not so sure it will change my opinion.
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 05:35:36 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

That's like saying: "If America was once a British colony, why are there still British?"
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 05:45:18 PM »

I think we're getting to the heart of the problem: some people think it's not a problem to believe either way, and others are more dogmatic in their rejection of evolution. Having taken several courses in high school and college on evolution, I can see no potential conflict with Orthodoxy beyond interpretation of Genesis. In fact I can see the Fall of Man reflected in the evolutionary process (as well as his distinction from the animals).

My priest wants me to read Seraphim Rose's book on evolution, which I've agreed to do. But if it's what I think it is, I'm not so sure it will change my opinion.

It may help to study other scientific angles. Not all branches of science seem to agree.

However, Fr. Seraphim's book will at least provide something of the Orthodox worldview of how we have addressed the issue of creation, and the issues evolution presents.

Personally, I'm against mixing Orthodoxy and evolution. They are two very separate narratives with conflicting underpinnings. Orthodox starts with divine revelation. Science begins with observation of the natural world. According to Orthodoxy, however, this natural world has not been static since creation. Creation itself was a miraculous event, transcending natural laws. Also to be considered are the pre-fall and pre-flood worlds, which, Orthodoxy teaches, did not operate according to the natural laws of this world.

Also to be considered--you can observe a rock, and your observation tells you it is 4 billion years old. You can check to make sure that your instruments are correct. Peers review your work, so you say it is 4 billion years old. What you cannot do is go to the source, so to speak, and ask the rock or its creator how old it is. All you have is what you've observed. So, according to your observation, it is 4 billion years old. But Orthodox teaching goes beyond observation. To say it competes with science would be unfair both to Orthodoxy and to science. They are two different worlds, and Orthodoxy swallows science, commenting on things science absolutely cannot observe.

Evolution is not heresy, but it is not truly compatible with the Orthodox narrative of creation, anthropology, soteriology, and theology. It is important to learn and understand evolution. It has many applications besides communication. Evolution has in several ways led to various scientific advances of benefit to mankind. However, one must be judicious. Accepting either evolution or Orthodoxy without question and investigation can have bad results.
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 06:42:28 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

Please go.

Ok. I'm gone.
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2012, 07:03:14 PM »


If you accept Evolution as the source of humanity, than you discount the story of Adam and Eve....and yet, Christ is the New Adam.

Science doesn't know everything.

Certainly evolution exists in the sense that if you breed for certain features, they will become prevalent, etc.

Dinosaurs certainly existed, because we have their bones. 

However, cavemen were not necessarily our predecessors.  Why couldn't they just have been another species that died out over time?

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 



Well, zoos.
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2012, 07:47:43 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

That's like saying: "If America was once a British colony, why are there still British?"
Not really. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2012, 07:49:05 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

Please go.

Ok. I'm gone.
Liza, please don't take that statement to heart. We want you here.
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2012, 07:49:36 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

Please go.

Ok. I'm gone.

Remember, Liza, this is OUR forum.  You stay.  Smiley  Not all our guests offer boorish and rude behavior.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2012, 07:56:38 PM »

Like the ridiculous slavery thread, this thread has potential to blow up about evolution vs. whatever for pages and pages and pages.  I think a moderator should step in and direct the evolution arguers to one of the evolution threads.   

 Nightowl, unless your Priest is forcing everyone to accept his way without sincere and honest discourse, I think you should just overlook it.  Don't mean to sound abrasive.  There are things I don't agree with my Priest about but I still love the guy.
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 09:06:55 PM »

Like the ridiculous slavery thread, this thread has potential to blow up about evolution vs. whatever for pages and pages and pages.  I think a moderator should step in and direct the evolution arguers to one of the evolution threads.  

 Nightowl, unless your Priest is forcing everyone to accept his way without sincere and honest discourse, I think you should just overlook it.  Don't mean to sound abrasive.  There are things I don't agree with my Priest about but I still love the guy.

Okay. And what if he is or will?
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2012, 09:12:31 PM »

Like the ridiculous slavery thread, this thread has potential to blow up about evolution vs. whatever for pages and pages and pages.  I think a moderator should step in and direct the evolution arguers to one of the evolution threads.  

 Nightowl, unless your Priest is forcing everyone to accept his way without sincere and honest discourse, I think you should just overlook it.  Don't mean to sound abrasive.  There are things I don't agree with my Priest about but I still love the guy.

Okay. And what if he is or will?

As orthonorm said, then it may be time to contact the bishop.
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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2012, 12:19:29 AM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

For the same reason that you being born didn't make all of your cousins and siblings spontaneously combust and die.
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2012, 03:22:47 AM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

For the same reason that you being born didn't make all of your cousins and siblings spontaneously combust and die.
LOL Grin
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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2012, 04:01:27 AM »

Evolutionary theory is incompatible with Orthodoxy because it makes God the author of death. Your Priest is not teaching nonsense; he is faithfully teaching the truth that the wisdom of this world rejects. Feel free to believe in evolution if you want to, but don't leave your Church simply because your Priest differs with you on this matter. Regardless of the debate over this issue, one thing is indisputable: the theory of evolution is a theory, nothing more. To exalt a theory as empirical fact is ignorant at best and idolatrous at worst. Tread cautiously.



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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2012, 04:03:06 AM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

Please go.

Ok. I'm gone.

Remember, Liza, this is OUR forum.  You stay.  Smiley  Not all our guests offer boorish and rude behavior.  Smiley


Amen.



Selam
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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2012, 06:26:05 AM »

I hope this thread won't derail from the OP: question of converting despite disagreeing with the priest on science (one of my priests studied mechatronics so I don't have such a problem Tongue). Please, don't start another Evolution debate.
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2012, 07:02:49 AM »

I hope this thread won't derail from the OP: question of converting despite disagreeing with the priest on science (one of my priests studied mechatronics so I don't have such a problem Tongue). Please, don't start another Evolution debate.
I was about to contribute to the evolution discussion, so thank you for the reminder.

NightOwl, I hope you've noticed that we Orthodox have quite a variety of opinions about many matters. I think it's also safe to say that many of us have opinions that evolve  angel over time. Let's say that you and the priest do agree on an issue like evolution. You convert. Then you get a priest with whom you disagree. Then what?

Some important issues about the nature of humanity have been raised in this discussion. Focus on the truths and the Truth that unite us rather than the opinions that divide us.
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2012, 08:25:10 AM »

Modern science, even as it increases its power to manipulate external phenomena and effect changes in the physical world, is for that very reason getting farther away from being able to answer the profound questions of life.

I don't accept the standard anti-evolution arguments (they usually stem from basic misunderstandings of the theory), though I would generally agree that the theory, taken as a fundamental truth, militates against the Christian cosmology. Darwinian evolutionary theory is probably very consistent with the data gathered about the earth through empiricist methods, but that doesn't mean it is true. It's a question of whether we want to see creation as a window or as an opaque wall.

Regarding the dilemma, disagreeing with your priest about this is not a serious matter. If he does insist upon it as a condition of entry to the Church, I would agree with orthonorm that a call to the bishop is in order.
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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2012, 11:07:22 AM »

I have good reason to think the bishop is on the same page as the priest. So, assuming the worst, I guess my only options would be to leave that parish or conform?
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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2012, 11:21:42 AM »

Modern science, even as it increases its power to manipulate external phenomena and effect changes in the physical world, is for that very reason getting farther away from being able to answer the profound questions of life.

I don't accept the standard anti-evolution arguments (they usually stem from basic misunderstandings of the theory), though I would generally agree that the theory, taken as a fundamental truth, militates against the Christian cosmology. Darwinian evolutionary theory is probably very consistent with the data gathered about the earth through empiricist methods, but that doesn't mean it is true. It's a question of whether we want to see creation as a window or as an opaque wall.

Regarding the dilemma, disagreeing with your priest about this is not a serious matter. If he does insist upon it as a condition of entry to the Church, I would agree with orthonorm that a call to the bishop is in order.

Very well said. Iconodule, isn't it true that the more power we have on manipulating phenomena and our more reliance on technology puts us further away on caring about answering those "profound questions of life"? Just from reflecting upon the evolving culture in America, we want to remove suffering from our life and we hardly ponder about death. "As a species we all die" says the Darwinist, but then why bother to achieve anything society accepts as successful since it doesn't matter anyway?
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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2012, 11:22:01 AM »

I have good reason to think the bishop is on the same page as the priest. So, assuming the worst, I guess my only options would be to leave that parish or conform?

Is the priest making this belief a condition for reception into the Church or communion? If not, then just stay where you are.
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2012, 11:53:13 AM »

I have good reason to think the bishop is on the same page as the priest. So, assuming the worst, I guess my only options would be to leave that parish or conform?

Is the priest making this belief a condition for reception into the Church or communion? If not, then just stay where you are.

I don't know yet. That is why it's "assuming the worst". Smiley Though in our last discussion, I asked if one could believe in evolution and be fully Orthodox, and he answered in the negative.
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2012, 12:35:49 PM »

I'm not going to debate evolution, because as has been made plainly clear, I am not a scientist, and probably am not capable of understanding the deep nuances of the profound theory of evolution.

I do believe that God created us, as we are.  He created us in His image....not as an amoeba which sprouted fins, then legs, and eventually crawled out of the primordial bog.

But, that's just me....and my silly naivete.    


Your belief in some scientific mumbo-jumbo shouldn't keep you from Orthodoxy.  

After all, people once believed the vastly accepted and deep scientific theory that the earth was flat....and still they were Orthodox....as this science had no impact on their belief in the Lord or in their salvation.

If, however, your belief in evolution negates your belief in the teachings of the Church, then there is a problem.

If you find you cannot accept Orthodox dogma, because you need proof, or it stands against scientific empirical evidence....then you have a true dilemma.

Our Faith, and our faith, should not, and cannot be based on scientific findings or evidence.

The existence of God cannot be scientifically proven....and yet, we believe.

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« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2012, 12:41:58 PM »

I do believe that God created us, as we are.  He created us in His image....not as an amoeba which sprouted fins, then legs, and eventually crawled out of the primordial bog.

But, that's just me....and my silly naivete.    

If that is your silly naivete, let that be mine as well. The only thing of importance to me is we were created by God in His image. I don't care about the rest of the details on how that was fashioned.

I think there is a pretty vast difference between humans that are made in God's image and the thought that we are not.
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2012, 12:55:52 PM »

I'm not going to debate evolution, because as has been made plainly clear, I am not a scientist, and probably am not capable of understanding the deep nuances of the profound theory of evolution.

I do believe that God created us, as we are.  He created us in His image....not as an amoeba which sprouted fins, then legs, and eventually crawled out of the primordial bog.

But, that's just me....and my silly naivete.    


Your belief in some scientific mumbo-jumbo shouldn't keep you from Orthodoxy.  

After all, people once believed the vastly accepted and deep scientific theory that the earth was flat....and still they were Orthodox....as this science had no impact on their belief in the Lord or in their salvation.

If, however, your belief in evolution negates your belief in the teachings of the Church, then there is a problem.

If you find you cannot accept Orthodox dogma, because you need proof, or it stands against scientific empirical evidence....then you have a true dilemma.

Our Faith, and our faith, should not, and cannot be based on scientific findings or evidence.

The existence of God cannot be scientifically proven....and yet, we believe.



As mentioned, I can't see a major conflict between evolution and Orthodoxy, so that's a non-issue. The problem is not so much about me accepting Orthodox dogma as Orthodox dogma accepting me.
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2012, 12:57:39 PM »

I have good reason to think the bishop is on the same page as the priest. So, assuming the worst, I guess my only options would be to leave that parish or conform?

Is the priest making this belief a condition for reception into the Church or communion? If not, then just stay where you are.

I don't know yet. That is why it's "assuming the worst". Smiley Though in our last discussion, I asked if one could believe in evolution and be fully Orthodox, and he answered in the negative.

How much have you fleshed out what you both mean by "evolution"?  I wonder if there isn't assumptions on both sides about what the other means by the term.  When the subject came up with my priest all he said is that the process by which God created the world is unknowable.  He then pointed out that both evolutionary theory and the bible tell us that at some point the world was not and then it was and both tell us that we ultimately came from the ground.  Some people that believe in evolution don't believe in God.  Some people that believe in creation believe in gods and are not God.  As far as I am concerned, I don't particularly care one way or the other.  I think that the discovery of ancient species (if in fact there is adequate archeological record -- sometimes it seems a great stretch...) is certainly interesting, but the question of what it all means or where it all fits doesn't really engage me much.  Maybe it should.  I don't know.
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2012, 05:59:20 PM »

I'm not going to debate evolution, because as has been made plainly clear, I am not a scientist, and probably am not capable of understanding the deep nuances of the profound theory of evolution.

I do believe that God created us, as we are.  He created us in His image....not as an amoeba which sprouted fins, then legs, and eventually crawled out of the primordial bog.

But, that's just me....and my silly naivete.    


Your belief in some scientific mumbo-jumbo shouldn't keep you from Orthodoxy.  

After all, people once believed the vastly accepted and deep scientific theory that the earth was flat....and still they were Orthodox....as this science had no impact on their belief in the Lord or in their salvation.

If, however, your belief in evolution negates your belief in the teachings of the Church, then there is a problem.

If you find you cannot accept Orthodox dogma, because you need proof, or it stands against scientific empirical evidence....then you have a true dilemma.

Our Faith, and our faith, should not, and cannot be based on scientific findings or evidence.

The existence of God cannot be scientifically proven....and yet, we believe.




Well said Liza.



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« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2012, 11:52:07 PM »

Have you asked your priest to explain why he feels the way he does about this topic? I tend to like a "why" more than a "what".

As to the rest, I'll just say that I have very strong views on the matter which would almost surely offend one side or the other.
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2012, 05:59:15 PM »

Like the ridiculous slavery thread, this thread has potential to blow up about evolution vs. whatever for pages and pages and pages.  I think a moderator should step in and direct the evolution arguers to one of the evolution threads.  

 Nightowl, unless your Priest is forcing everyone to accept his way without sincere and honest discourse, I think you should just overlook it.  Don't mean to sound abrasive.  There are things I don't agree with my Priest about but I still love the guy.

Okay. And what if he is or will?

Maybe leave the what ifs for if they actually happen. Priests are not dictators. Be open and honest and talk with him about your issues. Understanding is a process.
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« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2012, 06:02:25 PM »

I have good reason to think the bishop is on the same page as the priest. So, assuming the worst, I guess my only options would be to leave that parish or conform?

No. Surely not. Just be honest about your opinions as the priest has about his. I can't imagine that evolution would be as big an issue as you appear to be presenting it. I could be wrong--there are psychotic people everywhere, but, really, to throw down the anathematatic candles over this issue is absurd.
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« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2012, 12:27:40 PM »

Try another parish?

Really, I do think that presenting creationism as a dogma misrepresents Orthodoxy. We only have dogmas that pertain to our salvation. So yes, we believe that God created us. But how that happened in detail historically is not an issue of faith.

Apart from that, I am convinced that the evidence for evolution is so strong that it must be taken seriously. If we want to deal theologically with that issue, the question can only be about interpretation, not denial, of that evidence.
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« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2012, 12:36:38 PM »

If we evolved from apes....tell me, why are there still apes in the world? 

That's like saying: "If America was once a British colony, why are there still British?"

I'm sorry but that response literally made me laugh outloud!
What?!
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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2012, 12:40:34 PM »

Creation vs. evolution is not a matter of dogma in the Orthodox Church, and we are free to believe what we wish about the matter. It's unfortunate that you and your priest disagree, but I'm sure everyone disagrees with their priest on something (I know I do). He may believe as he wishes, and you as he. It shouldn't have any effect on your conversion, because it has no effect on the Faith once delivered to the saints.

My understanding of how it all fits together is that Man was created (as Man, not as Ape) and genetically we evolve just as God created animals (like Apes) and plants, but animals and plants also evolve to adapt to their environments pver the millenia. I dunno, works for me. There's no clear link of man in evolution, they are still stumped by the "missing link" anyway.
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« Reply #43 on: June 21, 2012, 12:50:26 PM »

they are still stumped by the "missing link" anyway.


I ain't. I've met many of them.
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