Author Topic: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution  (Read 676 times)

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Offline Severian

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AFAIK, there have been no official/binding statements regarding evolution within our Church, but have there been any statements from OO Hierarchs or Clergymen which discuss evolution and its place in OOxy? Further, what do Clergymen at your own parishes believe regarding evolution? My own Priest has told me he does not believe evolution can be reconciled with Christianity, but I have spoken with other parishioners who do not think evolution and faith are irreconcilable.

God bless.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 03:41:40 AM by Severian »
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Offline truthseeker32

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 03:58:51 AM »
Also interested in the answers to this question.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2012, 06:19:53 AM »
My own spiritual father also believes evolution and Orthodoxy incompatible, and he also knows I disagree with him.  I've met other Coptic priests that agree with me.  There are two articles on coptichymns.net written by different Coptic servants, one disagreeing with evolution, one agreeing with evolution.  I have not met any Indian or Armenian clergy that disagrees with evolution.

In other words, there is no agreement among OOs on what to do with evolution.

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Offline Salpy

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2012, 01:03:05 PM »
This was discussed earlier here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23347.0.html

If people want to discuss it again, that's OK, as long as we stick to the question of what the OO Churches and clergy teach and have said about evolution.  I don't want a general discussion, much less an argument, about the merits of evolution.  As I explained at the top of the second page in the other thread, I'm not really very qualified to moderate such a discussion.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 03:02:47 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That is a ridiculously good question.  Even at my own parish, the results are mixed.  Some of the clergy, priests or deacons, agree with a Theistic examination of the theory of evolution, and others are adamantly opposed.  I think what it really comes down to is the individual priests own comprehension and understanding of the depths of the underlying science, just like theologians must have their theological vocabulary.  Those priests who are adept at science tend to agree with aspects of evolutionary theory which are not necessarily conflicting with the Bible (only a strictly backwards, fundamentalist approach to reading Genesis conflicts).

It would be nice for a dogmatic statement to be released, but as with many things Orthodox, I think many prefer this issue be doctrine instead, having a bit of freedom.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline Kerdy

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 03:40:34 PM »
My priest has told me they are not compatible and disagrees with the evolution hypothesis.  I agree with him, but he also stated the Church takes no official stand on the matter.  He explained the Church does this with many contemporary subjects mainly because in the big picture, it really doesn't change anything.  I also have come to this conclusion.  My priest is a sharp fellow.  A much deeper thinker than he let's on. 

Offline Severian

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 05:55:26 PM »
^My own Priest is a very intelligent and erudite individual, as well. He actually majored in the Sciences before he was ordained, which is why I was surprised to hear that he was so opposed to a theistic interpretation of evolution.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

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Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2012, 11:17:24 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

^My own Priest is a very intelligent and erudite individual, as well. He actually majored in the Sciences before he was ordained, which is why I was surprised to hear that he was so opposed to a theistic interpretation of evolution.

Well I think in regards specifically to scientifically fluent clergy, their rejection of evolution is smart, because in truth, the current theory is so absolutely flawed, full of holes, and in reality more part fantasy and wishful thinking than anything resembling the kind of science you find in say engineering or even astronomy.  I agree in Theistic evolution in premise, not necessarily according to the current theories of Evolution so much as that the observed realities and facts which suggest evolution could be the mechanism of God's creative powers.  The only way to reconcile the current theory of Evolution with Theism is essentially Thomas Jefferson's kind of Deism, the non-God God.

I agree then with these kinds of objections, but what I do tend to disagree with is fundamentalist or backwards interpretations of the Scriptures which do not follow the Tradition.  For example, the Orthodox Church rarely takes dates or statistics in the Bible seriously, most of the "days" or "years" or "numbers of armies" or "surveys" etc etc are really taken to be more allegorical representations of power, size, and force.  A thousand years then comes to symbolize something more like a long period of time less than an actual 1000 times 365.24.  After all, is God really limited by the solar calendar and the Earth's rotations?  The scale of the Universe (maybe even Multiverse, after all what else is heaven and hell in concept aside from multidimensions?) is obviously grander than our human perception of time can account for, even in His Omnipotent power, God can't create 14.1 BILLION light years of matter in 7,000 human years of time, it is physically impossible, and remember, God created these physical rules for a reason. That God is infinite itself obviously suggests that there is more than just the limited time-frame we read about in the Scriptures or experience as humans. Further,  God is beyond the rules, true, but not His Creation.  The Creation by definition is subject to the rules which God has imposed, including things like mass, distance, and variations in the conception of time.  

That being said, the current theory of Evolution is an absolute farce.  We shouldn't honestly be teaching it in schools so much as fact, because its blatantly inaccurate to the nature of science.  However, in premise, evolution is indeed a fact of reality.  We see it happening all the time, and we've seen evidence that it has happened before.  What there is not necessarily evidence of at this time, is the convenient theory, and we and priests should rightfully disagree with this.  Of course, that shouldn't also suddenly make us bedfellows with the Pat Roberston crowd either ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 11:17:39 PM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 01:45:15 AM »
^My own Priest is a very intelligent and erudite individual, as well. He actually majored in the Sciences before he was ordained, which is why I was surprised to hear that he was so opposed to a theistic interpretation of evolution.
I would love to have a discussion with your priest.  I would bet to say that this is an old generation of Egyptian priests who graduated from the sciences a while ago, in a country where both Muslims and Christians viewed evolution as necessarily atheistic anyway, and where the Bible/Koran is taken literally to an extent.  It sounds harsh, but it is something that I have seen repeatedly with some priests who do have a "scientific background" but have not been updated in that background.  A doctor in the 70s/80s is not the same as a doctor today.  Things change.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 01:46:50 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline Severian

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Re: OO Clergymen and Hierarchs Regarding the Theory of Evolution
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2012, 11:31:43 PM »
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"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.