I know you expect this post to be about how the church is very much against the idea of evolution. But really it is going to be quite the opposite. Yes, many denominations within the church, like so many other areas of science, deny evolution of the species as originated by Darwin. The Scopes Monkey trial was evidence of that. William Jennings Bryan put up quite an argument about that and the church has for the most part has stiffly followed it up since then.
But, this post is actually about how the church has practiced evolution over its two millennia. That is, the church as evolved, some might say devolved, from its earliest followers strict attention to the teaching of Jesus until today where those very teaching for the most part take a back burner to what we are told we must believe. There were a couple of discrete step in the evolution but for the most part it has been gradually happening throughout its history.
Theology is defined as the Study of religion. From the first people to give us their opinions of what the church means to the present day theologians there have been a myriad of different views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Like every other realm theology is not all good or all bad. It is just man’s beliefs of the nature of God.
Here are some words about theology from some famous people in our history. I pasted these words here sometime ago and have to apologize that I lost the source.
Thomas Paine the American revolutionary, wrote in his two part work The Age of Reason, “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.
Walter Kaufmann the philosopher, in his essay “Against Theology”, sought to differentiate theology from religion in general. “Theology, of course, is not religion; and a great deal of religion is emphatically anti-theological… An attack on theology, therefore, should not be taken as necessarily involving an attack on religion. Religion can be, and often has been, untheological or even anti-theological.” However, Kaufmann found that “Christianity is inescapably a theological religion
Thomas Paine, who is the founder of much of what this country was founded on said some pretty cynical things about those who have opinions of what is religion. As he pointed out above we have very little scientific evidence of what we call Christianity. It seems to have been based on man’s opinions.
Walter Kaufmann had a different take on it. Theology is not religion and in fact much of it is very anti-theological. I will have to study this aspect of religion some more to intelligently speak of these matters….