Thursday, March 29, 2012

Evolution and Faith

I attended a great meeting tonight.  It was put on by the Institute of Religion (LDS church), and they invited two UVU professors to talk about science and faith, who happen to also be members of the Church.
Dr. Heaton and Dr. Ogden did a very nice job of explaining how they balance their religious faith and science.  Dr. Ogden introduced himself like this:
"I am a husband.  I am a father.  I am a brother, a son, a nephew.  I'm an Evolutionary Biologist.  And I'm a Mormon."  (Sounds like all those profiles on mormon.org.  I love it.)
He emphasized that he searches for truth everywhere, it doesn't matter the source.  He said that he can understand how some other faiths could have real problems with incorporating evolution into their belief systems.  But Mormons don't.  Our doctrine and official standing of the Church allow evolution and religion to coexist for us.  (See my previous posts on Evolution, including the cool Coexist sticker at the bottom featuring science and religion.)

"Yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith."
- Doctrine & Covenants 88:118

When I was searching for this Brigham Young quote, I ran across this article that deals with two Republican presidential nominees.  I do not wish to get into the realm of politics on this blog, but the writer makes correlations between the fact that the only 2 Republican presidential candidates who believe in evolution and climate change also happen to be the only 2 that are Mormons.  This is not a coincidence.  Here is the quote I was looking for:

“In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular… whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or as many millions of years.”
- Brigham Young, 2nd President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Our scriptures are full of references to learning and even science.
"The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth."
- Doctrine & Covenants 93:36

"Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain until the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
"Of things both in heaven [astronomy, meteorology] and in earth [geology], and under the earth [volcanism, oceanography]; things which have been [geology, paleontology], things which are [biology, geology, chemistry, okay, every aspect of science], things which must shortly come to pass;"
-Doctrine & Covenants 88:78-79, examples added

I love being a member of this Church, seriously.  I second what Dr. Ogden said about why he believes in it - he chooses to.  He's experienced too many things that are outside himself - outside his own molecules and matter, etc.  I feel exactly the same way.  Until you truly feel the Spirit, you won't know what the heck we're talking about.  It's a fully tangible, physical, real phenomenon that comes from God.  It's beautiful and awesome.

I too am a seeker of knowledge and truth - wherever it may be.  And I have a blast doing it. :)

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