William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Praying About Evolution

The comment was made:

"Anybody ever pray about the theory of evolution? I did, and I got spiritual confirmation that it's true."

To which I responded:

I am not in a position to deny the validity of your subjective experience. However, I can say that I strongly believe that, very often, equally sincere and well-meaning people get irreconcilably different answers in response to prayer. Therefore, I believe that prayer alone is not a reliable method of discovering the truth. But I do believe that prayer, when combined with study, logic, reason, and objective evidence, can provide us with a much stronger conviction/witness about something than we might have if we resorted to logic and reason alone. At least I have found that to be the case in my own life on multiple occasions.

I don't believe I've ever prayed about evolution, and I do not believe that a spiritual confirmation one way or the other would have any bearing on my behavior as a human being. I suppose that, underlying the issue of whether you have a spiritual witness concerning evolution is this: why does it matter? I think prayer's primary function is to enlighten the conscience to guide us in our sense of morality; once in a while it can tip us off for other purposes. For people who hang their faith in God on whether evolution is true, they may feel it is important to know whether evolution is true. But if you believe, as I do, that evolution is perfectly compatible with the concept of God, then it hardly seems to matter in a spiritual sense whether God created us with his bare hands or whether he used evolution as a tool to create us.

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