Thursday, February 09, 2006

Meeting short take #5: The Clergy Letter Project

Here's a good idea.

From all the controversy over the attempt by fundamentalists to block the teaching of evolution and get the teaching of intelligent design creationism in public school science classes, it's easy to forget that there are a lot of Christians out there, even very conservative ones, who rightly don't see a threat to their faith from the teaching of evolution. In the Clergy Letter Project, a group of pastors, spearheaded by Michael Zimmerman, are trying to rally the faithful in support of good science:
Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.
As of February 3, there were 10,252 signatures to the letter. And, on Darwin Day, they are proposing a discussion of the role of science and religion:
On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.
Here's hoping Zimmerman's project can make a difference. They have a long way to go, if this rant is any indication.

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