What do religion other than christianity believe on evolution? Do , say, muslims or buddists have an opinion?
Most Christians don’t have any issues with evolution, actually. Just a large, noisy subset of them.
Roman Catholicism, the largest single branch of Christianity, is OK with evolution. So are many Protestant grpups.
It’s not a question of religions but of fundamentalist beliefs that require a set date for creation. Those can be found in a number of religions, and may be the default belief of certain sects within the religions, but are probably not the majority in any.
Reform , Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism all endorse evolution, and that the creation story in Genesis is just a story. I don’t know about the Orthodox,m though; there’s so many different subsects.
Creationism and/or rejection of the modern scientific theory of evolution aren’t confined to American fundamentalist Protestants. Taner Edis, a Turkish-American professor of physics at Truman State University in Missouri has written a number of papers about Islamic creationism, especially in Turkey (scroll down past the physics stuff to “Critiques of Creationism”); and the Hare Krishnas, while believing in a form of evolution on theological grounds, explicitly reject Darwinism and modern biology.
OK, I know this is GQ, so I’m going to note that the RCC not only accepts Evolution as scientific fact, but actually support US legal decisions striking down attempts to teach the competing Intelligent Design theory in public schools. Non-evangelical protestant groups are also generqally accepting ofg the theory, e.g. the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury recently expressed his opposition to the teaching of biblical creationism in schools. Jewish denominations–as noted abouve by elmwood–have no problem with belief in evolution. There are even (if you believe Wikipedia) liberal Islamic sects that accept the theory.
I really don’t want this to veer into GD, but I have to say that the question really reveals how the embarassment of fundamentalism has so captured the public image of Christianity in the US. The links above to the RCC and Anglican church reaffirm positions that have been held by these Christian sects for at least the past 40 years, yet so few know this because of the screaming from (and the money spent by) the biblical literalists. I apologize for sounding so strident, and my anger is certainly not directed at the OP or anyone who has responded on this thread, but the hijacking of Christianity by these people has me really shaking my head…
There are two separate facets to this question (at least two). The first is the basic fact of evolution, which many non-fundamentalists accept. Much more basic is how variation arises. Most religious people, even those who accept the basic idea of evolution and deep time, still will not accept that variation is a random process. I believe the late pope did not and the I read a day or so ago that the current one is studying the question.
The point about random variation is fundamental to understanding evolution. If you accept quantum mechanics, everything in the universe is random at bottom. Which doesn’t mean there aren’t preferred directions. (Strictly speaking evolution requires only pseudo-random processes.)
I believe that there are religions that can accept that a god or gods started things off with a big bang and then withdrew, leaving the universe as we find it today. Since science offers no better explanation of the big bang, I could accept that too, although I am agnostic on that subject. Just for the record, I am not agnostic on the subject of whether god is directing every action I take.
A survey reported in New Scientist showed Turkey as being the only country in which evolution was less believed than in America.
Most religions have an account of the origin of the world that is not compatible with evolution. But they’re apples & oranges, really; one is a mythological explanation of the origin of everything, and one is a scientific explanation for the development of what we see around us. It is perfectly possible to believe both at the same time. One of the characteristics of myth is that it takes place in something other than the world-as-it-is-now, so the two types of thought usually exist in separate spheres.* For that reason, most religions don’t need a position on evolution, any more than they need a position on engineering or pole vaulting.
Example: You believe God created the world as in the Bible, literally, but then, while Adam and Eve were in Eden for millions of years, outside there were amoebas and dinosaurs and all sorts of evolution. By the time Homo Sapiens was in the Near East, Eve was having a very interesting conversation with a snake. No conflict with Bible; no rejection of science. A Fundamentalist says, “The earth is only 6000 years old!” and you reply, “Well, so said Bishop Usher, but that’s not in the Bible, is it? It never says how long they’re in Eden.” I am not claiming that anyone actually believes this.
There are groups who array their mythology against scientific data (fundamentalists), and there are groups who try to apply science to mythological data to give it a rational explanation or explain it away, but by and large science and religion can co-exist without really competing. Still, many people fail to see that science they are not in direct face-off, that they fulfill different functions, and try to make them fight each other.
*See the essays in Alan Dundes, Sacred Narrative
This is a misunderstanding of the various positions and comments made by the last two popes.
The position expressed by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict is that there is an inherent design from God in the universe. However, this is an attempt to understand “why” the universe is. There is nothing in either of their statements that translates to the “how” of the universe–which is the aspect addressed by science.
The recent claim that Pope Benedict was “studying” the question was a reference to a high level bull session that the pope has called with a bunch of his earlier students to talk over the language the church uses when discussing topics such as evolution. One newspaper (Britain’s The Guardian) ran out and got a quotation from one of the (relatively rare) Catholic Creationists who has claimed credit for having suggested that the church “discuss” the idea of evolution and creation and the paper then drew the inference that the pope might choose to retract over 90 years of Catholic pro-evolutionary statements. I really do not think that that is going to happen.
Is this why they call a pronouncement a Papal Bull?
It should be, but the bulla (Latin for bubble or swelling) was the wax seal that was used to close and authenticate the documents when they were sent out from Rome to the bishops.