Religious Views on Evolution

This is asked partly due to this thread.

I think the views of Christians are pretty clear about this, but what are the other religious views on the theory of evolution?

Buddhism is more of a way of living rather than a totally self-contained belief system, so there’s not much conflict there. What about others? Like Judism? ;j (I’m sorry, I just wanted an opportunity to use the Happy Orthodox Jewish Man smilely:p)
PS: This is asked in the GQ Thread, so resist the urge to debate viewpoints.

<sigh> judism = judaism

I only skimmed the first page of that thread, but I would caution you that the views of Christians on the topic of evolution are not monolithic, and the views set out in the first page are not representative of all Christians.

For example, this thread from last month discusses the views of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on evolutionary theory: Is the Catholic Church really okay with (macro)evolution?. If you take a look at it, you’ll find that those churches accept it as a scientific principle, provided it is not interpreted as excluding the role of God in creation. Other churches, such as the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, tend to take similar views.

(This issue has come up in other other threads, but I don’t want to burden the hamsters too much - it took 20 minutes just to dig up that one thread on the search function.)

The Orthodox Jews that I know have serious problems with evolution. I know one who is getting a PhD in neuroscience, and though we don’t bring up the topic anymore, last I heard he still had issues. When we debated, he would always go the Intelligent Design and Anthropic Principle route (the chances of us evolving are infintesimally small, we must have been built like this, we are irreducibly complex, etc. etc.) He reads, which seems to be a pretty good Orthodox Judaism reference. Here are there articles on evolution, which pretty much parrot the same old creationist stuff. The articles here seem to be in the old-earth creationist and intelligent design vein.

beliefs of different faith groups about evolution from

You can’t paint all Christians with the same brush. We’re a diverse group, with varying beliefs. Some Christians are creationists, but many (probably the majority IMHO) believe in what you might call “guided evolution.” Basically, it’s the belief that evolution is the tool that God uses to shape the development of life. I’m not sure what “macro-evolution” is, but it sounds like a similar concept.

“Macro-evolution” is the evolution from one species to another (or from a common ancestor to two distinct species), as opposed to “micro-evolution” which is evolution within a species. Only a real fool would try and argue against the existance of micro-evolution, but macro-evolution is a common target…


It’s important to clarify exactly what one means by “evolution”, since there are so many different aspects to it.

My ;j understanding is that the only problem Judaism has with evolution is whether it was random or not.

If someone woud interpret the words of Genesis as “God created this species from scratch”, that would not fit with evolution. But from everything I’ve learned from my ;j teachers - and this includes the links to Aish that edwino mentioned - one can just as easily interpret Genesis as saying “God created this species from one of the prior creations.” In other words, they did evolve from each other, but not randomly; God specifically caused each mutation.

Minor nitpick: Except for human evolution. While there are Orthodox Jews who will accept evolution (with the provision Keeve pointed out [not random]), I can’t think of any Orthodox Jew who would accept that human beings evolved from other organisms and were not created by God.

Zev Steinhardt

Another Christian chiming in here. But as a Catholic, I think I’m usually excluded from the typical “Christian” stereotype.

Many years ago, when I was in 8th grade in Catholic school, I asked my priest about evolution. His response was that as a Catholic, belief in evolution was ok as long as one believes that the creation and evolutionary process was set in motion is guided by the hand of God.

I believe in God and in evolution. Christianity and evolution are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Thanks for the heads-up on macro-evolution :slight_smile:

Great link amore ac studio. Thanks for that. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reminding me about the guided evolution stuffDiceman and Northern Piper. With all the extremist views in the spotlight, it’s easy to forget about the mainstream.

Anybody else from other religions willing to share?

Since this is now tending towards IMHO, I’ll move it for you.

General Questions Moderator