Compatibility of Major U.S. Christian Denominations with Evolution
- Joel W. Martin
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Public school teachers sometimes encounter the sentiment that the study and acceptance of evolutionary theory is contrary to the Christian faith. This perception can pose a significant barrier to the teaching of evolution and other sciences if students assume beforehand that the topic contradicts what they are supposed to believe from a religious standpoint. An informal survey of major Christian organizations and denominations in the United States, based mostly on publicly available statements, indicates that in fact most Christians, as represented by their governing bodies, view evolution as being compatible with their faith. Although on a worldwide basis this is largely a result of the high number (estimated at 1.2 billion) of adherents to Catholicism, even in the United States, where Protestants outnumber Catholics and where anti-evolution sentiment runs high, there is more acceptance than non-acceptance of evolution among Christians, based on statements from their organizing bodies or spokespersons. Protestant groups are divided on the issue, with more “mainstream” denominations (e.g., Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian) accepting evolutionary biology as being compatible with their faith, and more fundamentalist or Pentecostal groups denying compatibility or rejecting evolution. Relevant statements from denominations or organizations both pro and con are included.
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- Compatibility of Major U.S. Christian Denominations with Evolution
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Volume 3, Issue 3 , pp 420-431
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
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- U.S. denominations
- Joel W. Martin (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90007, USA