Church of England Apologizes to Darwin

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Photo via stock.xchng

Photo via stock.xchng

Some say the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is making a monkey of himself with a half-baked apology to Charles Darwin for misunderstanding the author of “Origin of the Species” 126 years after his death.

Nevertheless, that’s just what the Church of England plans to do today – make an act of contrition to the godfather of evolution.

Officials of the church said senior bishops wanted to atone for the vilification heaped on Darwin by their predecessors.

The church is also eager to counter the view that its teaching is incompatible with science and distance itself from fundamentalist Christians, who believe in the biblical account of the creation.

“Charles Darwin, 200 years from your birth [in 1809], the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still,” says the statement. “But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests.

The statement is written by the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, the director of mission and public affairs of the Archbishops’ Council, headed by Williams.

“People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and churches are no exception,” it continues. “When a big new idea emerges that changes the way people look at the world, it’s easy to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights. The Church made that mistake with Galileo’s astronomy and has since realized its error. Some Church people did it again in the 1860s with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. So it is important to think again about Darwin’s impact on religious thinking, then and now.”

Before the statement was even officially released it was under attack.

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Former Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe, who left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic, told the Daily Mail: “It’s absolutely ludicrous. Why don’t we have the Italians apologising for Pontius Pilate? ‘We’ve already apologized for slavery and for the Crusades. When is it all going to stop? It’s insane and makes the Church of England look ridiculous.”

Andrew Darwin, a great-great grandson of the eminent scientist, said he was “bemused” by the apology, which seemed “pointless.”

“Why bother?” he said. “When an apology is made after 200 years, it’s not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organization making the apology feel better.”


Church of Scientology Sued for Organized Fraud

Photo via Webshots

Photo via Webshots

In a case that has taken 10 years to get to court, a French woman is suing the Church of Scientology in France and 7 of its leaders on claims that they drove her to financial ruin and illegally prescribed drugs.

According to the article, she “was psychologically pressured into paying thousands of pounds for lessons, books, drugs and a device called an ‘electrometre’ which the church says can measure a person’s mental state.”

If found guilty of the charges, the church’s main structure, the ASES-Celebrity Centre and bookstore will be shut down.

Dying Wife’s Screams May Have Been a “Paranormal” Manifestation

Photo by Andy Sotiriou/Getty Images

Photo by Andy Sotiriou/Getty Images

A Denver man named Dan Mason has claimed that his recently deceased wife, Nancy, screamed twice after she fell off a 10 foot cliff during a fishing trip. The problem with his explanation is that the autopsy revealed that his wife’s neck was broken and that she could not have screamed. Oops! In a phone interview with The Denver Post, Mason reasoned that the screams may have originated from a “paranormal” manifestation and has informed investigators about it. Mason’s claims of divine intervention have not deterred authorities from investigating his wife’s death as a homicide and they call the death “suspicious.” Weeks before her death, the wills for the couple were changed. Nancy’s will is highly suspect because her son’s name is misspelled.

According to Mason, his wife fell off the cliff and into a stream. He claims that he jumped into the water to save her, but an “angel” lifted him up and his friend, Efren Gallegos, was then able to lift both Mason and his wife out of the water. The local authorities have re-enacted Gallegos’ claims with dummies, and concluded that it was a “highly improbable physical feat.”

I don’t buy the angel explanation, and if you read the story in full via the link above, the relationship between Mason and Gallegos seems more than “friendly.”

Christian H.S. Applicants Can Be Denied Religious Course Credit by UC

U.S. District Judge James Otero has ruled that the UC has the right to deny course credit to Christian High School applicants who have taken courses using textbooks that declare that the Bible is the unerring word of God and reject the theory of evolution.

Essentially, the UC is not denying credit based on a religious perspective alone; they are denying it based on the textbooks used for a particular course. In the past, the UC has approved textbooks such as “Chemistry for Christian Schools” and “Biology: God’s Living Creation.” Currently, the UC rejects textbooks that do not include scientific theories and explanations.

The ruling was a response to a suit filed in 2005, and an appeal is already under way from an association that represents over 700 religious schools in California. This case is expected to be in the system for years to come.