Response to an atheist’s letter, part two
Published 1:36 pm Saturday, June 11, 2022
By Fr. Jonathan Filkins
Charles, continuing on…
One of the many gifts is our intellect; such as it is. Each day, as we grow, there are revelations, or new awakenings of thought. Whether it be spiritual, physical, or natural, it is a capability given to us. Such is the Theory of Evolution. It is a complex thought, made my man, to explain our world (and, it must be pointed out, only our world.) Initially, the greatest (apparent) conflict is in the age of the world: Creationists about 6,000 years; Evolutionists billions of years (they are still working on the exact number.)
If God can create matter from nothing, then it is no great leap of logic to reason that He could adjust natural law at His pleasure; for He created it. Our great lack of faith, (if not a failing of our human intellect,) is the full understanding that through God all things are possible. It is quite possible then that God did create the world in six days and design and direct each of us in our world (“intelligent design” theory is repugnant and blatantly in error.) It is also possible the insights provided by the Theory of Evolution is merely an expanded awareness of the complexity of the world created for us, by God. In understanding evolution, we are more fully aware of His presence and His generosity.
A mentioned earlier, a typical stumbling block is the estimated age differences of the Earth. In that moment of Creation, believing it was 6,000 years ago, it is possible that all of the formed matter came together as we see it. Each molecule possessing traits as God had planned, including age and physical properties. It is when we hold nature above God that the Evolutionary theory waxes thin for it cannot disprove these possibilities.
So, we are on a bit different plane when it comes to these points of view. Being a critic of Scripture is an admirable vocation; done with the sight of an educated eye. You may ask what caused the changed view. As many have expanded both their informal and formal education, it becomes clearer that the more we know, the less we know. Perhaps it’s a bit of an age thing. In youth things are far clearer; life tends to confuse things a bit.
Being open and “up front” with those around you about sincerely held beliefs is commendable and your poise in the presentation exceeded your years. While Evolution, in almost any setting is controversial, your manner piqued interest and dialog, rather than confrontation. It belies your “nature” and that of attendees.
Your question about “churchgoing backward converts” is a bit confusing. If you mean churchgoers who ultimately reject God, it’s never happened in my experience. If there are those that have, then they have just stopped going to church. There are numerous examples of folks who stop maintaining their faith and have their doubts and return later; or charge off to another religion, or denomination.
Here in Picayune, we have many churches and “worship centers,” and many denominations. It seems as though there is a disagreement, often trifling, and the solution is the beginning of yet another Christian facility. It underscores our natures and propensity to be less than adherent to the values which Christ has taught. It is also one of the excuses for some to dismiss religion entirely and ignore it as irrelevant.
With the two-earner households, busy schedules and all of the demand of modern living, there seems to be little time left for God. He really does not ask for much. First, we are to keep Him in our hearts and follow His directions. Secondly, we are to treat others as we would treat ourselves.
All of this requires a bit of faith; something above the natural, to the supernatural. A gift which only comes from God.
May God grant you His abundant grace and Peace.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Jon Filkins +