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The Evolution of Evolution

My family was convinced that talk of evolution was part of a larger conspiracy to remove God (and all those who loved God) from society...

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I was born into a small, country Bible church—a close-knit community held together by family ties, a sense of common decency, and a suspicion of most ideas that lay beyond our faith horizon. Our greatest sense of threat came from a strangely faraway and disembodied source—the theory of evolution.  As part of the American fundamentalist movement that gained definition in the early 20th century, my family was convinced with end-of-days fervor that talk of evolution was part of a larger conspiracy to remove God (and all those who loved God) from society. Biological evolution was presented to me as a categorical opposition to the idea of God and of any universal coherence. It was also a sheer impossibility to us—that accidental mutation in a directionless cosmos could create the intricate wonder we beheld around us each day.  I became a bit of a zealot in high school under the tutelage of a charismatic Sunday School teacher, and I remember proudly receiving an “A” from my atheist biology teacher for writing a persuasive paper on the topic of “scientific creationism.”  …

Fr. Daniel Simons is Director of Spiritual Formation at the Trinity Retreat Center in West Cornwall, Connecticut.


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