The Two Levels of Theological Understanding

It’s funny, really.

Most major religions have accepted evolution. The last two Vatican Popes have stated support for the evolutionary observation (it’s not just a theory). Yet about half of American Christians believe evolution isn’t the best explanation of human life on earth, and only 58% of catholics support the idea of evolution.

Where does the disconnect come from?

Plainly this is largely because pastors & priests mostly neglect to inform their flock that, despite a religion originally based on Jewish mythology, the creation story just doesn’t hold up. I would argue — influenced, no doubt, by the excellent book The God Virus — that these pastors intuitively realize that without the Garden of Eden, there’s no “original sin” to be erased by “the blood of Jesus,” thus nullifying tho whole religion. This is just common sense. And part of the application of memetic theory to religion implies that church leaders are not going to do anything that risks losing followers.

Now I know, and you know, that Catholicism has an official response to that problem in the form of sophisticated, convoluted theological arguments.

These arguments are wholly unconvincing to me, and, I have to imagine, quite a lot of laypeople and casual churchgoers. Or any convincing element is mostly an “argument from authority” sort of deal.

This is what I’m driving at with tho two levels of theological understanding: There’s the “professional” level which accepts, to some degree, modern scientific understanding and works around it with complicated theological contortions, and there’s the everyday understanding of God creating a world, Man immediately screwing it up, and then Jesus saving us from “our” mistakes.

And the result is a flock that isn’t on the same page as its shepherds.

I don’t really have a point here — just thinking out loud. See also: Being Catholic, Believing Whatever and “Free Will” Can’t Solve Theodicy.

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