Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Catholicism and Evolution - a resource for homeschoolers

This is a project my husband is working on. Please let us know what you think. He's hoping to publish it as a short e-book or as a print pamphlet. 

All material is (c) 2014 John Jimenez 


One of the great challenges for Catholic homeschooling families, and Catholic educators in general, is how to handle the topic of the Theory of Evolution.  There are plenty of secular approaches to the topic, but they usually accept the theory uncritically, and give it an atheistic slant.  This, of course, is not only bad theology and totally unacceptable to a Catholic, it is also bad science.
            Many Christian approaches to the Theory of Evolution set it up as diametrically opposed to God, and therefore, it and its adherents are anathema.  Or they ignore the issue altogether.  Both of these approaches are problematic as well.  The former is inconsistent with the Church’s approach, which allows great intellectual freedom on the issue (within certain guidelines given us by Revelation).  And the latter leaves children unprepared to defend their faith.  When they are confronted with the theory, they sometimes assume they were not taught it particularly because it is a threat to the Faith.
            Though there surely are good resources available, they are hard to find.  The purpose of this booklet is to provide Catholic parents a supplement to their regular science curriculum, for the purpose specifically of dealing with the Theory of Evolution.
            The first goal of this program is to break apart the false dichotomy of “evolution vs. God.”  There are certain dogmatic statements the Church has made regarding the origin of man, which God has revealed (and which, incidentally, science has confirmed).  These are to be adhered to.  However, because the Church acknowledges the validity of wide differences of opinion regarding evolutionary theory, this program does as well. 
            The truth is that evolutionary theory does not undermine a belief in God, the divinity of Christ, or the Catholic Church as His Body.  Students will be encouraged to recognize that, so they need not be afraid of it.  Evolution is fundamentally a question of science, not theology.
            As a question of science, evolution should not be accepted uncritically.  It is important to remember that the Church has made no dogmatic statement in favor of evolution.  To say that one’s opinion on this topic determines whether one is a “true Christian” or “orthodox Catholic” is simply false.  That is a foundational principle.
            The next goal of this program is to define the Theory of Evolution for students, which is not an easy task, as it takes many different forms and is constantly being revised.  They will learn the basic principles of the theory and the scientific history that has led to its development.
            They will even be taught some of the erroneous atheistic conclusions that many people come to, and why those conclusions are wrong and unsupported by science as well as divine Revelation.
            Students will also be presented with the many weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution.  Often students are taught to simply believe in evolution, while not learning about the many highly accomplished scientists who believe it is a fantasy.  In this program students will receive a clear understanding of the many problems with the theory.  They will be encouraged to explore evolutionary theory critically, and given the freedom to come to their own conclusions without fear that their Faith is at stake.
            These are the aims of this program.  Please supplement it with other materials that meet your family’s specific needs, and most importantly, with prayer.
(c) 2014 John Jimenez 

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