Religion and Evolution (continued)

There were quite a lot of so-called “reconcilers” between religion and Darwinism in the 19th century. They used a range of arguments. Both Darwinism and liberal theology seemed (to some minds at least) to share a Victorian sense of “progress”, with natural laws and history propelling society forward towards certain goals (telos). Humans were at the apex of evolutionary change for many evolutionists, while some liberal theologians seemed to be moving towards a vague rational Christianity that eliminated the mysterious and emotional sides of religious belief (“Modernism” seemed a theological version of the Doctrine of Progress). The young Anglo-Catholic Aubrey Moore said: “Order, development, and law are the analogue of the Christian view of God”.
The great problem with all this was that “pure” Darwinian theory actually repudiated teleology (although Darwin himself flirted with it for some time). The unvarnished theory of natural selection pictured evolutionary change as random-based, violent and purposeless. God was regarded as either an unnecessary hypothesis or a remote first cause. This sense of clash intensified in the 20th century.

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