A breath of fresh air:the Church of England is to officially apologise to Charles Darwinâ€”126 years following his deathâ€”for dismissing his theory of evolution.
This apology coincides with the release of a new CoE website promoting Darwin and his views, released this morning.
The trouble with homo sapiens is that we’re only human. People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and churches are no exception. When a big new idea emerges which changes the way people look at the world, it’s easy to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights. The church made that mistake with Galileo’s astronomy, and has since realised its error. Some church people did it again in the 1860s with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. So it is important to think again about Darwin’s impact on religious thinking, then and now â€“ and the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth in 1809 is a good time to do so.
[â€¦] the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science â€“ and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.