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Christ's death, in Pelagius' view, served as something of a pardon for those who believed in him and were willing to turn their lives around. But for Pelagius, a Jew who faithfully followed the Mosaic Law, or even a pagan who lived a virtuous life were capable of being saved on their own merits. Augustine and his frequent theological partner, St.Let's take a trip back to the late 4th and early 5th Centuries A. The Christian Church is now the official religion of the Roman Empire, many of its early doctrinal struggles were settled at the Council of Nicea, and the Church itself had a mighty philosopher in the form of Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, who had successfully waged a theological battle against the Donatist heresy, among others.
But for Christianity, the root of why so many people have trouble with evolution goes back to some very basic aspects of theology.
Namely, the doctrines of Original Sin and Salvation.
Connor Wood has an interesting essay on his belief in why some religious people reject evolutionary theory.
It's an interesting take, and I think there's some truth to it.
Thus, in their minds, evolution is completely incompatible with Christian teachings. The Catholic Church accepts evolution and Original Sin by interpreting the Fall as described in Genesis as a figurative event.
Other denominations have worked evolution into their theologies in different ways, ranging from a basic acceptance of the Catholic view all the way to rejecting the doctrine of Original Sin completely.(The Eastern Orthodox Churches, however, never held to this formulation of Original Sin.) I'm compressing several books worth of theology into a few paragraphs, I know, but this summary should get to the heart of the problem.For some Christians, evolution would, if true, completely shatter the doctrine of Original Sin.This Original Sin means that everyone - not just Adam - is doomed to damnation.For Augustine and, for the most part, all of Western Christian orthodoxy, Jesus Christ's death was seen as a sacrifice that nullifed Original Sin.While I think that there might be some merit to this idea, I think one major fault of Wood's thesis is that he didn't bother to actually unpack and examine it.He himself admits that "[i]nstead of citing historical examples or quoting famous writers, I’ll use a personal story to show why." From there, he extrapolates the viewpoints of the religious from his own perspective in grappling with the implications of evolution.That's why this discussion can often become incredibly heated and emotional.I think it's important to understand this so that there can be a fruitful dialogue in this area of science and theology.Wood claims that religious people reject evolution because, basically, natural selection is viscerally unsettling.Once you start looking at evolutionary reasons for human behavior, you very quickly run aground on some very uncomfortable ideas.