Commentary 30 (to R11 to McCarthy)
by Philip Benjamin
8 May 2008, posted 17 May 2008
 Your note ‘evolution at play’ is a stimulating essay about the relation between religion and evolution. I am sure that one can arrive at various schemes of the type which you present, and that a conflict is not necessary, despite Dawkins & al. The problems arise mainly from dogmatic fixations, and from misinterpretations like Dawkins’ insistence that the existence of God is a question to be answered by mind-exclusive objective natural science.
 Dogmas are important for church leaders. Consider for instance the recent visit of the Pope to the United States, where he was shown shaking hands with Jewish and Moslem clergy. This is indeed an important development for humanity – provided such approaches can go further than shaking hands. On all sides they will need to overcome enormous dogmatic and political-organizational obstacles. (The Vatican has in principle accepted the validity of biological evolution, in contrast to some of the fundamentalist protestant sects.)
This is an attempt to present the Biblical distinction between differences: Religion & Regeneration, Dogma & Doctrine, Right & Authority.
Philosophy, for that matter Theology also, is the art of making distinctions between differences. Dogma is not the same as Doctrine. Religion is not the same as Gospel. Right is not the same as Authority. The distinctions are not subtle. They are as clear as broad day light.
A religious body constituted legally for any physical or metaphysical purposes has every right to come up with their dogmas. That does not necessarily give them the authority to decree doctrine. The 16th-17th century Roman Church (RC) was only upholding the then prevalent and universally accepted geocentric SCIENTIFIC theory of Ptolemey. They did not want to repeat that mistake by refusing Darwinism which if the definition of 'theory' is strictly applied is only a philosophic speculation or at best a hypothesis. Just because a religious body puts its imprimatur on it, does not make it a theory. It is their dogma that somewhere along the progression of evolution something they call 'soul' or 'spirit' was planted into an anthropic form by the Creator of evolutionary schemes. It is their RIGHT to do so, not an AUTHORITY from the Creator whom they acknowledge. That is indeed a Biblical right for all mankind, to freely believe whatever they want to, but not Biblical Authority.
What is doctrine ? Doctrine in the Bible is that of the Creator whom the RC acknowledges. It is always mentioned only in the singular, except twice, both contrasting with the plural 'doctrines of men' (Mathew 15:9, Mark 7:7). Doctrines of men, doctrines of demons are always in the plural. The Doctrine is always a Person. This Person is referred to as a Lamb ordained 'before' the foundation of the world and SLAIN 'from' the foundation of the world.
In the Bible, Religion belongs to the category of doctrines (plural) of men or demons. Religion is a search by the human mind for the 'lost' transcendent or metaphysical. The Gospel is the reverse of that. It is the search for the lost mankind by the Transcendent. It is humans rejecting the Creator and the Creator searching for them. That is not a subtle distinction. It is substantial.
Death is universal and inevitable. The best of the best, the worst of the worst, even innocent babies within and without the wombs die. The Biblical position is that The Death Code is encoded into the genome of mankind and all sentience in their domain as a Judgment of Capital Punishment by the Creator Judge, for primal rebellion. This Judgment can be lifted only by the Creator Himself. He lifted it by taking that judgment upon Himself. As far as I know, only the Bible presents this -Death of the Creator- as a Way of Life. The Old Testament (Testament implies the death of the Testator to be an effective will) presents this as a Credit Card. The New Testament presents this as a Debit Card. In either case, the Card covers all debts owed. Both Testaments declare every other Card is a counterfeit.
In any rational civilized society, tolerance and respect for different positions are expected norms and usually maintained. By what mastery of Constructivism or any other ism can these positions be reconciled, synchretized or eclecticized ? Each position must be ‘equally’ legal in any civilized society, unless criminality is involved. That does not necessarily mean equalization or parity. They are not equal in essence.
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