A Baptist Preacher Praises Evolution

THIS one is a little off of our usual beat. It’s at the website of the Associated Baptist Press, which describes itself as: ” the first and only independent news service created by and for Baptists.” There we read Another Prostate Prayer — Recovery .

The author is Ed Sunday-Winters, described as: “senior pastor of Ball Camp Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.” Here’s some more information about him at his church’s website: Dr. Ed Sunday-Winters. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his article, with bold added by us. But first, note that the Associated Baptist Press has placed this disclaimer at the end of the article:

As part of our mission to provide credible and compelling information about matters of faith, Associated Baptist Press actively seeks a diversity of viewpoints in its columns, commentaries and other opinion-based content. Opinions expressed in these articles are not intended to represent ABP editorial policy and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABP’s staff, board of directors or supporters.

Okay, with that disclaimer in mind, here we go:

Six weeks ago, my urologist told me that I had prostate cancer. A week ago, I had surgery to remove my prostate. Today I am recovering from that surgery and marveling at the medical technology that has been brought to bear on my condition. I am cancer free. Who knew that they could do all of that?

We’re happy for him, but where is his article going? Let’s read on:

Reading the newspaper during one of those recovery days, I was reminded that I live in a county where the biology used in our county high schools is being protested by some well meaning servant of the Lord because it is too scientific and not respectful enough of religion. It is the latest manifestation of the seemingly ageless conflict between science and religion. Yet, this time it is different for me. This time I am keenly aware of the efficacy of a medical system that rests on the foundations of an evolutionary understanding of biology.

Aha! Reality has a funny way of making an impression. We continue:

The truth of the matter is that every advance in medicine in the last 50 years was made by someone who studied biology from a perspective that was not hostile to Darwinian influence. We live longer, fuller lives, because of their efforts and dedication. Some of the people who have made these advances are people of faith. They manage to do cutting-edge scientific research and believe in God. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. Believing in God and being a good scientist is a rich and meaningful way to live a life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to humanity.

It’s always good to see someone who can, however difficult it may be for him, accept the value of science. Here’s more:

For those who want to protest the teaching that goes on in our public schools with regard to science education, the more germane place to protest might be the local hospital. The hospitals, the doctor’s offices and the surgery centers are the places where all that science education ultimately gets put into practice. If those who cannot reconcile a religious understanding of God’s creative activity with Darwin’s theory of evolution wish to eliminate the latter’s influence on their lives, then they should demonstrate their resolve by refusing the care of those educated and trained in modern science.

If only all Sunday-Winters’ readers were so rational! We imagine they’re not, otherwise what’s the purpose for the publication’s eidtorial disclaimer? Moving along:

This mode of protest would be far better for the rest of us as it would not subject the science education of future doctors, scientists and researchers to the fundamentalist fears of overzealous religionists. Many churches have their own schools. Let them teach whatever they want to teach and call it science. However, do let good science be taught in our schools meant to serve the common good of us all.

Tell it, brother! One last excerpt:

… I am thankful for those who work, study, learn and develop new procedures, medicines and technologies that I will never know, but have touched my life nonetheless. I wish religious people would not demonize them so. They do much good.

We searched his church’s website, but we couldn’t find anything there about The Controversy between evolution and creationism. It’s possible that Sunday-Winters has always been of the opinion he expressed in this article. If so, good for him. If not, then we welcome him to reality. Better late than never.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “A Baptist Preacher Praises Evolution

  1. Amen!

  2. Here, here! It’s sad that creationists don’t just make it hard for scientists and educators, but they reflect badly on good people like the author. Not only do they demonize people like him for being “compromised,” but they make it hard to remember that lots of people with strong faith are not insane or the enemy.

  3. The article allows for comments at the website where it’s published. I just looked, and there aren’t any. It’ll be interesting to see what turns up. There may have been a few that were hateful, and that got moderated out of existence. We may never know.

  4. Three cheers for Winters.

  5. What James F said.

    Only longer and louder.

  6. retiredsciguy

    Let me add my voice in praise of Dr. Ed Sunday-Winters!

  7. That it’s from a Baptist Preacher makes it that much sweeter (AIUI, few religions are as anti-evolution as Baptist). But even if it were from a Catholic or atheist I like how it exposes one of the blatant double standards employed by all kinds of science-denier.

  8. Frank J wrote:

    (AIUI, few religions are as anti-evolution as Baptist)

    Actually, mainline Baptists have been very pro-evolution. It’s the evangelical Baptists (the Southern Baptist Convention being the largest of these groups, actually the largest Protestant denomination) that are, with a few exceptions, creationists. The SBC is responsible for Liberty University and Regent University. Ken Ham isn’t SBC as far as I know, but he’s in that second camp as well. If the SBC gave up on creationism, it would almost wither and die in the United States. I say “almost” because I’m sure the Assemblies of God and others would still keep the flame alive.

  9. James F says:

    It’s the evangelical Baptists (the Southern Baptist Convention being the largest of these groups, actually the largest Protestant denomination) that are, with a few exceptions, creationists.

    That is certainly true in Florida. See: Florida’s Axis of Creationism. Unfortunately, after I blogged that my best source of information in Florida suddenly clammed up.

  10. I scrolled down and scanned some of the other articles at the ABP site. The disclaimer follows all of them. What’s more, most are sensible and forward thinking. Check out the one on the Texas social studies curriculum.

  11. Dear Curmudgeon, et al.:

    I just wanted to take this opportunity both to thank you for linking to a piece carried on ABP and affirm that the editorial disclaimer in this article had nothing to do with the article’s content — it’s simply a disclaimer we run with all of our opinion pieces, as “teach” in the comment above notes. We simply like to distance ourselves from any opinion offered in the interest of maintaining our identity as one of the few truly independent religious news agencies in the world.

    And our readers — who range from very progressive Baptists (think Jimmy Carter) to very conservative Southern Baptists and even a handful to the SBC’s right — would be of multiple different opinions on the subjects of evolution’s veracity, its compatibility with Christian faith and how it should be handled in a public-school science curriculum.

    If there’s any generalization one can make about Baptists that’s unquestionable, it’s that Baptists are about as diverse as America as a whole — even though the loudest and most visible ones tend to be awfully conservative.

    Thanks — and I hope you keep reading ABP,

    Robert Marus
    ABP Managing Editor

  12. Rob Marus, thanks for dropping in. And thanks for publishing that excellent article. Keep up the good work!

  13. Rob Marus: “— even though the loudest and most visible ones tend to be awfully conservative.”

    Though probably very “liberal” in what they would allow taught in science class, and particularly demand at taxpayer expense.

  14. That column is based on a post on the pastor’s blog, which also has no comments. I find it very difficult to believe that no one has commented on the column or post in over a week. On the other hand, a scan of a few dozen of his other posts shows few comments, ranging from zero to half a dozen. Opinion columns in the press get a wider range of numbers of comments, from zero to as high as 71 on the Texas textbook war, which roused the David Barton pseudo-history supporters and reconstructionists.

  15. RBH says: “the pastor’s blog, which also has no comments.”

    That’s not surprising. It’s the Baptist Press website’s lack of comments that I thought was noteworthy.

  16. I agree that the Baptist Press’s lack of comments is noteworthy, but I’d expect that his own parishioners are reading his blog, and that they haven’t commented is interesting, too.

  17. I don’t find a lack of comments particularly meaningful. Low traffic, lack of interest, agreement? Who Knows?