UMC’s official position on evolution (and science in general)

October 12, 2010

The following excerpt comes from ¶ 160 § F of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, under Part IV, The Social Principles. (You can read the statement in its entirety here.)

We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what is scientific. We preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues and theology from making authoritative claims about scientific issues. We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.

These days, atheistic scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins are often “making authoritative claims about theological issues,” trading in their legitimate authority in one area to say something authoritative outside of their area of expertise. Of course, plenty of religious people make the same mistake. Either way, our Book of Discipline rightly calls foul.

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