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Evolution Sunday

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Evolution Sunday is a service conducted in a number of Christian churches to celebrate Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The Sunday chosen is the closest Sunday to Darwin's birthday, 12 February.[1]

There are 4 main goals to "Evolution Sunday", according to founder Michael Zimmerman:

To demonstrate that religion and modern science are compatible
To reach out to thousands of parishioners across the country
To elevate the national dialogue on the topic of religion and evolution
To increase the awareness of The Clergy Letter[2]

The celebration originated in America in 2006 with 467 congregations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia participating.[3] Organizers report that 618 congregations, from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and five different countries, including congregations in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Nigeria, celebrated Evolution Sunday in 2007.[4] In 2008, the event was renamed "Evolution Weekend" to include more faith traditions, and 814 congregations from the United States and 9 foreign countries participated.[5]

However, The New York Times noted that two of the churches in Chicago that were supposedly taking part in "Evolution Sunday" were not featuring sermons on evolution in their February 13, 2006 article on the Project.[6] There has been a growing amount of press coverage of this event.[7]

Supporters say the service stands up to creationism, which claims a literal interpretation of the Bible.[1] Organiser Michael Zimmerman dismissed creationist claims that Christians must choose between religion and science, and said “if you have enough faith, you don't need science to ratify God's existence”. The day grew out of the Clergy Letter Project, a project began in 2004, where more than 12,400 clergy have signed a pro-evolution letter, as of February 8, 2009, with over 11,800 from Christian clergy, almost 440 Rabbis, and almost 175 Unitarian Universalist clergy.[8]

There are more than 100 sermons available on the Clergy Letter Project/Evolution Sunday website.[9]


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Faith in the other good book, New Scientist, Volume 193, Issue 2590, 10 February 2007, Page 4 doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(07)60305-4
  2. Clergy Letter Project, Michael Zimmerman, powerpoint slides
  3. The Clergy Letter Project Presents Evolution Sunday 2006, Clergy Letter Project website, retrieved April 14, 2008.
  4. The Clergy Letter Project Presents Evolution Sunday 2007, Clergy Letter Project website, retrieved April 14, 2008.
  5. The Clergy Letter Project Presents Evolution Weekend 2008, Clergy Letter Project website, retrieved April 14, 2008.
  6. At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution, NEELA BANERJEE and ANNE BERRYMAN, The New York Times, February 13, 2006
  7. News Articles About Evolution Weekend, Clergy Letter Project website, retrieved April 14, 2008.
  8. The Clergy Letter Project Presents Evolution Sunday 2009, Clergy Letter Project website, retrieved February 8, 2009.
  9. The Clergy Letter Project Presents: Resources for Evolution Weekend, Clergy Letter Project website

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