Religion and science have always been treading over each other. From Galileo to Darwin to Dawkins—the two have always been butting heads. Historically speaking, the devoutly religious struggle to accept newfound scientific facts that appear to be contrary to their beliefs. Four hundred years ago, one of the largest controversies was the Heliocentric universe. Now, some religions still struggle to accept the theory of evolution, despite its universal acceptance within the scientific community. To combat this misstep in knowledge, Michael Zimmerman founded the Clergy Letter Project, an organization that works directly with clergy to support the science of evolution.
The Clergy Letter Project was created to synchronize faith and science on the issue of evolution. Zimmerman states, in the background part of his website, that “numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.”
Most clergy participating in the Project recognize that religion and science teach two different types of truth: science teaches an observable truth that gives insight to the natural world around us, whereas religion, albeit debatably, teaches morality and existential truths. The American Christian Clergy letter states that the purpose of religious truth “is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.”
Catholic Church teaching accepts evolution and, in the past, has never formally been opposed to it—at least not on the Vatican level. Despite this, Catholic laypeople in the past have been divided on the subject. Even in Catholic school, I was taught evolution with a grain of salt by skeptical teachers. To me, however, that’s why the Clergy Letter Project is so important—it solidifies the symbiosis of evolution and religion as well as providing laity a more holistic understanding of religious leaders’ own beliefs.