In the previous post (On a Beach Walk: No. 12), I presented a continuum. No matter the topic, a continuum tries to categorize in order to show relationships. Positions are difficult because overlap exists between adjacent groups and each group can be subdivided into more specific smaller groups.
The continuum below is an attempt to show relationship around the topic of science and theology regarding evolution. It’s not perfect, but it illustrates different positions people hold, so it also stimulates thinking and serves as a point of discussion.
Defining each group is another important aspect. Although each definition below is far from complete, they provide a sense for each group’s position. On the other hand, representing all positions would be difficult.
Strong atheist: Lack the belief in any god and are fervently against religion.
Passive atheist: Lack the belief in any god, but are less antagonistic to religion – possibly tolerant.
Agnostic: A broad group including (but not limited to)
- Those who don’t believe in any god because we cannot prove a deity’s existence or non-existence.
- Those who simply don’t know about any god or don’t care to know.
Spiritual naturalist: A broad group including (but not limited to) two broad groups: religious naturalists and humanists – neither believing in a god or gods.
- Religious naturalists see the meaning of life through the beauty and complexity of the natural world.
- Humanists embrace reason and logic in order to emphasize a moral and ethical code for doing good in human society.
Spiritual non-theist: Religions that are spiritual, but without believing in a god or gods; such as Buddhists, Hindus, and others
Deist: God who is not linked to any religion is the creator, but does not intervene and is not personal because God has left the world. There are different types of Deists.
Theistic evolutionist: God is the creator. Scripture and nature in a collective relationship. A range of theistic evolutionist exist.
Progressive Creationists: God is the creator and the earth is very old. Two groups include
- God created many species from which others evolved through mutation and selection
- Intelligent Design: God creatively intervenes over time when necessary.
Young-Earth creationist: God is the creator, Earth is young, and a literal Genesis in today’s language explains creation.