International Observance: Mark Evolution Weekend

It’s the sixth annual Evolution Weekend for hundreds of congregations around the world today, as more and more people of faith are making a point of demonstrating that they see no need for a feud between science and religion.

We’ve got a terrific Science & Religion Resource:
For the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birthday in 2009, ReadTheSpirit began compiling this resource page about the issue that millions of Americans still regard as “Science vs. Religion.” Turns out, many religious leaders don’t think there needs to be such friction. Even Pope Benedict XVI talks about the truth of evolution.

Within that resource page you’ll find links to the official Evolution Sunday website and background on its forerunner, the Clergy Letter Project of 2004. Nearly 13,000 clergy have since signed on in support of evolution. In many places of worship, today’s event has become so popular that the evolution-themed and other science-related activities have spread far beyond the sermon.

Evolution Sunday—or Evolution Weekend, as it was renamed in 2008—is observed each year on the date(s) closest to the birthday anniversary of Charles Darwin, on Feb. 12. The first Evolution Sunday had less than 500 congregational participants, and by 2010, that number had increased to 850. (Read more in an article in Science and Relgion Today.) Numbers have dropped slightly for the 2011 Evolution Weekend, though, with only 642 places of worship signed on to mark the event.

Just what is it that makes Evolution Weekend so well received? Despite his own atheist beliefs, Clergy Letter Project founder Michael Zimmerman insists that the faithful don’t need to choose between science and religion. More than 100 sermons are available on the Clergy Letter Project site, and many include demonstrations of how science and religion go hand-in-hand. Even Pope Benedict XVI has been publicly voicing his support of evolution for years.

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