I lay awake one night thinking and trying to come to terms my new worries about this interfaith marriage. I knew I married a Roman Catholic and I’m a Protestant, I knew that we’re going to have disagreements about the Sabbath, food and some beliefs and practices that stem out from our different religious backgrounds which would directly affect our daily life-style. But it didn’t sink in to me fully, not until lately, that our differences in belief start with one of the basic fundamental beliefs of Christianity, the Great Design.
I believe that God is the Creator of all things and that He did His creative activity in seven days.
God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.) ~ Based from the fundamental beliefs of Seventh Day Adventist.
But my husband, while he believes in God, does not believe that He created all things in seven days. Instead, he’s convinced that the alternative theory presented by scientists that humans and apes share the same ancestry, the Evolution theory, is the truth.
Attending Sunday church services in his original country, he learned as a young boy about the seven days creation of God. That was before his family moved to Germany. Growing up in a public school in Germany, he was taught and he embraced the Darwinism.
I made friends with other German people in the past and I’m aware that they too believe in evolution. Therefore I’ve concluded that my husband’s leap from creationism into evolutionism must have been influenced by the environment and the education that he had. Added to these factors must be his passion towards history and science.
I did a little research about why Germany, being at large a Roman Catholic dominated country, has most of its people embracing and living with the apes theory. Fast backward to Hitler’s time, the Nazis were firm believers in science. “They adopted Darwinism and turned it into a social program. Because Darwinism was considered science, they felt justified as they killed millions of “inferior” people. They were simply making room for an evolutionary superior race, and they felt they were doing the entire world a favor by doing so. Germans were taught Darwinism in schools nationwide, and not only did they embrace it, they lived it.” (By magnoliazz)
This information made me realize why Darwinism is widely popular among the Germans. However, digging deep into the Catholic’s stance towards evolution theory, I found out that when science came up to question the Book of Genesis, the church wasn’t quite ready to answer it because the interpretation of the Book was earlier taken for granted.
The Vatican initially had no clear position towards the Darwinism. There were hostile statements released by the local clergy against the theory which were understood as agreed by the Vatican because of its silence.
Our first parents were formed immediately by God. Therefore we declare that the opinion of those who do not fear to assert that this human being, man as regards his body, emerged finally from the spontaneous continuous change of imperfect nature to the more perfect, is clearly opposed to Sacred Scripture and to the Faith.” This statement appeared in 1860 from a council of the German bishops.
It’s interesting to note that there were earlier confusions within the church as to whether or not the Darwinism is entirely false or instead an evidence of God’s power and complexity. But fast forward 1997, the Roman Catholic’s stance towards the evolution was made clear:
159. Faith and science: “…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (Vatican II GS 36:1) 283. The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers…. 284. The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin….
I’m now enlightened as to why Catholics would believe in evolution. My husband validates his belief by pointing out those priests and some religious leaders who believed in Darwinism. While this news brought shock to me at first, a little research helped to make me understand why.
The question of how will I and my husband teach our soon to be children about the origin of humans haunts me. I, obviously, would buy Bible story books and teach them about how God made the heaven and the earth and all the beautiful things in seven days. And then when they’re with their dad, they’ll be told about how humans evolved from other species.
Catholic schools and other secular schools nowadays teach evolution as part of the science curriculum. However, I have an impression that this theory is even given much emphasis and inculcated more into the mind of the youngs in the public schools in Germany.
I somewhat consider the idea of home schooling for my kids, however, the ‘Schulpflicht’, the laws that require school attendance of every child, will make this impossible. These laws are identical to the laws that Hitler’s government passed, criminalizing parents who keep their children home for school.
Juergen and Rosemarie Dudeck of Archfeld Germany were sentenced 90 days in jail and were fined 120euros for homeschooling their children because of their religious convictions. They felt that sending their kids to government schools imposes religious hazards to them and saw homeschooling as an alternative. However, since it’s illegal to home school kids in Germany, the parents are left with the threat of losing custody of their children and further prosecution if they continue to home school them. The family is now seeking political asylum in the US.
I admire the Dudeck couple for their convictions and for the fact that they’re united in their fight for religious and educational freedom. The best thing about a same-faith marriage is even if you’ve got to fight the world because of what you believe in, you aren’t fighting alone. You’ve got your family with you.
But then the challenges of an interfaith marriage were known even before the wedding. However, I do think that couples who are in loved tend to underestimate the weight of those challenges. No one really gets to fathom the depth of the tug-of-war unless the interfaith couple is right there, dealing with it.
My husband assures me that we’ll find a way to work it out once the kids arrive. But really, it’s just like a living bomb that you know is going to explode but you have no idea when and how. Only prayer can armor us.
If you believe in the Great Design and your spouse believes in Evolution, how would you agree in teaching the children about the origin of humans?
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