When theoconservatism inevitably retreats in the face of evolving human thought and enduring human faith, the full implications of Darwin for Christianity will emerge. In my view, both will be strengthened. Christianity can and will survive by embracing the truths of science for what they are. Faith and Truth cannot definitionally compete. What we are going through is an evolutionary moment of theological transformation. As it happens, we see more dust than light. In the future, more light.
Sullivan is commenting on this post by Jim Manzi on The American Scene, in which Manzi criticizes a Jerry Coyne review of two books on science and religion in The New Republic. Most trenchantly, Manzi writes:
By about the year 400, Augustine described a view of Creation in which “seeds of potentiality” were established by God, which then unfolded through time in an incomprehensibly complicated set of processes. By the 13th century, Aquinas — working with the thought of Aristotle and Augustine — identified God with ultimate causes, while accepting naturalistic interpretations of secondary causes. Today, the formal position of the Catholic church, incorporating this long train of thought, is that there is no conflict between evolution through natural selection and Catholic theology. So, in this example, we’re describing an orientation supported by those esoteric theologians Augustine and Aquinas, and promulgated today by that so-liberal-he’s-practically-an-atheist Pope Benedict in that weirdo minority Roman Catholic sect. You know, “unrecognizable as religion to most Americans.”