If you believe in God, you do not need to worry about evolution. I've spent most of my life thinking about religion and science, so trust me. It's all good. Or, don't take my word for it. Here is Charles Darwin himself on evolution: "I see no good reason why the views given in this volume [Origin of Species] should shock the religious feelings of any one." In fact, here's my best advice to any religious person who worries about evolution: go read Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. You might be surprised. I read it. I loved it. As a religious person myself, it made a ton of sense to me, it gave me another way to think about God. Just please read it - or stop having an opinion about it.
I would like to stop here. It's really not worth the effort. The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that evolution by natural selection is true (they disagree on the details). Scientists are real people like you and me. There is no conspiracy here. Can we please just accept it, be humble, and move on? That should be enough. Why waste our breath.
Okay, fine. Let's play on.
I suppose it's a little more complicated than this. In all honesty science does make us change our religious beliefs sometimes. And that can be hard for some people. Smart theologians, like Augustine, were well aware of this. They said you should never read the Bible as a scientific text. That solves the problem before it starts. So if the Bible implies that the sun moves around the sun, then stop reading it as a book about astronomy; treat it as a metaphor (or myth, or just disregard it...they obviously didn't know that back then, c'mon give them a break!). With evolution this is no exception. If you believe that God created human beings in one instant - as if we just popped into existence like some ghost or something - if you believe that, then you probably have to reconsider. Human beings were created very slowly on this earth, over millions of years. We adapted, mutated, procreated, changed, and fit into our habitat the best we could. We all have common ancestors, we all share roots, we are all connected to animals, to life, to everything. That's how God chose to do it, and it's amazing if you think about it. Like the heliocentric theory, it's humbling.
Consider this: Evolution is a beautiful system that you could thank God for (I do)
We wouldn't be here if not for evolution! Evolution is a system whereby the species that are best fit for a particular environment survive. If you believe in God, then you believe that God "thought up" the system, engineered it, guided it, made its' laws. If you don't believe in God, then evolution stands on its own. No harm in that, right? But let's be clear: evolution allows species to adapt and thrive. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty smart to me, pretty wise from a survival standpoint. Let's just say that if it wasn't this way, if survival depended on blue eyes or short legs instead, the endangered species list would be much, much longer. We would't be around to enjoy our huge brains.
Evolution says we came from monkeys!
Well, apes actually. Chimps and Bonobos are our cousins. The point is that we all come from common ancestors, a tree of life with probably one trunk - which means we all probably came from a single-celled organism. God made us from dust, and to dust we go, right? I find it humbling that we came from animals. The moral message is clear: respect animals, respect life, respect the earth. Again, when moral principles are practically written into nature, as discovered by science, we should probably be thanking God.
But Richard Dawkins says...
Don't listen to him. He's dumb (as a philosopher, not as a scientist).
Doesn't evolution paint a bloody picture of nature?
Animals that are not fit to survive tend to die out, yes. And animals fight over resources. I suppose you could call that harsh. But how could it be any other way? The earth is finite, resources are finite. Luckily human beings have the ability to transcend this. "Blessed are the meek, the downtrodden," says Jesus. We don't need to kill our weak, or let them die. Because we have morality. However, we are not off the hook just yet. There is something to this. God is all powerful. Could He have made a better system? Perhaps. Something to think about at least.