When some perpetually angry types find out I am a Christian, they accuse me of being a flat-earther, an evolution-denier and a slave to an imaginary sky god.
This is atheist fundamentalist dogma. I don’t like dogmas, they are limiting and well… stupid. I deliberately run over dogmas with my karma. First: evolution.
I have never understood the accusation that the Catholic Church is anti-science, since I attended Catholic high school and was president of the science club. Our lab was better-equipped than many colleges I attended and they taught us the theory of evolution. The nun who taught Anatomy and Physiology had a PhD. I remember the illustration of Haekel’s embryos, supposedly showing that all species went through the stages of evolution as they developed. “Oh, cool,” I thought. As it turns out, this is baloney.
For a science project I modeled the stages of human evolution in clay. The nun kept the models on top of the cabinet in the science classroom. Evolution? Fine. Simultaneously, we believed that God was behind the whole process, as he was behind all processes of life. What about the story in Genesis? We also studied great literature and knew a metaphor when we saw one. Genesis is actually an incredibly compelling metaphor of the dawn of human consciousness-before that, we were as innocent as puppy dogs. When we KNOW good and evil then we can consciously choose evil and thus kill ourselves spiritually. And that God-made-man-of-the-dust-of-the-earth-thing? Well, what are we made of if not the material found on this planet?
I never understood the Catholic/anti-science accusation, but having delved into history, I understand the use of science against the Catholic church. The Catholic church was immensely powerful, riding on the coat tails and employing some of the methods of, that mafia with a big army known as the Roman Empire. The atrocities and massacres, exploitation and corruption are well-documented. This has everything to do with political power and nothing to do with Jesus. I call it poligeon (religion+politics) and it results in death on an industrial scale.
While all this was going on, many members of the church tried to reform it, new sects sprang up and tried to resist it and individual Christians kept busy actually doing good-feeding the hungry, healing the sick and teaching the ignorant. Only black and white thinkers with their own political agenda ignore the good that was done by individual Christians.
Really, the Catholic king-makers had to go. They did not go quietly. Poligeous groups never do, whether their religion is a name brand or an invented political ideology with spiritual overtones. Successful political movements always have spiritual overtones, even those that claim to be atheist. If they did not, no one would be inspired by them. They are going to make a New World, inhabited by a New Man in which truth and justice will prevail. Anyone opposing them is by definition, evil, and has to go.
The Enlightenment used science to fight the Catholic kingmakers. The theory of evolution seemed to strike at the foundation of Catholic dogma and so it was promoted by the anti-Catholic, anti-monarchy forces. Does this mean the theory of evolution is not true? No, it means science is influenced by politics. Duh. Is the theory of evolution true? What is it, anyway? People come from monkeys? Therefore mankind has no soul? And there is no God? That is the bizarre position of many shallow thinkers.
The theory of evolution states that species change over time, adapting to their environment. Seems kind of obvious. Even though the definition of “species” (like all definitions) is just a human invention. Species, I was taught in science class, cannot interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Yet barred owls and spotted owls are producing fertile “sparred owls.” Is this the end of the spotted owl as a species?
I say no, they are just adapting to their environment. Polar bears and grizzly bears are hooking up, too and producing pizzly bears, which are fertile. During the heyday of Darwinism, humans were supposedly different species. As it turns out almost all of us are mongrels and even tote about some DNA from Neanderthals. Are Neanderthals extinct or do they live on in the veins of some Europeans?
Suggestion: Let’s all admit we don’t know everything. Let’s open our minds just a crack and let some light in. We choose what we believe based on probabilities as we see them. They are probabilities (yes, science, too) and as the apostle Paul said, we see through a glass, darkly. Let’s respect each other’s right to do that.
Johnathan H. Adler, Failing to save the Spotted Owl, July 29, 2011
Sharon Guynup, Interbreeding Threatens Rare Species, Experts Say, National Geographic, December 26, 2002