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I normally avoid topics that are heavy with controversy here at the Jungle Gym.  It’s not because I have a problem with debate or disagreement, it is only that I believe the few people who read this blog with any regularity generally do not come here for intense political debate.  That being said, I am going to address a bit of an issue today, so if the idea of political wrangling turns you off, please, come back tomorrow for an all-new edition of the MovieDruid!

On my way home a few nights ago, I was listening to a local talk radio show and one of the callers got my hackles up.  The topic he was discussing was an old one: Creationism vs. Evolution.  However, they don’t call it Creationism anymore.  In an effort to be more palatable to some they have taken to calling it Intelligent Design.  And, quite frankly, I am sick of the whole thing.

I am a Roman Catholic.  I went to CCD as a kid.  I sang in the children’s choir.  I was part of my church’s Youth Council at one time.  My faith is very important to me.  But, despite this, I have to take issue with the constant haranguing by the proponents of Intelligent Design.

I had, of course, heard all the arguments made in various venues growing up.  The issue rears its ugly head with incredible frequency.  But, I think my disgust with the whole thing started my first year in college.  During that year, I was invited by a campus organization to take part in their Biblical discussion group.  As a Catholic at a Catholic university, I decided to check the group out and see what they had to offer.

I attended one time, and never returned.

During that first session, one of their “mentors” and I took a look at the book of Genesis and the creation story there.  After reading through the passages together she made the matter-of-fact statement that obviously “you are either a creationist or an atheist.”  I was stunned.  This statement seemed so intellectually, and even spiritually, wrong to me that it was everything I could do to maintain a veneer of cordiality for the rest of the session rather than storming out.

It is that sort of unbending dedication to their position that drives me crazy with both sides of this argument.  I get it.  The people on this side believe absolutely that God created everything, and the people on this side believe everything is due to natural evolution.  And never the two shall meet.  Welcome to zealot town.

But, I hate to have to point out the obvious, but raise your hand if you were there.  Anyone?  The truth is that no one was there to witness the creation of Life, the Universe, and Everything (thank you Douglas Adams for a great line).  Everything written about that time, whether sacred or secular, was written by men.  And, men, to put it very lightly, are fallible.

Since it is doubtful we will ever find a way to definitively prove one way or the other, we need to seek some sort of middle ground.  That is not me telling anyone to compromise their personal beliefs.  But, you don’t know the absolute truth better than anyone else. 

Every major religion in the world has some sort of writing on how the world and life came to be.  Surprisingly enough, they don’t match up.  Creation stories are wonderful, but they are just stories, myths even.  If God did create the universe, and all life therein, I doubt very much any human language could truly encompass the process properly.

At the same time, every evolutionary theory and scientific explanation for the beginnings of life depends on certain conditions that are outside the norm. And, if they were proposed for anything but the beginnings of life would likely be looked upon with disdain by the scientific community.  The truth is that nature is as beyond our full understanding, and likely always will be.  Our human minds are part of the scientific existence that is our universe, we will never fathom it completely as long as we are a part of it.

Trying to say that one or the other is absolutely right is ridiculous.  In fact, to claim anything is absolutely true in this matter is intellectually dishonest.  My question to both sides is, why do you fear the ideas opposed to yours so much that you wish to deny our future generations the right to examine the evidence as a whole and decide for themselves what they believe?  Isn’t belief a deeply personal thing? 

And, before anyone asks, no, I will not discuss in this forum my personal beliefs.  That is not the point I am making.  I am not trying to say my way of viewing the issue is right, wrong, or indifferent.  My point is that this is an issue where the zealots on both sides have run the show for far too long.  It is time for everyone to admit that they don’t know, but they believe, and then give our children the freedom to do the same.

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One Comment

  1. I know you were raised Irish Roman Catholic. I was raised Italian Roman Catholic. That in and of itself has zealots as to which are more Catholic. In this great debate I have seen the zealots on both sides and my willingness to examine my beliefs to make them stronger, I think is a good trait. On this matter I look to the works of Piers Anthony, specifically his series on the Incarnations of Immortality. Book number 7 “And Eternity”, I think presents the best idea on achieving a common middle ground. The entire series is a good read, especially with the recent adding of an 8th book. I recommend the reading And Eternity and judge for yourself the theory that is presented there.


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