Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is my old buddy Charles Darwin's birthday. Because I go to a religious school, and because I am surrounded by woefully uninformed English majors, I have heard a lot of silly things about evolution and religion.

This week I heard someone say that we should all have the "courage to believe" in a strict creationist viewpoint despite heaps and heaps of evidence to the contrary. This person went on to say that anyone who believed in anything other than the 100% creationist theory - that God sat down and individually crafted every life form on earth - was not a true believer in God.

I disagree. I am a very religious person, I believe in God, but I have trouble with the idea that He sat at his workbench and made each individual creature. First of all, I just don't think that God is a micromanager. But that is an argument for another day, because it isn't the main thing that bothers me about this idea. My biggest beef with this is that it proposes a very different God than the one I want to believe in. Let me explain with a couple of examples.

First, chickenpox. I just can't believe that the same God who asked that the children be brought to Him would also create varicella zoster- the nasty little virus that has no other purpose than to torment people (especially children) with highly contagious rashes.

Next on my list are several kinds of wasps that, through various chemical means, can turn another bug into basically a zombie, generally to keep it alive long enough for the wasp's kids to eat it alive from the inside out. I don't really believe in a God who would create critters like that.

These are just two of the many examples of things that don't make much sense if you think of a loving creator individually crafting them, but make perfect sense if you think of them from an evolutionary perspective. All in all, the God who strict creationists believe in sounds a lot like this one:

Now, lest anyone think different, I should set the record straight that I do believe in a loving creator. I just don't believe in a micromanaging loving creator. I believe that He created the universe, and everything in it, but that it is very possible that He used evolution as a tool to create. I do not see how these models are mutually exclusive. If you would like to read a great book about these two going well together, I would check out Finding Darwin's God by Miller (I reviewed it a few months ago).

Happy Birthday, Chucky D!

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I'm a Mormon.