Letters to the Editor

For HumanistNetworkNews.org
Feb. 10, 2010

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A travesty of the Christian faith

(Re: The Christian Right and Public Education in Texas, Humanist Network News, Feb. 3, 2010.)

I wonder how many readers of your e-zine are aware of an early Christian scholar and theologian, Origen. He wrote this in  the third century, long before modern scientific method was even a glint in Francis Bacon's eye: "Who is so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer, planted a paradise eastward in Eden, and set in it a visible and palpable 'Tree of Life' of such a sort that anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life?'

I don't know what the precise situation is in the United States, but the Anglican Communion certainly does not require belief in either creationism or its Trojan Horse, "Intelligent Design."

Origen is pointing at God as an essential mystery at the heart of existence (something that I think makes materialists as well as Biblical literalists uncomfortable). The message of the Incarnation is the very opposite of a controlling, imperial God with a beard. The Israelites expected a king, or at least an armed resistance leader who would free them from the Romans and restore them to former glory. What they got was a kid born the wrong side of the tracks who grew up to be an admittedly colorful preacher saying some disturbing things before being executed ignominiously. This suggests that God is the very opposite of imperial and political.

Many believers, in fact, would be strongly on the side of anyone trying to stem the tide of creationism, which I have always seen as part of a particularly odious package of extreme social conservatism.

Unfortunately, creationism and its socio-political agenda are gaining a foothold in the United Kingdom. My parish magazine is inviting critical examination of fundamentalism in the next issue; I made the same point above about the Incarnation in the previous issue. So, you see, we're not all creationist lunatics. Unfortunately, the press just loves the latter, who are adept at the political game and at providing easy answers–hence their big following and bulging bank accounts.

Boo to the lot of them, in both your country and mine!

–Humphrey, United Kingdom

Against Darwin Day

(Re: The Importance of Honoring Darwin, Humanist Network News, Feb. 3, 2010.)

As a humanist/liberal/progressive/critical thinker, I find the call to sign a petition asking President Obama to declare February 12 as "Darwin Day" no less asinine than believers asking him to declare December 25 Jesus Day.

–Y. Rustom, Houston, Texas