If the first talking snake had kept shtum, we wouldn't be here. Eve wouldn't have eaten the forbidden fruit. But she listened and was curious. So she fell into humanity, thank God. Good old snake, say I. I celebrate its independence of mind. Satan? Neh, that's a later interpretation. The snake was part of the divine purpose. God allowed it into the garden, aware of its linguistic abilities. He knew what would happen. Jesus commended dove-like innocence. AND the wisdom ... of the snake.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Morris’ monster

Anyone who doubts that creationism’s battle is not with sensible science, nor even with informed Biblical scholarship, but with liberal ideology as defined by the American right, should ponder this troubling cartoon, reproduced from John Morris’ book "The Young Earth".

I’d guess that anyone presented with the graphic but without labels for the monster’s various heads would, knowing its source, be able to identify two straightaway: abortion and homosexuality. Yep, they would have to be there, wouldn’t they. These are the two great moral "evils" on which the Right incessantly campaigns and the link with evolutionism is too good to miss. The others need a little more thought.

[Incidentally, the Snake would distinguish utterly between a woman’s legal right to abortion and the morality of her making this choice, a much more complex question to which there is only one wise answer: it depends on the circumstances. Homosexual practices are not evil. Irresponsible, predatory and self-indulgent expressions of sexuality are immoral whether straight or gay. End of sermon.]

Racism? er, is it not a matter of history that America’s racial problems have been concentrated in the God-fearing, Bible-believing South? Did not the masters of apartheid appeal to allegedly Christian doctrines of a somewhat fundamentalist kind? Never mind that; what’s in Morris’ mind is the link between Darwin and the all too human monsters of the 20th century who plundered his theories to justify their racially driven slaughter. Certainly there is a line of twisted thinking that runs from Darwin through Nietzsche to Hitler and Stalin, but blaming Darwin for the Holocaust is like attributing Hiroshima to the horror fantasies of H G Wells. Now, Morris knows full well that liberals condemn racism as routinely as the Right condemns homosexuality, but he wants to say to them - the origin of that which you despise is to be found in your beloved Evolution.

Marxism has undoubtedly exploited Darwin for its own purposes, though it’s hard to imagine that the cause would have foundered had the bearded biologist died in his cot. Marx’s atheism owes far more to Feuerbach. Notice however the automatic identification of Marxism as an evil. It would not occur to Morris that for some Christians, especially in Latin America, Marx’s writings help us understand salvation in a new light, as liberation from the structures of oppression. As a critique of raw capitalism, for example of the kind embraced by the current generation of neocons running America, Marxism has a continuing relevance, however much it seems to have failed in practice. Other Marxists might say, as some Christians would of Christianity: it hasn’t failed - it hasn’t been tried, not the real thing.

So global capitalism is such an unqualified success? Its emphasis on competition might also be traced back to Darwin, but since the Market is sacred to the Right, we won’t be seeing its name on any of Morris’ monster-heads. As for lawlessness (whatever that means) and promiscuity, the most superficial acquaintance with world history ought to remind Morris that these phenomena have been around for centuries.

Morris’ monster illustrates his prejudices admirably. It’s easy enough to reply in kind by changing the labels, so the second cartoon now illustrates mine. Except, of course, that my prejudices are far better informed.


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