Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the Origin of My Last Freakin' Nerve

Oh, Kirk Cameron... how cute you were as America's favorite ne'er-do-well, Mike Seaver, in the sit-com, Growing Pains.  I liked Mike Seaver.  He was a smart, sassy, clever underachiever, who used all of his mental and psychological abilities to outwit his long-suffering parents and siblings.  He had cute 80s clothes, an adorable, mullety haircut and fabulous lines. Mike Seaver was destined to be a success in the world, because though his sister Carol's diligence and hard work paid off in school, in real life, it's generally charm and the ability to think fast on your feet that puts you in the winner's circle. Mike Seaver had those in spades.

Unfortunately, Kirk Cameron is not Mike Seaver.  Since GP closed up shop in 1992, Cameron has been kept busy being a Christian.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you.  Some of my best friends are Christian.  But the difference between my best friends' kind of Christianity, and Kirk's Christianity, is that my best friends are okay with me not being a Christian.  And you not being a Christian.  In fact, my friends -- all learned, well-read, educated people, many of whom are actually in or have graduated from seminaries -- get the fact that there are a whole lotta folks out there who aren't Christian and aren't hungering to be made Christian.  They get that some of us gave Christianity the old college try, and found it lacking, and they can live with that.  They love me -- and you, regardless of your belief system -- for who you are, not which deity you worship or don't worship, whichever the case may be.

Kirk, I'm afraid, isn't quite so tolerant.  Kirk believes in a Christian God.  But more to the point, Kirk believes that you should believe in a Christian God, too.  And that if you don't believe in a Christian God and don't force your children to believe in a Christian God, then the world is doomed.  It's not enough that he's slathered the airwaves and Blockbuster's shelves with his DVD adaptation of those whacked out crazy guys, Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind books.  Now, he wants to start messing with our books -- namely, On the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin.  November marks the sesquicentennial for the publication of Darwin's original edition of the book, and Kirk and Christian minister Ray Comfort (he of the "banana as evidence of God" theory) are planning on distributing a "special edition" of OtOotS to the top fifty universities that Cameron and Comfort feel are hotbeds of atheistic reason and education.

What makes this edition special?  A fifty-page "special introduction" which attempts to paint Darwin as a racist woman-hating atheist with ties to Adolph Hitler.  I'm not kidding.  (Just in case you haven't looked lately, by the way, Darwin died in 1882, seven years before Hitler's birth).  Without even debating any of the specious allegations that Cameron and Comfort make in the new edition of the book (because why bother to debate one guy who is outright insane and the other who is one of the dimmest individuals that ever sashayed out of sit-com history), I think it's important that people challenge this "new edition" for the very fact of its "specialness."  I do think it's great that we live in a country where Comfort and Cameron have the freedom to express themselves.  I just wish they wouldn't lie so much while doing it.

One of the things I'm most fed up with about evangelicals is this constant drumbeat of how Christians in America are so downtrodden and stripped of their rights. Really? Seriously?  This kind of complaint only underlines the lack of education and the barely passing acquaintance that evangelicals have with non-Biblical texts, like history books and political science texts.  It's not enough that they keep themselves ignorant of science and biology, they have to stay stupid about all the other subjects now, too?

I don't know what to say, except a big, hearty hello and shout out to all atheists and agnostics everywhere (some of my other best friends are atheists and agnostics, by the way), and keep up the good work promoting logic and reason, rather than hoodoo and hooey.

For a slightly different take on this whole affair, Romanian vlogger ZOMGitsCriss has recorded her slant on the whole thing, complete with her utterly charming accent ("BOOL-sheet" is my new favorite word, I've decided) and her darkly Eastern European sarcasm. 

I'm all in favor of her idea that college students on those fifty campuses to take as many copies as they can get their hands on, rip out the fifty "special" pages, and pass the books on, so that as many people as possible can read what Darwin actually wrote, without being misled by the crazy evangelicals.

Criss also has a couple of good ideas for some "special editions" of the Bible, with an introduction that would connect Christianity and its evangelical followers to some of the most heinous and shameful moments in history, like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials and -- ironically -- Adolph Hitler (who was raised a Catholic, by the way).  Criss is pretty sure the Kirk & Ray Show wouldn't be so thrilled with this, but I like the idea a lot.

One thing I am grateful for is that Darwin's book -- his actual, original book -- which you can read online here, unencumbered by quasi-Christian drivel -- has been brought to the foreground again. It's a fascinating look at the launching of a theory that shot man into Twentieth Century science with a bullet. Darwin's theory was the ground spring from which all evolutionary and genetic sciences -- including the discovery of the human genome -- has come. I am certain that he never would have guessed how scientiests would extrapolate on his original theory of natural selection in order to branch off into completely diverse and almost unrelated areas of science. It wasn't his purpose.  His purpose was to tell the story of life -- of its brilliance, its resourcefulness and its unconquerable will to survive. His book -- a book that truly needs no introduction at all -- does just that.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
~Mohandas Ghandi~


(art credit: original photo in artwork by cazkhel on deviantART.  Altered in PSCS with Virtual Painter 5 filters)

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