Saturday, June 30, 2007

Addendum to Tuesday's Post, or Scrutinizing Certain Creationist Objections to Evolution

If being a Christian is without worldly significance and "the world knew him not" (John 1:10), then what are Christians doing and not what do they say that they are doing?



Many young earth creationists object to evolution because evolution destroys the distinction between human and animal. And because the distinction between the higher and the lower, the more godlike and the less godlike is obscured, if not obliterated in evolution, evolution therefore demeans and insults humanity. Evolution is an insult. [See South Park, Season 10, episode #12, Go God Go, in particular Ms. Garrison's rant against Dawkins. Or for a "serious" example see: Tool-Using Animals on the Creation Moments website. ]



What is the necessary but unexamined premise? Christianity teaches that value is relative: humanity's value rests on it being "better" than something else. A Christian can only imagine the assertion of his self worth as requiring the denigration of some "other." In the case of humanity, this means humanity does not have value in itself, contrary to all protestations of Christians. Humanity's value derives from the fact that something else lacks value, in this case that means the so-called animal world.



Is it possible that this is an anomaly of creationism and evolution? Could I have overstated my conclusions in my other postings? There is another case to consider.



It is one of the peculiarities of Evangelical Christianity that it needs homosexuals, abortionists, and all manner of immoral persons. In making homosexuality, in particular, and opposition to same-sex unions essential to Evangelical Christianity, the question arises: perhaps "being a Christian" means in large measure not-gay.



If there is a challenge that atheists, agnostics, and sundry nonbelievers should pose to Christians it is this: is being a Christian anything other than the negation and opposition to something else? Does Christianity lack actual positive ethical content? If as I have suggested on numerous occasions, Christianity and religion in general is first and foremost a vehicle for inculcating obedience, then Christianity hardly requires any positive non-negating elements.



To return to the question that I posed. Nietzsche had a word for the spiritual framework that I described above: ressentiment. He also came to the conclusion that Christianity is the most subtle flowering of this need for an "evil other" to experience oneself as good.






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