Wednesday, March 16, 2005

planet of the zen apes

an old debate heated up again in a recent mbleslie blog

matthew blogged:
But even if we knew for 100% fact - which is never the case or there wouldn't be a need for faith - that God did make the universe, the 'separation of church and state' would prevent it being taught in school! How can the truth ever be pursued when one possibility is shunned and rejected automatically based on some deep-seated resentment for anything supernatural?

Another interesting case. Say Joe Christian believes that God somehow acted along with evolution to bring everything to the way it is today. When pressed, Joe admits that he doesn't want God taught alongside evolution in schools. What we can conclude is that Joe either doesn't really believe in the God of Christianity, or that he doesn't mind children being taught what he believes to be a lie - which in turn casts serious doubt on his beliefs. Moreover, Joe appears as a man with no conviction.

and davekugler said:
...Not teaching religion in public settings is of respect for those whose religious backgrounds differ from our own – it protects diversity of thought and belief, while placing responsibility on the teaching of religion on the family. Private schools have offered an alternative for decades for people who don’t want to face the responsibility on their own.

so Icarus said:
Davekugler's comment reminds me of certain Christians I have seen on campus who were shocked and appalled when a travelling minister said that anyone who doesn't believe in Christ is going to Hell. They were so indoctrinated with "tolerance" and "diverstiy" that they didn't even believe what they believed! In the world of gray and relativism, no one is wrong and everyone gets to be right, in their own way, of course.

and finally jollybeggar said:

although i've never actually given myself that name, i'll step out here and say that you can call me joe. at least, one version of joe. i'm in a quirky spot on this one because i am a 'bi-vocational pastor' (which basically means that i do the church thing and when i'm not doing that i am doing my other job) who teaches public school. not average joe, but an interested joe nonetheless.

however, when i'm pressed, i can't say that i don't want God taught alongside evolution in school- i really do because they address different aspects of who we are and what we need in this place and time.

belief in God and acceptance of the evolution theory are not necessarily contradictory ideas. the notion that they are is old scripting- it is a modern matrix being applied to something holistic. the thing that both of them have in common is that they are both really critically difficult to nail down...(i like what matthew said about faith- in a sort of douglas adams' "hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy" kinda way) ie: you can't put God in a box for examination and you can't really prove evolution- you can only disprove it.

a few years ago while i was learning through an internship how to be a teacher, we had the big creation-evolution debate in an eighth grade public school class. parents were sent notes to sign saying that they were fine with this and yada yada yada. one side debated evolution from an anthropological standpoint, the other debated creationism from a christian standpoint.

the christians learned a lot that day about what lions will eat and what they will spit out.

although the 'scientists' had charts and diagrams and quotes from everyone from darwin to vonnegut, the christians had only the bible. their logic was flawed in that they used the one source, upon which their theory is based, to prove that their theoretical interpretation of that source was correct and therefore everyone else is wrong. sound familiar?

when was the last time you won a bet that way?

well, we had two authorities come to speak to the kids following the dramatic student debate. on two successive days, a minister from a local church and an anthropologist from the university were slated to speak to the students- sadly, we still felt the need to keep science and spirituality apart in a public school setting.

the first day the minister came. “i understand that you are engaged in a debate for science class over theories of our origin, and are discussing God and creation. firstly, you need to know that this book (the bible) is not a textbook. it wasn’t written that way and it wasn’t meant to be read that way. the bible doesn’t tell you what happened, the bible tells you about who did it…” and so on.

well, i thought ‘great, sounds nice, but the anthropologist from the university is gonna wipe him out tomorrow…’

the next day we waited patiently for our friendly neighbourhood anthropologist, who eventually arrived, albeit late, ready to speak. “i understand that you are engaged in a debate for science class over cosmology theories and are seeking the best explanation of how everything began: creation versus evolution. firstly, let me say that science and the bible speak to different things: if your car happens to break down on a day like today in frigid, sub-zero temperatures, no amount of praying will probably get the thing going again. (here he was being autobiographical, i found out later) however, if you are looking for the meaning of life on a day like today, science has nothing to say.”

the kids were confused and, in a zen sense, that’s when their enlightenment began, I think.

well, except that i think that science does in fact qualify the meanings we take from life by allowing us to more carefully consider the observables, i agree with both men... not in spite of the fact that they seemed to meet right in the middle of the controversy, offering no tidy conclusions, but probably because of it.

i believe what i believe (although i often have a terrible time articulating it) but i don't feel that it is relativist to choose to breathe the free air instead of suffocating with one's head buried so deeply in theological sand that choking, oxygen-starved hallucinations form his spin on 'life, the universe and everything.'

(and, by the way, i too concur with arzhang that evolution is really about continuations, not beginnings...)

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Blogger marcythewhore said...

Dan is a customer who realized that he can't find hell in one of my massage parlors. He is having way too much fun there. He merely asked me to help him find hell. A massage parlor madame is something like an esatz counselor/bartender, except that I listen better, though when my customers are in throes of Happy Endings they don't hear so good.

As for Ostriches with appetities for flintlocks, that's very, very strange indeed.

Sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay for the movie version of Moby Dick, starring Gregory Peck. On the night director John Huston called Bradbury to ask him if they could meet on the morrow to discuss writing the screenplay, after haning up the phone Bradbury turned to this wife and said, "I've been trying for years to read that damn book Moby Dick. Now I have to read it over night."............marcythewhore

Blogger jollybeggar said...

poor man, ray.

what might moby dick have looked like if it were shot by man ray?

Blogger marcythewhore said...

A porpoise?

Anyway, back in 1969 congress passed the Extra Terrestrial Exposure Law.

You don't have to take my word for it, look it up for yourself.

We were (figuratively speaking as Americans en masse) getting ready to walk on the moon. Congress got this idea that Neil Armstrong and crew might find living breathing things on the moon. If these living breathing things came to earth, all chaos could erupt if everyday people began cavorting with ETs.

We can't have that happening in our control silly environment, can we?

So congress passed the ET Exposure Act which states that you can go to prison if you make contact with an ET.

Now, nobody is quite sure if this silly law has ever been used. Because to use the law to arrest someone for stalking or talking to an Et entails the arresting officer admitting that they know of an ET in the vicinity.

Something like a Catch-22...or trying to define someone's version of God.

Supposedly this 1969 congressional law has been repealed, or simply buried somewhere because nobody on Capitol Hill will admit they've had anything to do with this.

I mean, an airline pilot could see a flying saucer land on the wing of his 747 in flight and that pilot wouldn't admit to seeing a UFO for fear of losing his job forever and a day. Congress people can get voted out of office if they start talking too much about ETs.

Then there was the space shuttle disaster over Texas a while ago. People supposedly were arrested for picking up debris from the shuttle remains plummeting to earth.

They violated the ET Exposure Act that no one will admit even exists as law.

Widows and wondering what became of their husbands who had picked up space debris and disappeared.

Someone jokingly said in the halls of congress, "Next we'll be passing a "God Exposure Act" of some fashion.

Or a "Satan" Exposure Act.

Nobody in congress laughed.

In fact, a lot of congress people looked at each other nervously.

You don't think they already did that and won't admit to it, do you?.........marcythewhore

Blogger shandi said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a footprint. I was curious, after reading some of your material, if you had read some of my previous entries or just stumbled on to my blog recently. Considering that you are a bi-vocational pastor....were you offended by my material?

I was raised in a christian cult. One of those really bizarre....laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, and hallucinating kind of churches. I loved this comment btw:

"i don't feel that it is relativist to choose to breathe the free air instead of suffocating with one's head buried so deeply in theological sand that choking, oxygen-starved hallucinations form his spin on 'life, the universe and everything."

That was the best description of my childhood religious indoctrinations that I have ever come across.

Anyway...if you haven't seen them yet....check out "Satan Drops by for a Visit". You'll see what I'm talking about.

And, if you end up thinking that I'm going to hell.....just pray for me.


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