I have this idea that I need to get out of my head. I need to preface it by making the following disclaimers. I am an atheist. I have no interest in ‘proving’ any of the faithful that he is wrong. I am not asking anyone to reconsider his position, theological or philosophical. I simply wish to tell a story and ask a question, which admittedly is really an observation.
I think every religion seeks to place man within the cosmos, and this position embodies a contradiction. Generally, religions claim mankind is insignificant, needing the grace of a deity to make their lives meaningful. The contradiction is that a deity deign spend time on helping the ants find salvation.
In this context, and specifically in the Judeo-Christian tradition, I made up the following. From my reading of the Bible, God sounds like a son of a bitch. Granted, I was more interested in the Old Testament, but there are enough militant statements in both Old and New Testaments speaking to man’s insignificance and need for God’s grace. God provides meaning to life. Fulfilling His desire gives purpose to man.
So, the story I concocted is that evolution need not be nemesis of religion. In fact, it would fit in magnificently (in a literary sense. It is based on my interpretation of the character of the Almighty). One image I hear from Christians is that we are akin to children playing in the mud. Kids playing in the mud certainly can’t clean each other well. You need someone not in the muck. The analogous situation is that any creature less than God to grant purpose and meaning is a profane idea. If God does not exist, the false idol/prophet/holy man dispensing advice and using philosophy to give us purpose is like having one dirty child cleaning another. We need an omniscient being to become a cosmic referee, as it were.
In this context, evolution – in which the central principles are supported by a wealth of evidence from molecular biology research, fossil records, genome comparisons, the selection of antibody resistant microbes, dog breeders, and orchid growers, for example – simply underscores how insignificant we would be without God.
For example, we know that there is a record of life going back at least 500 million years. Humans share a genetic code that have similarities to apes, monkeys, dogs, mice, cats, lizards, birds, and fish. There is also a library of ape fossils where one can see semblance to human bone structures. After showing us that mankind is a part of the world around him, wouldn’t it make sense to show mankind that by possessing God’s grace (whether it be salvation, purpose, or insight), this trait allows man to transcend his status as animal? Doesn’t such a story imbue mankind with distinction conferred entirely by God, that without him we are in fact a bunch of great apes?
My observation/question to the religion-inclined is, “Can you show me where in the Bible you can refute this story?”
Since I did base this (OK, maybe I am guilty of trying to needle Christians) on a literary reading of the Bible, can you really argue whether my interpretation is so off base? What would you use as evidence, some passages from the Bible that I would be unlikely to use? How would you decide among all the existing creation myths? What are your criteria for dismissing Zeus and the Olympians but not Jesus, or Allah, or Yahweh, or the Buddha?