Politics – Time To Evolve

Let’s talk for a moment about what evolution REALLY threatens, in the public sphere.

Despite the rantings of self-righteous asshats like Richard Dawkins and morons who equate religion with a disease (might want to crack a copy of “The True Believer”, kids) it’s worth remembering that there are legions of Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. who have absolutely no problem whatsoever fitting the idea of evolution into their religious worldview. There’s religious beliefs and then there’s facts. It’s only a very specific kind of “Christian” who has a problem with evolution being taught in the schools, and that’s the Biblical literalist. Let’s be clear about something: religion and science don’t really have a fight over evolution. It’s a very specific type of religious fundamentalist that has problems with evolution.

Biblical literalism is, of course, a belief that the Bible is the absolute no-bullshit word of God, something fundamentalists cling to like a drowning man clings to driftwood. There are even people who insist that God communicated to the world in the English of King James’ day, which means said riddled-with-ridiculous-errors translation is actually the Word of God. That’s really how far down the rabbit hole goes here.

Now, religion for me is neither here nor there, but Biblical literalism is retarded. The history of how the Bible was assembled and translated is full of errors, flawed sources and bad math. There are editing decisions we’ll never know about; why’d Thomas’ gospel get left out? The dates in some Bibles come from a monk who sat down, tried to work out the dates, and then annoyed the shit out of everybody until they accepted it. And even leaving that out, the Bible contradicts itself a lot, which is to be expected since about half of the back of the book consists of refuting half of the beginning of the book.

To make things worse, Biblical literalists willfully ignore the dozens of contradictions, especially between their lifestyle and behavior and what the Bible says is good and moral behavior. Just as an example, the Bible is pretty blunt about what happens to people who make moral judgments on others. The Old Testament in particular bears down rather hard on this particular point, and the New Testament goes out of its way to include the parable about the adultress, you know, “he who is without sin may cast the first stone”? Yeah, Andrew Schafly, in probably the biggest act of hubris known to man, is taking it upon himself to retranslate the Bible. And he just so happened to leave that story out, because apparently his Jesus is a judgmental coward, just like Schafly (makes you wonder if Jesus is a closet case, as well).

And let’s not even get started on that whole “Jesus wants us to be rich” thing fundamentalists have. No. He doesn’t. Remember that whole thing about ‘easier a camel through an eye of a needle?’ Or the part where he beats the ever-loving shit out of the moneychangers? Jesus’ opinions on wealth and its connections to morals are pretty damn explicit in the text.

And therein lies the real threat of evolution. Evolution questions the idea that the Bible is the literal word of God, which happens to be the justification of an awful lot of political attitudes. You’ll never see a gay marriage opponent just come right out and say “I hate and fear gay people for no really good reason, so I don’t want them to get married.” They’ll hide behind some pretty questionable parts of the Bible, including the book of Leviticus, which proves none of them bother to actually read the Bible, because if they did they’d realize Leviticus also tells them to stop gardening vegetables, raising bunnies, and spends far, far too much time explaining that, under any circumstances whatsoever, it is not okay to show your relatives to each other naked.

There is a lot, and I mean a LOT, of Bible-thumping by politicians and politically active evangelists, especially in rural areas. The Bible is a great way for a politician or an evangelist to exploit the fear of the “Other”. Listen to one of these guys going off sometime and it’s all about how you, the listener, are a Good Person because you believe in Jesus. Not because you do good works, or love your fellow men unconditionally, but because you listen to the evangelist, contribute to his cause, and he reads the Bible very closely. Trust him, he’s a religious authority.

In other words, you can challenge evolution on religious grounds, but if that’s your excuse, odds are pretty good you’re not much of a Christian in the first place.


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