It has been a long time coming, but here are our essays for the last half of Chapter 22, focusing on the rise of Christian fundamentalism, biblical criticism, the “quest for the historical Jesus”, and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.
It was good to get back in the swing of things after a little over a month and a half, and hopefully we’ll get the momentum back till we finish the book.
It was interesting that though this chapter covered Charles Darwin, no one wrote about him. I believe the reason for that is because it’s such a huge topic and many of us have studied evolution in depth and speaking about such topics causes emotions to flare up and we spend copious amounts of time running around in circles not getting anywhere. Of course, as everyone knows, Darwin’s thoughts on evolution and natural selection have had a profound impact on Christianity ever since he published his books On the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man. Though most of us accepted the theory of evolution more or less, most still left a slight opening for there having been an actual biblical Adam and Eve as told in the book of Genesis. That’s fair enough because we don’t have all the data possible in the world. However, we were in agreement that the purpose of the book of Genesis wasn’t to give a scientific account of how the universe or earth began, instead it was to give a theological account – i.e. the theological message of the story is paramount than its possible (literal) historical veracity. And most held on to the belief that at some moment in time God intervened to make mankind into his own image and give us the ability for moral cognition and religious/spiritual longing for the supernatural or God himself.
However, being the Devil’s advocate that I am, I myself was the only one in the group to not believe in a divine intervention in the formation of mankind as we know it today. I believe that God didn’t “purpose” homo sapien sapiens into existence even through the process of evolution – I believe our species was just the strongest or luckiest to survive to become the dominant species on the planet and we gradually and naturally evolved the cognitive capacity to believe with little to no divine intervention. In some ways, God may have just accommodated our arrival and condescended himself to relate to us purely out of grace – He didn’t have to, but he did.
To say the least, there were some in the group who wanted to burn me at the stake as a heretic, but that’s fine.