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The materialist, the young-earther, and the heretic in conversation

They met together: The young-earther, the materialist-zoologist, and the evolutionary heretic. Matzoo and Young (as we will call them), soon found that they had much in common, greatly to their surprise. There was, of course, much tail-chasing and verbal slanging on the way.


Nigel Pocock


They both agreed, even though Matzoo was an aggressive atheist and Young an equally dogmatic and authoritarian Christian fundamentalist, for they both rejected the same kind of God.

This God was a God who mindlessly allowed things to just ‘happen’, if evolution was a fact.

Thus, the centre of their agreement was evolution.

Matzoo rejected God, because evolution, he believed, was ‘mindless’. Young rejected evolution, because it was mindless, too. So they both, paradoxically, agreed that evolution was mindless.

How was this? Strangely, this agreement was possible, because both were, in their different ways, defined by their extremely narrow (and wait for it!) fundamentalist theologies! Matzoo would have been surprised by this take on his theology (or lack of it). Young was used to what he saw as verbal abuse by heretics.

His understanding of Genesis and predestination was the only correct one. Matzoo took it for granted that all Christians believed God to be in meticulous control of everything, and that without this power and control, he could not be God.

Young agreed. However, the heretic (we will call him Beagle, so-named by his parents for sniffing around in areas where he was not wanted) chose otherwise . . .

Matzoo and Young nearly had brain seizures when Beagle, who had been silent until now, said quietly, “But what if you are both wrong, for example if evolution is actually a part of God’s love, and this love is, by definition, non- coercive, as love surely is, if it respects the other person?” Young and Matzoo reacted with horror. “Evolution is mindless, random, with no plan!” they both cried. “Can’t you see that?”

“Neither of you understand what love is, nor the nature of God”, replied Beagle. “Nonsense!” cried Matzoo and Young, at once. “Look at the history of violence in the world!” shouted Matzo. “And consider that God is a God of judgment, and that his judgments are always just!” responded Young.

“You are both wrong” replied Beagle. “You are far too narrow and selective in your use of the Bible! Far from being mindless, could it not be that evolution is an expression of God’s loving desire―for, as the Bible says―‘God is love’, and that ‘he cannot deny himself’ and that ‘love does not insist on its own way’―his loving desire for freedom in his creation―all of it―the inanimate as well as the animate?

Could it not be that evolution, far from being mindless, is actually a desire on God’s part to respect yours, and creation’s, freedom to express itself, and in doing so, be the very means towards newness, novelty, genuine creativity?” Matzoo and Young fell silent. Neither of them had much humility, and being honest with themselves did not come easily. Both were authoritarian, and were poor problem-solvers, especially in the face of something outside of their knee- jerk responses. As usual, Beagle had sniffed his way into a place where he was not welcome.

“Both of you!” he cried, “Remember that there was once a man who claimed authority over the past mistaken contemporary understandings of the mass- killings of the Old Testament, which one of you claim is mindless evolution, and the other claims is human sin and God’s judgment.

Perhaps you should both stop being locked into the past? This man, who sought no name, said simply that “You have said… Hate your enemies… But I say to you, love your enemies…”

This is the future! It is not the past! Evolution is indeed self-creating, and is as much about altruistic love, communities and people helping each other, as about the undoubted violence―remember that!

Love is a part of the self- creation and genuine novelty of the created world―because based on freedom, and not mindless materialism or the meticulous planning of God! People are not predestined by antecedent cause and effect, as Matzoo says, or by God’s absolute power, as Young thinks! Love is a part of evolution!”

“Hhhhhhmmmm. Nonsense!” said Matzoo. “Rubbish!” said Young.

(Photos: Pixabay

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