Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Homo sapiens, neither good nor evil

I have two thinkers in mind. The first is Jared Diamond author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The Third Chimpanzee. In these three works, he provides an excellent analysis of the origin of homo sapiens, what we have accomplished, where we could be headed, and what we might be able still to do.

The second thinker is Patricia Williams author of Where Christianity Went Wrong, When, and What You Can Do About It and Doing Without Adam and Eve: Sociobiology and Original Sin.

In reading these two authors, it is apparent that most of the theology that we have inherited is based on outdated anthropology. Diamond in The Third Chimpanzee reports that from what we know through anthropology and DNA analysis that we share nearly all our DNA with chimpanzees, our closest relatives. Not only that, but chimpanzees are closer to homo sapiens than they are to any other family member in the animal kingdom including other apes. Williams writes that doctrines of original sin are simply false. We are in essence a mix of drives that enable us to succeed and can lead us to our destruction.

The myths of Genesis are human-created as is every bit of language and thought form. The creeds of the Christian church are also human products, of course. The challenge for us is to discover those myths, philosophies, symbols, and values that will enable us to not only to survive but to live in equanimity with all of Earth.

I firmly believe that the way forward is to dismiss the "Divinity" of all human products, (or add "Divinity" to all human products, the result to me is the same, although the latter may sound more "spiritual") whether they be religious or not and take what is life-giving. We have had a marvelous discussion on one of my previous posts, that has led me to wonder if we may be getting somewhere.