Micah Bournes on Evolution and Injustice

Society

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

This video is one of those must watch links. Just 4 minutes. Hope @Ben_Sanders can weight in. www.micahbournes.com

There is a connection between origins and injustice. Society could have been just. Nothing requires it to be unjust. Still, we inherit world of injustice from our ancestors. We need to find a better way.


Thank God For Evolution

If divinity were not fiction, I would thank God for evolution.
It is a confort to know homosapians are ever increasing in intelligence.
Because our history is truly animalistic.

But now we recognize how unsophisticated we used to be.
In former times like 17th century Gold Coast.
As lambs for the slaughter, people were gathered in flocks.
Shackled and stocked in cells, awaiting their lives to be bartered for alcohol and weaponry.
And after their buyers and sellers negotiated
how many bottles of rum were enough to take away their freedom;
They were ushered through the door of no return.
Hoarded into ships and stacked like boxes of cargo.
Because they were cargo.
But only the fittest survived.

And once they arrived in the new world they were again paraded.
And sold like property.
Like the animals we once were,
But thank God for evolution;
because that was 400 years ago.

And now we know how unsophisticated we used to be.
In former times like 20th century Germany.
As lambs for the slaughter, people were gathered in flocks.
Shackled and stocked like matches in a box awaiting to be burned.
Names exchanged for numbers. And once their digets were up.
They were ushered through the door of no return.
But thank God for evolution;
because that was 7 decades ago.

And now we know how unsophisticated we used to be.
In former times like, yesterday.
Cambodia.
Where another girl was abducted and taken to Phnom Penh.
Becoming one of the estimated 20 million global sex slaves.
As lambs for the slaughter, they are gathered in flocks.
Schackled and stocked in brothels, awaiting their lives to be bartered.
And after their buyers and sellers negotiate how many dollars will take away their freedom.
They are ushered through the door of no return, and abused, like property.
Like the animals we used to be?
No.

We are not evolved people.
Whatever we are we have been since the fall of Eden.
And our increased intelligence only sophisticates wickedness.
Correctly diagnosed by Saint Paul as a race of mad scientists.
Inventors of evil things.
And if we were evolving, I wouldn’t want to see what demons we would be in the future.
But Bonhoeffer said, “Christ is not coming to devils, but to men.”
Certainly to men who are sinful, lost, and damned.
But still, to men.
Let the slaves say, “Amen!”
Let the master be shamed.
Let the saints proclaim that we are still men.
Calling all to repent and become what we already are.
Forsaking hopelessness for faith as we anticipate evolution received from God.
For the penitent will all be changed.
And history will never again repeat its atrocities.
For we will have truly evolved.
Resurrected from flesh.
Corrected to bodies of imortal glory.

Therefore my beloved brethren;
be steadfast,
immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Knowing that your labor is not in vain.
Thank God for evolution, for we know how unsophisticated we remain today.
But today will not remain.


Daniel Deen and Joel Oesch: The Lutheran Voice and Crosswise Institute
Civilization and Civilized Humans
(Ben Sanders) #2

Really intriguing post! I agree with Joshua: there is a deep and important connection between how we understand origins and how we relate to the work justice. Properly understood, justice is a central to Judaeo-Christian faith, so is creation. As a contribution to this thread, here’s some socratic pondering: if society COULD HAVE BEEN, why is it not? Of course, there are many ways to answer this question. We could talk about social and economic structures, human nature, etc. But how we account for injustice–and the suffering it creates, sustains, and contributes to–is vital.

For me, the decisive moral imperative is to commit ourselves to justice, and this means committing ourselves to being with those who are most vulnerable to unjust structures. I’ve heard many accounts of injustice that give us “easy-outs” from the difficult work of pursuing and creating justice. And I think the idea that things could be just if we just thought and acted better is enticing but deceptive logic. It doesn’t account for sin (theologically speaking) or systemic suffering (sociologically speaking).

Instead of thinking about injustice, suffering, and sin as things that need not be, we ought to relate to them as realities that exists and for which we are collectively responsible.

Looking forward to dialog!


(George) #3

@Ben_Sanders, the quote I selected from your post strikes at the very core of righteousness!

As someone who has always favored “flesh is weak” themes, it always struck me that the brain’s bias against “the stranger” (even if the strangers are in our midst) drives much of what is wrong with the world.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

I am too. I’m thinking about your post. I hope to respond in more detail soon…


I also want to let people know what prompted this post. It is all thanks to @Philosurfer.

At his invitation, I was just in Irvine, California, at the Crosswise Institute, talking to a crowd of mainly Lutheran high school students: https://www.cui.edu/en-us/academicprograms/christcollege/crosswise They played this video clip as an intro my talk, and had Micah Bournes there to give a talk to the students that night.

I was there to talk about finding confident faith in science, and why Jesus is not threatened by evolutionary science. This video had me move this image, seconds before I took the stage, to the beginning of my presentation:

But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress. http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/pauls-letter-american-christians-0

I talk about this photo often. It is the protests outside my home this last year, in the wake of the Stockley Verdict, in the segregated city of St. Louis. It could have been a better way, but its not. Why not? How did we get here? What gave rise to the segregation here? (watch the first 15 minutes here: Is There Truth Beyond Science? (Delaware, October 2017))

Another way to ask this question is: how did we get here? What is the origin of this injustice? What is the story of how it arose.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

What sort of feedback have your received from the students?


(Daniel Deen) #6

I’ll let you know after we get the students’ final survey data. The unofficial is the students loved the entire week, with Micah being referenced often as a highlight during the evening activities.

Your talk, was referenced by a few students as unsettling. Most of our students had yet to come across someone who holds the evolutionary position as well as a confessional Christian faith. It caused their cognitive wheels to spin in directions that they were unprepared for! Which, is exactly what we plan to do at Crosswise, so thanks for going in the direction you did.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

I hope I wasn’t too much! Your students were great and I really enjoyed spending time with them.

I know that you are making clips from my talk. When your have them please let me know.


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