Pick of the Day: Creation

I wonder if anyone’s shown up so far to picket this flick.? It concludes a four-day run at the RPL Theatre tonight with a 9 p.m. screening.

If not, will anyone show up tonight, I wonder? It is Sunday, after all. Sunday being the traditional day of rest and worship by Christians in emulation of God resting on the seventh day after labouring for six to create all existence. Us included. And all other life on Earth. Although under Christian belief we’re the only ones created in God’s image. Which makes us pretty special.

Yeah, we’re pretty heavily integrated into the web of life on Earth. And we look, act and behave similar to a whole pile of other animals. But we’re a step or two above them. Not Gods ourselves, admittedly. But made in His image. His children. And thus entitled to exercise dominion over all the beasts, fish and plants that God placed on Earth for our benefit.

Or not.

That was what Charles Darwin eventually concluded after several decades of intensive research into the biological origins of different species of animal life on Earth. In 1859 he published On the Origin of Species to immense scientific acclaim, and immense controversy in the large and influential Christian community.

Governed  by the principle of natural selection, which tends to preserve and promote any improvements in genetic fitness that species make, we humans hadn’t been created by God in His image. We’d evolved from a lower form of primate.

Now, personally, I think monkeys are kind of cool. Yeah, they don’t have our creature comforts. But they can do a lot of the same stuff we do. And they don’t have to constrain themselves with all the social codes and conventions that tie us down. If they want to take a crap, then pick up their poo and throw it at someone. they do. Us? No way. You’d be hauled off to jail for sure.

Still, going from God the Father to a chimp as the primogenitor of humanity was a leap a lot of people weren’t interested in making. Heck, there’s still millions out there who are fervent Creationists. It’s not a huge movement in Regina, not like it is in the American Bible Belt, but pockets of support exist. Pretty much anytime we run something poking fun at Creationist beliefs and advancing the scientific view on the origins of life we get an indignant letter to the editor or two.

So they’re out there. And some hardcores might decide to do a little muscle flexing like 200 or 300 did with their Stations of the Cross procession through  downtown Regina on Good Friday.

Starring Paul Bethany and Jennifer Connelly, Creation examines the inner turmoil Darwin experienced before deciding to publish his theory of evolution, and his relationship with his wife Emma. Here’s the trailer (YouTube)

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

14 thoughts on “Pick of the Day: Creation”

  1. Greg, perhaps you didn’t understand the Stations of the Cross event, but I rather doubt that any significant number of those folk were creationists “flexing their muscles.” Perhaps you could move beyond some cheap stereotypes and realize that most Chrtistians aren’t remotely like the fundamentalists you depict them to be.

  2. I’d be interested in learning more about the Stations of the Cross event Malcolm. I live and work downtown, and on Good Friday I was witness to the procession. One station, I know, was in front of the Cornwall Centre. When I exited my residence on the Scarth St. Mall I saw a bunch of people milling about in front of the mall’s Scarth St. entrance. There was a police car blocking 11th Ave and I thought that maybe the fire alarm had gone off and they’d had to evacuate the mall.

    A few minutes later, when I was at prairie dog’s second-floor office on the mall, I heard singing and looked out the window to see a person with cross leading the procession of people. Just past our office, they stopped on the mall and did another station.

    It seems kind of odd to me that they would use the Cornwall Centre as a Station of the Cross. Maybe some of the participants were hoping to combine a bit of shopping with their worship, but I doubt it. Was it intended instead to be a symbolic protest against the mall being open on one of the two most sacred days in Christianity? What other locations in the downtown were chosen to be Stations of the Cross? If anyone cares to enlighten me, I’d be interested to know.

  3. If I may:
    As to the Stations of the Cross per se, I’ll recommend you to Google for the origin, history, and modern variations on this aid to religious meditation. As to spots chosen for prayer,there are 2 versions of the Stations: the traditional and the Biblical, so the organizers would have a plethora of symbolic choices. A stop outside the courthouse, e.g., might refer to the condemnation of Jesus to death by a judicial body of the time – without necessarily implying anything about the current judicial system.
    I think that the real issue here is the discomfort you apparently feel with public displays of Christian religious practice, to the degree that you automatically assume that they are somehow “aimed” at you or at values which you espouse, and that anyone who takes part in such public events must be some kind of fanatic/fundamentalist. What they are doing is exercising their right to freedom of religion, which I think you might,at least in principle, support. And they did you no harm, and threatened you not in the least…except in your mind, which, sadly, seems stuck in almost kneejerk hostility. Malcolm makes a sound point in re: “cheap stereotypes”, and I concur.

  4. I co-sign both Malcolms and Barb’s statements. Although I enjoy the Prarie Dog immensely, their barbs against christians and their beloved “magic jew” are hateful and meanspirited. We are little more than neanderthal’s with time machines to Greg Beatty and his cohorts.

    The fact that I share so many other things in common with this asshole, really pisses me off.

  5. I never said Christians shouldn’t be allowed to profess their faith in public Barb. But there’s a fine line between freedom of religious expression and the imposition of religious values in what is supposed to be a secular society. Last time I was at a City Council meeting, the session opened with a prayer. Any reason why? The current reference case that the provincial government has before the Court of Appeal to rule on the constitutionality of a law exempting publicly appointed marriage commissioners who don’t want to marry gay couples because it offends their faith is another example. I’m just not convinced that the Good Friday exercise was as devoid of ideological underpinnings as you’re making it out to be. Because as we’ve seen over the last 30 years or so, especially south of the border, religion and politics seem to be pretty closely alligned. Sometimes the politics are progressive, other times they’re not. Probably the majority of times, in fact, they’re not.

  6. That’s very articulate there, Greg. Thank God for that English degree, huh!! Does that excuse the fact that you are spewing malice and hate at your Christian neighbours? Painting everyone with a pretty broad brush, aren’t we? If we employ your logic, we could smear every religion on Earth as being intolerant and backward. But, Gregory, you feel pretty safe attacking Christianity, don’t you.

    How come Prarie Dog guards their words like a trial lawyer when it comes to muslims?

  7. Greg, you’ve made a number of logical leaps here that simply aren’t sustainable – the first one being that the presence of the event outside the Cornwall Centre had anything at all to do with protesting a lost deference. You have no basis at all on which to claim it. You’ve merely leapt to a conclusion. Certainly none of the publicly available information obtainable by a simple Google search suggests any intent to protest the mall being open. You’ve just assumed that must be true because your prejudices (and I mean that term in it’s strictest sense) lead to there.

    In many communities, downtown Stations of the Cross have been intended to highlight issues of economic injustive and social inequality. But I notice you don’t leap to that conclusion, Greg.

    I don’t have any involvement with the Regina Downtown Stations of the Cross event. But then, I’m not making blog posts about what I rashly assume people mean by it.

    Sure, there was an agenda. But the only identifiable agenda not based on presupposition and prejudice is that they were doing the Stations of the Cross to commemorate Jesus’s route from trial to cross.

    It may shock you to learn, Greg, that there are a lot of Christians who are NOT right wing fundamentalists. Indeed, the history of the left in Saskatchewan would be pretty barren if not for Christian progressives – including such stalwarts as Tommy Douglas and M.J. Coldwell.

    Perhaps you should consider that Christian opinion might be a little more varied (and even a little more progressive) than you blithely assume.

  8. Just to provide some actual evidence that there are christians out there who _aren’t_ rabid, anti-intellectual fundamentalists, have you checked out Geez magazine?

    http://www.geezmagazine.org/

    It’s a magazine for progressive, politically engaged christians. By their own admission they put the publication together because theirs is a voice that’s often drowned out by more pugnacious pundits of faith.

    I used to work with the editor, Aiden Enns, when I lived in Vancouver and he’s a great guy. He and his wife used to host an anarchist’s bible reading group.

    Personally, despite my own commitment to atheism, my stomach flops when the fundamentalism from south of the border gets conflated with the generally more rational religious practice we have here in Canada. (Not surprisingly, it took a group of Winnipeg Mennonites and like-minded Canuck believers to come up with Geez. I can’t imagine something like that being produced anywhere else.)

    At the same time, though, Seanbot, there are very good reasons why a pub like the p-dog would aim some knocks christianity’s way and not at, say, the zoroastrians. (And for the record, I’m just a contributor to the paper. I’m not speaking for it. I’m defending it.) Christianity is the dominant religious institution in the western world. It’s part of that whole political and economic package that guys like me feel a need to critique.

    And for the record, there are some worrying incursions of militant, christian fundamentalism into our backyard that warrant specific attention. “Expelled”, that odious Ben Stein film that linked biological sciences to the Holocaust, was the product of Saskatchewan filmmakers and funded by a BC business man. There’s a creationism museum in Southern Alberta. I think things like those warrant a looksee every now and then. (Plus, they’re kind of quirky so they get noticed.)

    Also, Seanbot, about the p-dog “guarding their words like a trial lawyer when it comes to muslims”, to my mind that crack is completely offside. You’re quoting from SDA now? Way to elevate the discussion.

  9. Thanks for the link, Paul. Having grown up with Mennonite neighbours in Manitoba, I’d be hard put to find anyone as giving or as forgiving. The Mennonite Central Committee is my charity of choice.
    There are critiques, and then there are uninformed assumptions, gratuitous insults, and unedifying plays to the gallery…all of which characterize sda as well as pd. Are you really grappling for who’s going to be king of the gutter?
    Just a thought.

  10. Oh heck, Barb, I wouldn’t aspire to so grand a title as “king.”

    Also, if this really is a gutter, you have to admit, it’s pretty civil as gutters go.

  11. Paul, thanks for your post.

    I certainly don’t argue that Christians (or anyone else for that matter) should be immune from criticism. Were you to check out my most recent blogpost, you’d see a fairly straightforward suggestion that the former Archbishop of Canterbury is an utter asshat.

    My issue is with criticisms that are based, not on anything resembling fact, but on the unexamined prejudices of the writer. Greg had no basis for his suggestion that the Good Friday event was populated by “hardcore” creationists or conservative fundamentalists, and even less basis for his later pathetic suggestionn that they were standing outside the mall to protest it being open on a solemn fast day. Yet his subsequent responses made it clear that his completely off the wall charges were to be assumed true until and unless proved otherwise.

    This really is no different that Kate’s methodology at SDA when push comes to shove.

    Now, I realize that the journalistic standards of a blog post might not be as stringent as a traditional print journalism piece, but sure the standard should be a little higher than gratuitous stereotypes pulled out of one’s arse.

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