Intelligent Design?

February 27, 2008 at 8:29 am Leave a comment

 The topic of religion, here in Florida, is one that everyone is ready to make a comment on. I imagined that religion would pepper everyday conversation, especially after driving down I-75 and seeing all the mega-churches located beside the interstate (one with a large pond with an enormous bust of Jesus rising out of the water, hands raised to the sky) and those large (maybe 50′ tall), white crosses that crop up at many places along the route. I expected people to be in constant Jerry Falwell mode. This was not the case, but a discussion of belief is only just a comment away. One such comment caused a condo neighbour to proudly proclaim that he is a “Honky Catholic,” then, show me a picture of his son and wife (in wedding clothes) being blessed by John Paul II in Rome. Religion topics are a matter of course in the newspapers in this area. There was a recent situation that the local St. Petersburg paper covered, where the school board wanted to label a science course, “evolution.” The newspaper ran articles one day explaining evolution compared to “intelligent design,” or as we would call it, “creation.” Then they conducted a poll to see which side people lined up on. Well, intelligent design won with about 50%, while evolution took only 22%. There was no mention where the other 28% went. The end result was that the board could teach the course, but had to label and call it, “scientific theory of evolution,” with the emphasis on “theory.”

I hoped that evolution would win, but I wasn’t surprised that intelligent design came out ahead. People here, easily accept the logical and obvious, until it comes to religion. Religion takes folks to another world. As Bishop Spong mentioned, as soon as people walk through the church door, they leave the real world outside. The comments, pro and con, published after the poll caught my eye. One in particular stood out. In support of “intelligent design,” the writer mentioned the human eye. She believed that something so complicated could never “evolve” over time and concluded that the eye must have been created in entirety by an intelligent force, therefore, so was everything else. I can see her point. It made me consider the definite wonder of the eye and if really could develop from basic life. Finally, I was most comfortable with my own opinion; that the source of being that we call “God,” created this physical world of space and time that is permeated with “his” spirit or energy. I feel it is entirely possible that something as marvelous as the eye, could have developed, or evolved, over the millions of years beings have existed. However, for some reason, that lady’s comment still sticks in my mind.

In this part of Florida, churches advertise on television. The ads usually run Thursday to Saturday and usually feature the “all welcome,” “friendly atmosphere,” and “hear the Word” type thing. One in particular got my attention. The church is the Unitarian Universalists. The ad has a thirtyish woman telling us how she loves this church because her atheist mother and Jewish raised kids can find a home there with her. Scenes of the people at a service, at the fellowship table and of parents hugging and kissing their kids, play while she talks. This is the first church ad that has made me come close to wanting to attend. The idea of universalism in their name appeals to me. Is this a step for the emergent church? Is this perhaps a light in the darkness?

While the population here obviously prefers intelligent design in all its regressive glory, there are those who are actually progressive harbingers of where spirituality is heading. A light in the darkness? That’s how I see it, anyway. Do you agree?

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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