Re: [asa] red in tooth and claw

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Sat Nov 28 2009 - 22:10:45 EST

What if nature isn't actually as brutal as we take it to be? And really, of
all the religions that could or should cringe because of any 'brutality' we
project upon nature - and a lot of it is projection - doesn't it seem odd
for Christians to do it? The religion with the incarnate God who was
betrayed, tormented, and executed? Isn't ours the one religion, regardless
of particular sect, which makes it abundantly clear that one should not
judge a reality by its incomplete history?

The one lesson I take from Christ's death and resurrection is that it's a
drastic mistake to regard torment and death as the final lesson in history,
whether it be human history or the greater, natural history. And the idea
that Hitler's eugenics was in any way a correct reflection of evolution as
we know it - particularly given what we've learned since then - seems
dramatically naive.

Count me in the apparent minority of Christians who don't think the habits
of the natural world pose a problem for our theology, and in fact bolsters
it. The problem isn't the facts on the ground, but the perspective.

On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM, David Clounch <>wrote:

> >Sculptured indeed! Well-stated, Bernie. You are exactly right that this is
> something for Christians to struggle with, and I wish I had a complete
> answer.
> People say Christianity is brutal and bloody. And God is a mean inhumane
> jerk for acts like slaying an entire enemy army in one night.
> Well, why then do they think evolution is kinder and gentler? The
> bloodiness and brutality of Christianity is a matchstick in a firestorm
> compared to the competition in biology.
> What about te ideal of the lion laying down with the lamb? What if nature
> is brutal because it is corrupted by the rebellious? And God would have it
> be different?
> On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 7:49 PM, Merv Bitikofer <>wrote:
>> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>> However, and I had glimpses of this as a Christian even, I think the ‘red
>>> in tooth and claw’ is a tremendous acknowledgement of how evolution works.
>>> The ruthlessness of nature, even Hitler eugenic-style thinking, is how
>>> evolution created the wonderful life forms that we witness today.
>>> Nature/evolution isn’t just ‘red in tooth and claw’ as some unfortunate
>>> thing, but it is the way life is SCULPTURED. Life is SCULPTED by evolution
>>> by “tooth and claw.”
>>> I’m not saying Hitler and eugenics are right. I’m saying that the
>>> ruthless nature of evolution being ‘red in tooth and claw’ is a major
>>> component for getting life as beautiful as we know it today.
>>> For example, why are so few creatures born blind? Because they quickly
>>> get eaten, with not much chance of their genes being passed on. Same thing
>>> with many other defects.
>>> …Bernie
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Sculptured indeed! Well-stated, Bernie. You are exactly right that this is
>> something for Christians to struggle with, and I wish I had a complete
>> answer. But I do have part of an answer that is of course, unavailable to
>> you at the moment. And that involves God's use of suffering to craft us.
>> Christians have long lived with the paradox of accepting suffering, yet
>> while praying to be delivered from it. None of us wants it, by definition,
>> and yet we realize (usually only in retrospect) that we were made stronger
>> for having gone through it. This is only the human element and makes no
>> pretension of addressing all of nature. But if I was to begin to craft an
>> answer, I would start with the incarnate Christ entering into humanity,
>> indeed, into nature. George Murphy's book "Cosmos in the Light of the Cross"
>> is helpful in this regard.
>> By the way, you seem to want to remain morally above things like eugenics
>> or the whole "tooth & claw" scenario. If these things are but the brutal
>> tools that sculpted beauty (according to you), then why do you find them so
>> objectionable? On what basis do you object? You'll note that I object to
>> them too even while I acknowledge their existence. Christ calls me to live
>> above any such natural law and to reject "survival of the fittest" as a
>> means of living with my neighbor. But you have rejected Christ, and that
>> basis is not available to you (unless you want to engage in the irrational
>> practice of cherry picking things you like about Christ's teachings while
>> yet thinking Him and his disciples as deluded fools or power-hungry frauds.)
>> Since you no longer have the Christian basis available and yet regard
>> Evolutionary wisdom as a kind of guiding light, on what rational basis do
>> you wish to continue objecting to nature's enlightened evolutionary teeth &
>> claws whether they come in the form of eugenics or otherwise? Do you not
>> quite trust the capable hands of evolution to do what needs to be done?
>> --Merv
>> Internal Virus Database is out of date.
>> Checked by AVG -
>> Version: 8.5.425 / Virus Database: 270.14.76/2518 - Release Date: 11/21/09
>> 19:41:00

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Received on Sat Nov 28 22:11:12 2009

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