RE: [asa] red in tooth and claw

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Sun Nov 29 2009 - 07:45:35 EST

This sort of discussions reminds me of headaches. We do not really care how they come about, just how to cope or get rid of them. It would be good to know how they arise so that we can prevent them from happening but give me the aspirin first. Of course, we do not know, or can ever know, why is there suffering. But we want the aspirin that would lessen it or even eliminate it. The aspirin is Christ. We do not know why and how it works, but it does! Perhaps it is because He is the Truth.

From: [] On Behalf Of John Walley []
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:31 AM
To: Schwarzwald;
Subject: Re: [asa] red in tooth and claw

I think Schwarzwald's right in that Christainity is unique because Christ has conquered death and we no longer have to fear it. So death where is thy sting? And I guess that could be extrapolated to pain and suffering as well, "to live is Christ, to die is gain", but these are all pragmatic, coping strategies. They don't get to the root issue at hand which is why this suffering exists in the first place.

Notice Oscar's advisor did not query which God has the most practical offering or most fulfilling theology, he wanted to know why he should be lieve in God at all. And none of these responses have really dealt with that head on in my opinion. This discussion may be an interesting apologetic for people who are already Christians and trust God, but for those on the outside looking in with cruelty in nature as the stated objective, I suggest we have to be able to deal with this more directly.


From: Schwarzwald <>
Sent: Sat, November 28, 2009 10:10:45 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] red in tooth and claw

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.


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?


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