Today an interesting article showed up at the Huffington Post. Written by Michael Ruse, an atheist who is interesting, the piece is about Darwin and atheism. It was written in the wake of Darwin Day, which occurred this last weekend. He points out the oddity of Darwin’s near saint-like status among many atheists. In particular, he uses as a object for his lesson a photo of an atheist flag flown this last weekend in conjunction with Darwin’s birthday.
All Alert Readers should give his article a good once-over; it’s not long. Yet because we sympathize with those who may be a tad-bit busy, we provide herewith, in an easy-to-read enumerated format, the clip-and-save message:
1. Charles Darwin himself would be embarrassed greatly by atheist flags associated with him, especially atheist flags flown in celebration of his birthday.
2. Darwin was never an atheist.
3. What Darwin did was make it possible to be an intellectually respectable atheist. Ruse writes, “I don’t think that showing that the argument from design doesn’t work now means that one should be an atheist. But I do think it makes it possible to be one.”
We at psnt.net agree with Ruse — and Richard Dawkins (!) and Al Mohler (!!) — on this: Thanks to Darwin, it is possible to be an atheist and retain one’s intellectual integrity. So, although Darwin was not into atheism, he made today’s atheism possible (however, whether or not the bulk of today’s atheism is intellectually respectable is another question altogether). So from this point of view, he is an important figure for the ever-growing horde of nonbelievers.
Which brings up a question we’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
Is it possible to be a Christian and maintain one’s intellectual integrity? Or, to be more precise, Is there a unique Christian species of intellectual integrity? For example, is intellectual integrity for the Christian no more than strict logical consistency? (We think not.) What about our tradition makes Christian intellectual integrity look different? In the words of the old Apple ad campaign, How should Christians “think different”?
As a possible starting place, it is well to recall what that jolly old chap Bertrand Russell had to say about Christianity and intelligence:
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
He is right. As we have written elsewhere, intelligence is not a Christian virtue. But it is important, right? We are commanded to love God with all our minds. What does that mean? And how is love and the life of the mind connected?
How would Jesus think?
Just some questions to further brighten a beautiful Tuesday afternoon.
Do with them what you will, dear Alert Readers.