Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy birthday to you Origin of Species, happy birthday to you.

My parents were wonderful, my life was wonderful when I was a kid, but I somehow managed to be terrified pretty much all of the time. My family, you see, were really big on Religion and Scripture reading, and the amount of sheer barbarism in the Old Testament terrified me. Mass Murder, (well-thought-of) prostitution, incest, that whole business about marrying your dead husband's brother, God haing a tissy fit and drowning everyone but Noah, assorted animals, and his somewhat problematic family--life seemed like it was under the control of a touchy random psychopath who wasn't all that keen on women.

Not to mention that whole atonement thing: God kills his kid pretty gruesomely (using Roman soldiers and a cross) ... but Jesus really isn't dead, he's hanging with pa. Whatever.

I grew up with such a different view of reality than the adults around me that I decided early on that either I was out of my mind or they were. I could not get their version of some sort of "popularity rules" God with my own version of the world. For them, finding their car keys was an example of God's love; a child dying was just bad luck. I found this somewhat problematic.

Needless to say, I was deeply and suicidally depressed as a child. Thank goodness when I was about 14 I discovered a copy of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." Finally the world made sense. And made sense in a deep and provable way. I was going to be all right. Three cheer for the amazing Mr. Darwin! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! I'm still grateful, and still learning.

1 comment:

Allie said...

Hurrah for Darwin!