Cats tend to look similar, most domesticated pet cats share more similarities than differences. Of course, there are the big cats in Africa, India and China, but even these are similar to pet cats in many ways. Now dogs; well that really is a whole other story. As a Christian, I believe implicitly in the creation story, I just can’t look at a human being, the marvellous mechanics of the hand, the eyes, the ears, the heart, liver, brain and so on and believe that this is all the result of evolution and natural selection and that life just started by accident; a glorious accident, but in the end no more than an accident. But whatever you believe, creation or evolution, there are complex questions that to my mind may have been asked but have never been adequately answered. Why, if dogs are the same species, do they often look so very different from each other? I mean, look at a Great Dane and then look at a Scotty dog; both dogs, yet so radically different they could be completely different species. The question we might ask is ‘If these dogs are both dogs, then when did the Scotty dog change and shrink, or when did the Great Dane grow?’ and perhaps as importantly ‘how?’ So there is a conundrum here, a question, or questions more to the point, of epic and cosmic proportions, the questions that beg for answers.
So what about human beings then? Look at someone from Japan, someone from Papua New Guinea and someone from Ireland; all human beings but again quite different from each other; different face shapes and different facial features, different coloured skins, different types of hair, and in many ways being quite different from each other. The belief in evolutionary circles, at this present time, is that human beings came out of Africa and then spread slowly but surely to the rest of the world. The creation story is somewhat different. After the Flood, Noah’s sons populated the earth, one called Ham being the progenitor of African people, one called Shem being the progenitor of Semitic people and one called Japheth being the progenitor of all Asiatic people.
Let’s examine the evolutionary belief. If all humans came out of Africa, why aren’t we all black and have hair, facial features and the bone density of most black Africans? How does a white European with red hair and green eyes, or a light skinned Chinese person with straight fine hair and very different facial features, come out of African ancestors? Another question I am waiting to see answered.
Then let’s examine the creation belief. If God created life, all life and all the species on earth including us, then He also had the power to create difference right from the start. How else could we explain such differences even in human beings? And then think of all the different species that just exist in the vast Amazon rainforest that is in Brazil and I think borders a number of other countries in Latin America. What are we to make of that? Some evolutionists will say that many of these species are interrelated and indeed have bred from two other different species, so making a new species. We may find out that some of that is true, and is not standing against the belief of creation. Certainly, if we look at humans, although I believe we are creations of God and there were only three specific groupings of mankind at the start, many nations are indeed mixtures of these groups, and various admixtures of human beings. I have noticed though, and I am no expert in this at all, that all human beings seem to be of one, two or three human varieties. In short, all humans are a mixture of the three peoples that God created at the start. I mean, look at Europeans for example. We are all called Europeans, and yet some Europeans look dark like Arabs and those from the Middle East. Some of us, especially in the far North of Europe exhibit what I would call Asiatic features, with almond eyes and fine hair and high cheekbones. Then many of us have a Semitic look, larger noses, big eyes, long faces, and a tendency to be quite or even very hairy. Of course, with this there is a tendency of some overlap with Mediterranean people. In countries like Ireland and Wales for example, you will find that all these differences exist; some Irish and Welsh people are dark, hairy and have curly hair and a Mediterranean appearance. Others have a more Semitic look, and others have the Asiatic look. It is certain that Europeans are a very mixed bag of all the different ethnic groups in the world. But whatever your opinion on this, be it more evolutionist or more creationist like myself, these realities of our often fundamental differences as humans demand intelligent, open and searching questions from all those interested, regardless of their viewpoint or beliefs.
Janeane Garofalo & Uma Thurman
I absolutely adore Janeane Garofalo, those cute big brown eyes and sweet face, but I also adore Uma Thurman. Two very different women. They both appeared in a film I watched a few years ago called ‘The Truth About Cats and Dogs’, and it was a rom-com, usually the type of film I wouldn’t watch being a big hairy bloke who likes action movies and gangster movies and film noirs, but nevertheless I enjoyed it. I have come to the conclusion that God made us all so very different, and beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, or on a Saturday night the eye of the beer holder! Seriously, as a single man who hasn’t had a great deal of success in romantic terms, but who remains ever optimistic of finding love, I believe that we are all more than looks and true beauty really is much more than skin deep. Beauty is when someone has time for everyone else, treats others kindly and regards no one as less than they are. A sweet nature, whether it be a man or woman, is beautiful because often those types of people seem to draw in other people. We know that a loving nature is closer to God than an angry and bitter nature. In the past, I could have been accused of being both angry and bitter. Now, I pray earnestly about this and God is dealing with these issues. I have been called attractive and even downright handsome before today, but I ain’t no Brad Pitt or George Clooney at the same time! I have imperfections like most people and even had hang-ups about them. What lasts, as we get older, is the love we have for each other, the love we have for God. That is beauty.
The Christian Right
I am confused by some versions of ‘American Christianity’ and how it aligns itself with often extreme Right-wing conservative politics; if we are honest, surely basic Christianity has more in common with Communist, Socialist and Left-wing politics, or am I being naïve? The vast majority of American Christians I ‘meet’ online are exactly like the vast majority of British Christians I meet online who are decent, sweet-natured, easy to get on with and interesting because they are all individuals with different personalities and interests, which is always reflected in their blogs. So why is it often that the voices we hear in organised Christianity, and in life in general, are those who are not so kind and generous, but have agendas of their own? In my humble opinion, we should be very careful when we mix any kind of politics, or indeed any worldly thing, with the simple faith of Christianity. It seems to be true that some people use religion as a mask, as a mark of respectability, to further their own often very selfish interests and in the end to prosper at other people’s expense.
‘No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel, when those days have come, the Lord declares: In their minds I shall plant my laws writing them on their hearts. Then I shall be their God, and they shall be my people.’ (Hebrews 8:10 NJB)
God calls many types of people from all walks of life to serve Him and live out their calling as Christians. But I think that organised Christianity is more about the great and the good and the socially important claiming and proclaiming religion for their own ends and gratification. In my eyes, much of what passes for organised Christianity is just not that relevant to ordinary people anymore.
Faith is more than organised Christianity, it is more than rituals, it is more than men’s traditions, it is something that we might call the inner reality as opposed to the external world of religious politics, worldly religious power and seemingly much that passes for organised Christianity. I am not talking about atheism or secularism, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Christian after all, just that we need to really think about what we are thinking about, and we need to really know and understand what we are supposed to believe. I think to many younger Christians and Christians of my generation, popes and priests, vicars and archbishops and the whole paraphernalia of hierarchy that is in the Catholic church and the Anglican church, just isn’t that relevant to many people anymore; it is something that we should be debating as Christians. The hierarchy in the big denominations merely reflect the social systems of the world. Isn’t this the worldliness that Christians and Christian organisations should completely avoid? Maybe the fear amongst those who hold to a more traditional and hierarchical belief is that what would we replace it with, quite simply? I think there are now enough Christians like myself and modern Christian organisations who’ve proved that we can live Christian lives that offer far more than that which traditional Christianity does. Well, what do you think?