In his column (Nov. 20), Pastor David Hegg once again threw out the bait, and I simply could not resist biting. Call it a weakness. He opened with his now familiar statement, “So now I’m asking you, my readers. What do you think?” Sometimes I feel he’s deliberately setting me up. It’s entrapment, I tell you.
This time he asks whether there is more good or more evil in the world. He states that “the doctrine of pervasive depravity springs from the understanding that the presence of original sin means that everyone comes into this world broken and in need of divine grace to set things right.” Although he somewhat humorously steers clear of the nonsensical concept of “original sin,” he still makes it clear that the supernatural figures pretty strongly in his argument — God is involved. But he keeps his perspective by admitting that deciding such matters is indeed a matter of perspective, and in that I could not agree with him more. But, that is where we diverge.
Perspective, yes, is how we come to our individual conclusions, but is it really a case of good and evil? Why even make moral judgement calls in the first place? What some Christians call “original sin” is what I call “chimp DNA.” We’re not “broken.” We simply evolved from apes, and chimpanzees are our closest relatives, genetically speaking (99% is pretty close). Have you seen chimps in the wild? They can be egotistical, selfish, domineering, controlling, vicious and just plain mean. We resemble them more than they resemble us — we just make fancier gadgets and can compose poetry.
So, good versus evil? Bah! That’s the stuff of children’s stories and fairy tales. Let’s get anthropological about this. Just like our ancestors we are designed by nature to survive, whatever the cost, to our surroundings and even to ourselves, and some designs fail. So put the Bible down for just a sec and read two books written by Desmond Morris: “The Naked Ape” and “The Human Zoo.” They have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with us, where we came from, and why we are the way we are.