Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Inherit The Wind

The other great movie that got me to thinking this weekend was Inherit The Wind
Henry Drummond: Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!
How true is this?

We're seeing it happen now. The Intelligent Design manifesto walks lock-step with the right wing who wish to see all the progress of the past fifty years remanded to the dustbin of history, a failed attempt by man to swing down from his tree and walk upright on the savannah of enlightenment and truth, to think for himself, free from the will of God, for what is man if he has not the capacity to think?
Henry Drummond: Then why did God plague us with the capacity to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one thing that sets above the other animals? What other merit have we? The elephant is larger, the horse stronger and swifter, the butterfly more beautiful, the mosquito more prolific, even the sponge is more durable. Or does a sponge think?

Matthew Harrison Brady: I don't know. I'm a man, not a sponge!

Henry Drummond: Do you think a sponge thinks?

Matthew Harrison Brady: If the Lord wishes a sponge to think, it thinks!

Henry Drummond: Does a man have the same privilege as a sponge?

Matthew Harrison Brady: Of course!

Henry Drummond: Then this man wishes to have the same privilege of a sponge, he wishes to think!
What harm is there in a man thinking, independent of any authority, divine or earthly? Is it not how we act on those thoughts that define us as human, as humane and good, or inhumane and evil? Do we act out of fear and rage, or do we act out of compassion and an earnest self-preservation that includes not only ourselves, and our families, but the good of the society we live in?

Isn't that, ultimately, that provides God's rationale for our existence? He didn't banish Adam and Eve from the Garden for being evil, He banished them because they chose the good of themselves over the good of the society around them.

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