Monday, May 02, 2005

The Monster With Darwin-Shaped Teeth

Frank Perretti has a new book about that most evil and satanic of monsters, Sasquatch:

"My goal is to make them think about evolution," he said. "Evolution as a philosophy makes monsters out of all us. It removes all that makes us human - morals, virtue, love, honor, self-sacrifice. All those become illusory. I'm trying to raise some questions. Who is the real monster here?

That would be you, Frank. You and all the other ant-evolutionist writers out there who think that, "...morals, virtue, love, honor, self-sacrifice" and all the rest of our human traits are only valid if we all believe they were handed down to us, chiseled in stone from Mount Sinai.

It's not that these traits are illusory. It's that they are social conventions that have evolved as a means of expressing our innate emotional and intelectual traits. That's the problem Mr. Peretti and all the other anti-evolution "thinkers" don't want to address, that our most human traits evolve and change as our society changes. But, instead of writing a speculative novel addressing the fear of evolution, we get a potboiler about a satanic monster who evolved instead of falling face first out of the Garden of Eden. Does he get converted and saved at the end dor do the righteous and peace loving followers of Christ lynch his monkey ass? I'll never know, because frankly, I don't care. Christian fiction is anti-literature, as far as I'm concerned. Wooden characters, slaphappy dialogue and poorly constructed plots that, instead of exploring the uncertainty of modern life, try to explain away the complexity and shoehorn the wide open world into a 3000 year old book of shepherd poetry. It's reductionist to the point of absurdity. (But oh so fun to pick apart. Fred over at Slacktivist has been doing a bang up job disecting Left Behind).

I'd much rather read a story about an evangelical who starts to evolve into something more than human and has to grasp the ineffable and frightening new world he is privy too, with the creeping fear that perhaps an ancient book of fairy tales doesn't explain everything there is to know about the world we live in.



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