Presented with evidence that homosexuality occurs naturally among bonobos, this evangelical pastor responds that bonobos were also affected by the Fall.
No wonder Christianity is having a hard time these days.
Bill Moorhead |
May 31, 2010 8:30 PM
Well, I also linked to read some of the comments. The one person who claimed a faith community was an Episcopalian. She had taken her family to see bonobos precisely for their non-human ways.
May 31, 2010 10:01 PM
If scientists ever find a distinctive homo gene, fundamentalists will simply switch arguments without missing a beat.
They'll deny they ever said, "These perverts chose it!" and instead insist that proof isn't proof, they love the people they oppress and "It says so right on page 492!"
There's no reasoning with these people. The bonobos are innocent bystanders.
Josh Thomas |
June 1, 2010 12:06 AM
The implications of the pastor's insights are staggering. If indeed the bonobos' sexual behavior is a sign that they are living in a state of sin, do we Christians not have an obligation to undertake missionary activity in their communities? And who knows how many other animals are standing in need of the Gospel? Long term, this realization could call for major shifts in TEC's mission priorities and the launching of fully-equipped journeys to the jungles and savannas on faroff continents, but we could start off with some pilot projects. Parishes could, for example, send small mission teams out to local zoos to (a) identify and document perverted behavior symptomatic of the fallen condition of the species, and (b) start preaching to individual animals in hopes of bringing them to Jesus and motivating them to repent and amend their lives.
Depressing as it is to realize the wretched moral condition of our fellow primates, the upside of this news is that the fraught issue of declining church membership and ASA could be rendered moot by a turn toward evangelizing the animal kingdoms. (And that's without even thinking of plants and minerals and their manifold sins! What about that rascally volcano in Iceland?!)
It's important to start small, though, so for now I'm just going to add the bonobo to my prayer list.
Jean Lall |
June 1, 2010 1:13 AM
the upside of this news is that the fraught issue of declining church membership and ASA could be rendered moot by a turn toward evangelizing the animal kingdoms.
But would they tithe? And would a collection plate full of bananas help pay the mortgage? ;-)
June 1, 2010 9:23 AM
Jean Lall FTW! ROTFLMAO!
Lisa Fox |
June 1, 2010 9:26 AM
O ye skeptical; bless ye the Lord. St. Francis knew this all along. Why else would he have preached to all God's creatures if not to save them from the monumental, supersized, cardinal, deadly sin #8 of homosexuality?
Paul Woodrum |
June 1, 2010 9:43 AM
All kidding aside (well, most of it, anyway), I have predicted for some time that my sons in their lifetime will see folks addressing the civil rites of chimps, bonobos, gorillas, etc.
I will note that I started to identify them as "primates," and then realized that I'd have to add qualifications to that - but, what? "Non-ecclesiastical?" Well, not if we are able to evangelize them. "Pure and unsullied?" Well, not according to Pastor Wes (who, by the say, doesn't say that bonobos sin per se, but that their behavior reflects the fallenness of all creation, not unlike predation). And then I realized that, when I considered what "primate" has come to represent here specifically, at least in some cases, it would be kinder and more just not to apply the word at all.
June 1, 2010 10:35 AM
Hey, Marshall. It seems to me that "primates" (in the ecclesiastical sense) is quite appropriate. Like the bonobos, many Anglican primates seem to spend lots of their time messing around with each other....
Bill Moorhead |
June 1, 2010 11:04 AM
I disagree with Bill Moorhead. Anglican primates' dominance needs liken them more to chimpanzees than bonobos.
Paul (A.) |
June 1, 2010 11:59 AM
We may make jokes (and probably should) at this pastor's naivete, but I have heard "The Fall" described in the past as a sort of "aboriginal catastrophe," and have certainly heard Episcopal/Anglican priests espouse the idea that "The Fall" is the answer to the problem of Theodicy. It puts the blame on us.
When we "joke" about his response, we should see in it the seeds of the problems with our own orthodoxy about this troublesome doctrine. What is really needed, I think, is a theology that does not simply "nod" to human origins as "how God made the world" but a theological view pays more attention to particular insights and implications of our knowledge of the natural world, as this work on the "naturalness" of homosexual activity in the bonobos would suggest. I am particularly found of a quote from Robin Myers, "If we continue to believe that we did not come up out of the earth, but were dropped from the sky, then Jesus will continue to be understood likewise as an invader – a harpoon short from God's bow to reel in the perishing. He will not be a teacher, but an elevator operator. He will bring us not wisdom, but self-aggrandizement. He will not give us an assignment, but a certificate."
Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D. |
June 1, 2010 12:07 PM
Today's Diane Rehm Show on NPR (second hour) features scientists and conservationists who have been studying the bonobo. Very much worth a listen. Among factors stressed in the discussion are the threat to their natural habitat (and thus to their survival) and the cooperativeness and altruism observed among the bonobo.
Here is a link to the website:
The archived program should be accessible soon.
I hope Marshall is right in imagining that we are approaching the time when animals, including our primate cousins, could be considered to have legal rights, rather than only being considered as (actual or potential) property of humans who have legal standing.
'Civil rites' of course are still another step! I can foresee the uproar as county clerks or marriage registrars quit their jobs rather than perform civil unions between bonobo couples (even if they aren't gay).
Jean Lall |
June 1, 2010 12:37 PM
Dr. Shy's comments on the "troublesome doctrine" of the Fall sticks out to me.
Not once have I heard an explanation of the Fall that makes sense. Indeed, this doctrine does not make sense. I think we see evidence of that in this pastor's application of it.
Worse, this doctrine is also insidiously harmful. To claim things are not how they ought to be is to devalue them. This results in theological "justification" for bigotry. (See: Homophobia). The Fall seems to me to be another example of the dualism that is so easy to perceive in the world, but is so soundly rejected by true monotheism.
It's no wonder (and a blessing) that this doctrine's not in the Creeds.
-Grant Charles Chaput
June 1, 2010 5:43 PM
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