To whom it may concern,
It is not my wont to compose short letters like this with jocular titles. However, given the heftiness of the present subject I feel some levity is in order. Indeed, the title betrays what I feel was the sense in my spirit when I first learned of Darwin's theory of evolution after having been educated for a while in Sunday school.
I had already been told of Jesus Christ and of his saving miracle and of all those other wonderful things which the Christians claim make their religion so great. Indeed, I even accepted Jesus into my heart and I believe he is still there now. At the time I did this I felt God to be a kind of Santa Clause, only much more serious. If you were bad during the year, Santa punished you by withholding presents from you - or at least by giving you pieces of coal in your stocking. However, if you were bad during your life God punished you by withholding entrance into heaven.
Being good has always been something of a challenge for me. This is not to say that I was a particularly rambunctious child or that I got into drugs or casual sex while I was a teenager (as seems to have been the case among many of my Christian friends while I grew up). But I was not always a well-behaved child, and I was on more than one occasion thrown out of class for swearing in French at the prompting of a peer and for finding the banging noises of another student amusing.
But my true offense, the one for which I still do penance whenever I am in the presence of other Christians, is daring to believe that God did indeed make use of a single evolutionary process in order to fashion humankind. Of course my mother agreed wholeheartedly with me, as did my father and most other members of my family. But the other 'family,' the family of Christ, seemed hell-bent (excuse the pun) on hurling anathemas at me and condemning me for my belief. You see, when I first heard of the theory of evolution and I learned of the transitional forms of human beings before our present form my curiosity was piqued. "Okay, God," I said (though perhaps not in words like that), "I'm ready! Tell me more about the universe!" Soon after I learned about astronomy. This was even better. Not only could I learn about the evolutionary process God had apparently kicked off somehow but also the way in which the entire universe formed before that process even began.
But still many Christians I knew simply would not budge. They refused to appreciate how majestic and all-powerful God truly is. Instead, the only way God could have created the universe and indeed the world was by means of discrete tasks conducted over a sequence of seven days, culminating with the creation of a man who was then commanded to conduct a thorough zoological survey of the animals in his present habitation, which happened to be a Sumerian garden.
More often than not, I tried to find something beautiful in the hymns sung during church services. Where were the songs of praise to God for creating quarks or the shouts of adoration for the grand invention of the planet Jupiter? Why did no one fall prostrate before God in appreciation of the immune system, or weep at the beauty of natural selection? Instead, out-dated and irrelevant songs about converting the heathen as he lay prostrate before wood and stone echoed through the church, while the congregates bowed before the altars of law and text.
Adulthood, it seems, is a thoroughly impoverished state in which the only concrete thing which one can use to guide one's self is a literal interpretation of a bronze-age text purporting to be the spoken word of God. It is terribly sad that so many a Christian refuses to hold fast instead to the faith of a child and to declare, no matter how strange, curious, and wonderful the universe turns out to be, "Okay God! I'm ready!"