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Replying to an atheist

By Michael Moriarty
web posted March 14, 2005

A lengthy response to my "A Darwinian Interpretation of the Book of Revelations" was sent to me. Its author is a scholar of Charles Darwin, self-avowed atheist and committed defender of atheism's rights in the face of, well, the overly exaggerated power of censorship by Creationists. In the European Union's new Constitution, the entire Judeo-Christian civilization and, needless to say, the Bible as well, have been eliminated from any mention. Both sides -- atheists and Creationists -- are fighting over control of public education; neither side is willing to compromise but judging from this recent continental-sized success, the atheists are winning.

I find the plight of atheists these days much like that of Orthodox Israel. To both lobbies of thought -- God for the atheists and a Messiah for the Orthodox Jews -- these widely held foundations for many faiths have yet to be proven. In neither case do I consider atheists or orthodox Israel the least bit evil, as my critic contended, I just feel their doubts are not certainty; they are, well, just doubts.

NYT cartoonThe "critic," in this case, brought up the name of the legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow. His inspired defense of Evolutionism against the prosecutorial efforts of a Creationist named William Jennings Bryan was turned into a remarkable play and movie -- Inherit the Wind. Now known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, the actual transcript was both comic and, in the case of poor Mr. Jennings, a bit pathetic. His career began a fast decline after this highly publicized appearance.

The critic of my Darwinian analysis claims with absolute certainty that Darrow was an atheist. Here is where I have a few doubts of my own. My father, a Detroit surgeon, told me of another trial of Darrow's. It concerned the death of a woman from a hemorrhage she suffered while making love. The defendant was her lover and he was charged with murder.

Darrow chose to put his client on the stand. His version of events described her desires in obligatory detail. She cried for "more, more, more." He complied with her passionate requests, while in, of course, a passion of his own. The hemorrhage ensued and she died before he could reach medical help.

At the end of the defendant's testimony, Mr. Darrow, after allowing the jury to contemplate the entire drama they'd been made party to, simply asked his client, "Did you love her?"

The young man broke down and wept. It was quite a while before he could gather himself well enough to reply in the affirmative.

He was found "not guilty."

Now, as for Mr. Darrow's atheism, he certainly wasn't so scientifically based that he had discounted a very invisible element called love. One might make the case that it was the cynical cunning of a legal genius who knew exactly how to play on the emotions of his jury, even though emotions shouldn't hold much sway in a mind committed as deeply as possible to the certainty of facts and science as Mr. Darrow has been portrayed, but of course, this counselor could write such feelings off as a self-delusion inherent among the unenlightened and, for the sake of his client's liberty, used for that young man's defense.

Johnny Cochrane certainly knew that the Los Angeles Police Department held no sway in the hearts and minds of a multi-racial, O.J. Simpson jury; he turned their easily provoked indignation on the cops, thus leading the trial away from the perpetrator of a possible homicide.

Love.

Invisible, contagious in a single glance, noted scientifically by recorded changes in blood pressure, heart rate and complexion but, well, where did it come from?

"Natural selection," might be the Darwinian's answer.

Love is still invisible and certainly has a modicum of X Factor ingredients. However, lest we become too romantic, let's just accept the Darwinian analysis.

However, Mr. Darrow didn't ask his client, "Young man, did you, at that moment, feel the enzymes of your naturally selective DNA erupt into, perhaps, a momentary insanity?"

No, he simply asked, "Did you love her?"

The defendant had also, prior to his testimony, put his hand on the Bible and been sworn in to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

God and love.

For a Darwinian, love is a wastebasket -- the layman's term for, well, a myriad of biological and psychological changes within any human being.

For many Christians, of course, God is love.

The purported atheist, Clarence Darrow, however, used the term love. It's not the word God, of course, but it comes fairly close.

Despite appearances, there is poetry within Darwin's Evolution of the Species. One needs a metaphorical bent of mind, but it can be done. Likewise, there is science in the Bible, but, again, one is required to see "one day" actually subsuming a millennium. As for the Second Coming, if you are a Christian of my own bent, then Christ's leaving us with the Holy Ghost meant the Lord's true Power had never left and has been around for 2,000 years. It certainly entered a young girl of 17 named Jeanne d'Arc. With that power, she drove the English out of France.

Oh, well, I'm not here to convince my critic of anything. I'm writing this because of how her challenge reminded me of the similarities between atheists and Orthodox Jewry. Many of the citizens of Israel are socialist now. Apparently, their hunt for the Messiah ended when copies of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto fell into their laps. These members of the Israeli electorate have certainly bent over backwards to accommodate the mere "dialectical" demands of a terrorist like Yasir Arafat.

Unfortunately, the atheist's lobby has done exactly the same thing. A majority of them have thrown their trust onto a messianic, self-loathing, anti-Semitic atheist named Karl Marx who poured his hatred of the entire Greco-Judeo-Christian (albeit capitalist civilization) into a two-volume bible of his own. My critic enjoys reminding me of all the horrors of religious zealotry. I can safely say that the body count of Russian National Socialism, Chinese National Socialism, German National Socialism, Cambodian National Socialism and Yugoslavian National Socialism far outweighs the death toll of the Catholic, Protestant, Evangelistic and -- yes! -- even the Islamic faiths combined.

Oh, well, such are the interesting oversights of a statistically obsessed, atheistic, Darwinian, set of "enlightened" scientists. Apparently natural selection and selective memory go hand in hand.

"Did you love her?"

Well, no, I didn't love her but then again, I never met her. I think the defendant did, though. I don't know how you know it, in the same way I don't know how or why people fall in love, but I do know when they're telling the truth and that young man was telling the truth.

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who has appeared in the landmark television series Law and Order, the mini-series Taken, the TV-movie The 4400 and Hitler Meets Christ, a surreal tragicomedy based on the actor's controversial New York stage play.

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